Archive for the 'THE National Gaurd' Category

Mandatory evac by parish from The Advocate

August 31, 2008

From URL on August 31, 2008

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/27705709.html?showAll=y&c=y

Hurricane Evacuation Listings by parish

* Published: Aug 30, 2008 – UPDATED: 7:25 a.m.

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ASCENSION PARISH
Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez issued a voluntary evacuation order for all low-lying areas in Ascension Parish because of the potential of extensive flooding in the eastern part of the parish. The areas included are east of La. 431 to the Diversion Canal and north of La. 42 to Bayou Manchac.

ASSUMPTION PARISH
A mandatory evacuation went into effect at 4 p.m. Saturday, said Kim Torres, a spokeswoman for the parish office of emergency preparedness.

CALCASIEU PARISH
A mandatory evacuation has been issued for Sunday at noon.

CAMERON PARISH
A mandatory evacuation is expected to be issued on Sunday morning.

IBERIA PARISH
A mandatory evacuation has been issued for Sunday at 7 a.m.

JEFFERSON PARISH
Mandatory evacuation of Grand Isle began at 1 p.m. on Saturday. A mandatory evacuation for both the West Bank and East Bank was ordered Sunday morning by parish officials.  The mandatory evacuation for the West Bank begins at 9 a.m., with the East Bank mandatory evacuation starting at noon.  A curfew will be in effect starting Sunday, Aug. 31.

LAFOURCHE PARISH
Marshalling points at the Larose Civic Center, Central Lafourche High School and Thibodaux High School will reopen at 7 a.m. today.

A mandatory evacuation was ordered as of 4 p.m. Saturday.

Any resident who signed up to be transported from their home will be taken to one of these marshalling points. They, along with residents who drive themselves to a marshalling point, will be transported out of the parish.

Buses will transport all evacuees to a shelter to be determined.

All marshalling points closed about 7 p.m. Saturday.

LIVINGSTON PARISH
Evacuation is suggested for people living south of Interstate 12 in Livingston Parish, said Brian Fairburn, the parish’s director of emergency preparedness.

A major hurricane surge from Lake Maurepas is expected for the lower part of the parish, emergency officials said.

“If you can get out, secure your residence and get out now,” said Harry Brignac, the French Settlement chief of Police.

“I don’t think we’re going to miss the bullet on this one,” the police chief said.

People can wait until this afternoon to make a decision, but “traffic is going to be horrendous,” he added.

Brignac said his officers will be out in full force until the winds or water get too high, and then will be back on the streets as soon as possible.

Piles of sand have been put out at most fire stations in the parish for people who want to try to sand bag around their homes to hold back the storm surge, Fairburn said.

No shelters have been opened, but North Park and the West Livingston gymnasium will be opened as shelters if necessary, said Will Clark, an aide to the parish president.

ORLEANS PARISH
Orleans Parish has issued a mandatory evacuation for West Bank residents for 8 a.m. Sunday morning. On the East Bank, residents have a mandatory evacuation order beginning at noon Sunday.

PLAQUEMINES PARISH
A mandatory evacuation was issued for Saturday at noon.

ST. BERNARD PARISH
A mandatory evacuation was issued for Saturday at 4 p.m.

ST. CHARLES PARISH
A mandatory evacuation was issued for Saturday at noon.

ST. JAMES PARISH
Parish officials issued a highly recommended evacuation for all residents living south of La. 3127 in the south Vacherie area and those living north of La. 3125 in the Grand Point Area along with residents living in trailers, manufactured homes and flood prone areas.

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
St. John the Baptist Parish has issued a mandatory parishwide evacuation beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday.

ST. MARTIN PARISH
A mandatory evacuation was issued for Saturday at noon.

ST. MARY PARISH
A mandatory evacuation was issued for Saturday at 4 p.m.

TANGIPAHOA PARISH
A mandatory evacuation of all mobile homes and travel trailers across the parish goes into effect at 10 a.m. today, Parish President Gordon Burgess said. That evacuation also includes all homes south of La. 22, Burgess said.

“I’m concerned about a 13-to-16-foot storm surge on the south end of the parish and winds of 75 to 100 miles an hour,” the parish president said. “This is a monster.”

TERREBONNE PARISH
A mandatory evacuation was issued for Saturday at 4 p.m.

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August 31, 2008

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Is this a call to arms or a call to vote or both?

February 5, 2008

“It is hopefully within the citizens of the United States’ power to address the failures of our laws and agencies,” he said. “If not, it is certain that another tragedy such as this will occur again.”

~Judge Duval on his ruling concerning the levy lawsuit.  (from:  Thanks-Katrina, “This Sucks”)  You can read more about the issue from Sandy @ Levees. org.

I can see this happening again, but I can also see that action is in the hands of Americans at Levees.org.  I don’t foresee much being done on the subject.  It’s like is another billion dollar toilet seat subject or something.  People elsewhere are not really concerned with the levees in Louisiana enough to motivate politicians or local leaders into changing what has occurred. I wish more Americans would fix America.

 

What happend two years later?

