As part of a Hurricane Katrina 10th anniversary initiative, Habitat for Humanity is putting up 10 new homes in New Orleans East. A few hundred volunteers are spending the next 10 days along America Street, putting up new single-family homes in lots that have sat vacant since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita flooded this neighborhood.
It’s a pop, the sound of air rushing in. A thick, heady smell. Like when you open a vacuum-sealed pack of coffee and chicory.
Did you wince? So did we. But the seal has been broken on New Orleans clichés — in newsrooms across the city and, yes, the nation and presumably the world, journalists are staring down blank whiteboards with the headline: Ten-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
A panel of housing experts met at the University of New Orleans
As the 10-year anniversary approaches marking Hurricane Katrina, community experts are assessing the progress and challenges of recovery. Housing was one topic reviewed at a daylong forum at the University of New Orleans.
As NBC announces the 6-month, unpaid suspension of news anchor Brian Williams, controversy over the truth of many of his high-profile reporting trips continues.
While the scandal erupted related to questions about Iraq, in 2003, it has also brought into question Williams’ 2005 reporting in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Among other claims, Williams reported floodwaters around his French Quarter hotel.
Nearly ten years after Hurricane Katrina, some former school buildings sit vacant. The school board is selling them off. This week charter school leaders get a look inside seven of the buildings.
The buildings are mostly empty: a faded mural here, a line of rusted lockers there. State law gives charter school operators first dibs on the buildings. So the seven properties are on display, but not to the general public.
It was an abrupt reversal of fortune that stirred lingering resentment and fresh tears more than nine years after Hurricane Katrina: Louisiana’s Supreme Court overturned rulings from two lower courts and tossed out a lawsuit that said roughly 7,500 New Orleans public school employees were wrongfully fired after levee failures during the 2005 storm led to inundation of the city.
Letters are going out this week to residents and businesses in New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish and the east bank of Jefferson Parish notifying them they could receive payments ranging from $1 to $463 for flood damage during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The money is coming from a $20 million settlement reached in 2009 with the East Jefferson, Orleans and Lake Borgne Basin levee districts.
Disasters are causing more and more damage, and the federal government is spending more and more money to rebuild afterwards.
But before the construction crew can begin repairs, homeowners face months-long delays and poor customer service in the preliminary stages of the application process. Some homeowners even complain that the rebuilding process has become as traumatic as the storm itself.
The New Jersey Sandy recovery service center had so few chairs that some customers had to wait while standing in long lines. The firm used software taken off the Internet and full of bugs. Homeowners were directed to make appointments through a call center, but employees were never told when they would show up.
That is what Sandy victims faced when they came to one of nine intake centers set up to distribute long-term federal aid to homeowners, David, a former employee, said. He said he and his colleagues wanted to help, but met repeated obstacles.