ICS Magazine

Katrina Revisited

June 22, 2009
Paul Rainwater


In September 2005, the world was mesmerized by the greatest natural disaster in the history of the U.S. Most of us were glued to our favorite cable channel or Web site, watching hurricane Katrina pound the Gulf Coast without mercy.

Our federal and state emergency services were in the spotlight. How would they respond to this overwhelming storm? Some of us watching from the comfort of our living rooms gave these agencies a failing grade because lives were lost and thousands of people endured great hardship.

Fast forward to June 2009. If a Katrina-size hurricane were to hit the U.S. today, would we fare any better? At least one leader says our government agencies are much better prepared and are committed to never letting such an event happen again.

Paul Rainwater, Director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, addressed attendees of the National Disaster Reconstruction Conference & Expo in New Orleans on Thursday, June 18. Rainwater said the government emergency response agencies have improved their strategy and preparedness to overcome the communication, evacuation and housing issues that plagued efforts during Katrina.

Rainwater also shared what’s happened in the nearly four years since Katrina.

*Of $9 billion appropriated to Louisiana, $4.1 billion remains to be spent.
*Debris removal is mostly complete.
*There are still nearly 4,000 buildings to be demolished.
*A program that elevates homes has been very successful.
*A program that makes generators available has spent just $2 million of $60 million appropriated.

“We’re building structures that are higher and stronger and it does work,” Rainwater said. “There is still plenty of work for contractors,” he added.

If you or your company is interested in participating in the reconstruction efforts in Louisiana, visit www.LRA.louisiana.gov for more information.