September 4, 2007

Two years ago on September 4th, 2005 we had no electricity. The streets were full of debris. It was hot. The trees lost all of their leaves. It looked like fall. Gunshots were fired a few blocks away. Two people were killed, “looting”. I was supposed to have surgery the day Katrina hit. That got cancelled. Red Cross was nowhere to be found, yet. Phone service was non-existant. Mail service was post poned. Grocery stores were taking cash only. Gas lines formed. The banks were closed. I didn’t see anything get any better in the following week ahead. Things just got worse.

After we finally evacuated, Louisiana said that the health insurance would carry over out of state. It didn’t. The pharmacy said that that the crisis was over now – a month later. It wasn’t. I had to fight the state for identification verification. FEMA mailed a letter to the wrong address and gave out several identification case numbers. It was a confusing mess. It took over nine months to get the SBA to respond. The SBA was a waste of my time. FEMA contracted employees, inspectors, were sent twice. This took months and months. FEMA can’t contact their contracted employees, either. They have no idea who is working on your case.

Two years later, I still haven’t had my surgery. Healthcare in Louisiana was really bad prior to Katrina. Now? I know its nearly non-existant. I still think of my children as 8 and 10, even though two years have passed. Now they have a sister. She was born nearly two years to the day of Katrina. She’s the only damn good thing that’s come out of this…aside from getting to evacuate alive.

UPDATE Sept. 5, 2007

CNN’s Ruins, deaths don’t stop family’s return – posts issues of the tourist industry capitalizing on Louisiana’s misfortune along with the USPS erasing addresses from their mail routes.  The comments are significant here as most agree the disaster tours are in bad taste.  Some of these come here people just don’t know any better.  Here are some comments on the CNN article.

AND two years later some organizations are just NOW attempting to contact me by mail.  These people suck.  They want a long application and review process in order to assist.  They can take a flying LEAP … the JERKS.  Two years?! Give me a break!

ITEMS FROM THE NEWS TWO YEARS LATER

New Orleans, two years later…
By d.K.(d.K.)
On Wednesday, August 29, it will have been two years since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and caused the deluge that resulted in the worst natural (and, I’d argue, man-made) disaster in the history of this country. …
A Silent Cacophony – http://asilentcacophony.blogspot.com/

Two years after Katrina
By Molly Reid
NewhouseMiji Park sits back in a chair near a giant eraser board where she and her co-workers jot down their thoughts at The Idea Village in New Orleans. Post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans a beacon for entrepreneurs NEW ORLEANS — Five. …
Reports from The Birmingham News… – http://blog.al.com/bn/

Big Easy struggles 2 years after Katrina
Two years after Hurricane Katrina, much of the “city that care forgot” still lies in ruins. But Otis Biggs’ task as he shuffles his Tarot deck this moist August day is to peer into the future to 2015, the storm’s 10th anniversary. …
star-telegram.com: Breaking News – http://www.star-telegram.com/190/index.xml

Two Years Later…What have we learned from Hurricane Katrina?
By theexpositor
Newspapers this Sunday morning across the state of Mississippi are featuring stories measuring the effects of Hurricane Katrina two years after one of the most devastating disasters in American history. On my radio program, …
The Expositor – http://theexpositor.wordpress.com

Obama Outlines Plans for New Orleans
By rikyrah(The Angry Independent)
Strengthen the Levees: Two years after Katrina and despite a billion dollars spent to strengthen the levees, New Orleans is still not protected from a major storm. The levee rebuilding has been piecemeal and disorganized, …
http://mirroronamerica.blogspot.com/

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, a new lease — and view — on life
NEW YORK — Gulf Coast financial advisers are standing on higher ground two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated that region.
InvestmentNews Current Issue Headlines – http://www.investmentnews.com

Sense of optimism takes seed
By Mike Stuckey
A recent report from the Gulf Coast Business Council, titled “Two Years After Katrina,” paints a downright rosy picture on many economic issues, noting that annual retail sales in the three-county coastal area have increased 61 percent …
Rising from Ruin – http://risingfromruin.msnbc.com/

Two years after Katrina
Two years after Katrina, several churches in the Diocese of Mississippi still struggle to rebuild:. Driving along what is left of the beachfront boulevard in Bay St. Louis, one sees a lot of green. Nature has reinvented itself; …
The Lead – http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/

Most Huggable: Two Years After Katrina, Carbon Trading’s Dark Side …
Two years after Katrina, New Orleans is still struggling to revive itself. The Daily Green looks into the devastation that still pervades… SolFest rocks “the greenest show on Earth.” Eco Libris tracked down Stephen Morris for a …
TreeHugger – http://www.treehugger.com/

FULL REPORT: Two years after Katrina, blueprint for a failed recovery
By Chris Kromm(Bill)
The study also features “Where did the Katrina money go?” — an in-depth analysis of federal Katrina spending since 2005. The Institute reveals that, out of the $116 billion in Katrina funds allocated, less than 30% has gone towards …
Facing South – http://southernstudies.org/facingsouth/index.asp

