disaster preparedness

FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has released new preliminary flood maps for Jefferson Parish, and are asking the public to participate in a 90-day comment period.

Flood maps are created by FEMA, in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers and local officials, and are used to calculate flood risk and determine flood insurance rates. The public comment period is an opportunity for residents, renters and business owners to review the maps and comment on them file appeals — the agency will accept public comment until September 30.

New Orleans is facing the 2013 hurricane season behind a $14 billion system designed to protect the region from a 100-year storm.

Thursday’s chemical plant explosion in Geismar, La. has claimed another life. Seven remained hospitalized Friday with burns and respiratory complications.

Williams Companies CEO Alan Armstrong visited with workers and their families Friday. He called the incident a “major” explosion.

“This is a terrible and unprecedented tragedy," Armstrong said. "I’ve talked with a few of our employees and I know they are hurting, however, I’ve also seen and been inspired by their courage.”

Officials throughout southeast Louisiana are asking residents to start planning now for hurricanes. A busy season is predicted.


Arts Council of New Orleans

Fifteen stainless-steel sculptures have just arrived and will soon be appearing throughout New Orleans. The unique public art project is designed to help save lives.

There's a quick, one-word explanation for why the federal government started selling flood insurance: Betsy.

Hurricane Betsy, which struck the Gulf Coast in 1965, became known as billion-dollar Betsy. Homes were ruined. Water up to the roofs. People paddling around streets in boats. Massive damage.

This would be the time when you'd expect people to be pulling out their flood insurance policies. But flood insurance was hard to come by. You could get fire insurance, theft insurance, car insurance, life insurance. Not flood.

Following Superstorm Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has received good grades from politicians and even some survivors of the storm. In part, that's due to lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.

For Staten Island resident Deb Smith, whose house was flooded by the storm surge from Sandy, FEMA has been a savior.

An applied research center is helping small communities along the coast cope with change by building networks, sharing knowledge and kindling hope.

The 3 p.m. New Orleans press conference, in its entirety:

A by-the-numbers look at Louisiana's preparation for Hurricane Isaac on Tuesday, according to Gov. Bobby Jindal.

— 4,158: National Guard troops activated statewide.

— 67: Bus drivers supporting the Department of Transportation and Department of Education.

— 48: National Guard boat teams deployed to areas in the storm zone.

— 921: National Guard security command and control staffers.

— 540 high water vehicles, 74 boats and 40 aircraft available for storm response.

— 2,124: Prisoners moved to state prisons from coastal parishes.

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