New Orleans Two Years After Katrina:
By Orin Kerr
This Douglas Brinkley essay is a few days old but still a very important read. Here’s a taste:…
The Volokh Conspiracy – http://volokh.com/

Two Years After Katrina, Still Struggling With Healthcare
I’ve just returned from New Orleans where I visited Share Our Strength’s partners and friends to see firsthand the progress and challenges that the city faces two years after Hurricane Katrina. Having been to the city in February I …
Sharing Witness – http://www.sharingwitness.org/

Countdown: Two Years After Katrina
By Nicole Belle
Keith Olbermann and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter look at the major thudding with which Bush’s quick jaunt to the Gulf Coast on the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina was received and the slow recovery process for Katrina victims.
Crooks and Liars – http://www.crooksandliars.com

Q&A: Operation Photo Rescue, Two Years After Katrina
As the Gulf Coast region marks the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this week, a photography group remains hard at work restoring family photographs damaged in the floods. Operation Photo Rescue is a network of volunteers who use …
Digg / Design / upcoming – http://digg.com/design

Two years after Katrina, New Orleans recovery stalls
NEW ORLEANS
| Two years after Hurricane Katrina almost nothing seems the same in New Orleans, but one thing has not changed — a cool regard by business for what was once a major Southern commercial center.
Business Feeds – http://www.datasystemsplus.net/

Two years after Katrina, an insurance nightmare
By bhounshell@ceip.org (Blake Hounshell)
Many people are probably wondering today why, two years after Katrina, New Orleans remains something a little less than a shining city on a hill. The news on the Big Easy’s recovery is not all bad, but it’s certainly disappointing for …
FP Passport – blogging on global… – http://blog.foreignpolicy.com

Bush: “Better days” Ahead Two Years After Katrina
President George W. Bush on Wednesday declared “better days” ahead for New Orleans despite complaints over slow rebuilding and amid lingering political fallout two years after Hurricane Katrina’s destruction. via 102.5 KIAK-FM.
US News – http://www.topix.com/us

New Orleans Residents Still Furious Two Years After Katrina
Not all residents of New Orleans are “furious”, but some of us are.
Digg / World News / upcoming – http://digg.com/world_news

Two Years After Katrina Entrepreneurs Return To New Orleans
By Jessica Stillman
Two Years After Katrina Entrepreneurs Return To New Orleans It’s two years today since Hurricane Katrina raged across the Gulf Coast, bursting levies and leaving large portions of New Orleans flooded. President Bush led a moment of …
BNET Intercom – http://blogs.bnet.com/intercom

Two Years After Katrina (The Leonard Lopate Show: Wednesday, 29
Rose’s columns that detail not just the city’s dislocation but his own. He joins Leonard to assess where New Orleans is two years after Katrina. If you want more info about ongoing relief efforts for Katrina victims, check out these …
WNYC New York Public Radio Most… – http://www.wnyc.org/

Two years after Katrina
By Sarah van Gelder(Sarah van Gelder)
There are way too many questions remaining two years after Katrina. An International Tribunal is meeting now in New Orleans to look for answers to why a moderate natural disaster became an unspeakable human tragedy that continues two …
Sarah van Gelder – http://www.yesmagazine.org/svgblog/

Two Years After Katrina: Race, Political Relavence, and Survival …
By mole333(mole333)
This diary was originally written once the lessons of Hurricane Katrina had sunk in a bit. This week is the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Two years ag…I remember watching on the weather channel as a category 5 hurricane was …
Mole’s Progressive Democrat – http://moleprogressive.blogspot.com/

Two years after Katrina…
By Nikita
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/news/katrina/ http://www2.oprah.com/tows/pastshows…omocode=cnnkat.
Comic Book Resources Forums – http://forums.comicbookresources.com

Building Back: Two Years after Katrina
After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, many coastal Louisiana horse owners said “enough’s enough” and moved farther inland, while others stayed behind to reclaim their farms that were battered and drenched by the storm. …
TheHorse.com News – http://www.thehorse.com/

Two Years After Katrina
By Ryan
Tonight I was kicking around my place killing time before Canada battles Puerto Rico and I was amazed by an article that Alexander Wolff wrote called “Two Years After Katrina.” The article is phenomenal and makes it worth buying this …
HoopsAddict.com – http://hoopsaddict.com

NOLA: 2 years on article compilation
By hupcollective(hupcollective)
“Two years after Katrina, our nation has an opportunity to change course and demonstrate its sincere commitment to those being left behind in the faltering recovery,” says Sue Sturgis, a co-author of the full report. …
hupcollective – http://hupcollective.livejournal.com/

Hurricane Katrina: Two Years Later
By vjack(vjack)
Two years after Katrina, less than half of previous New Orleans residents have returned. Those who have remain concerned about the levees. There is a palpable and realistic fear that this could happen again. …
Atheist Revolution – http://atheistrevolution.blogspot.com/

Q&A: Operation Photo Rescue, Two Years After Katrina
As the Gulf Coast region marks the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this week, a photography group remains hard at work restoring family photographs damaged in the floods. via Photo District News.
Photography News – http://www.topix.com/arts/photography

New Orleans, Drop Dead (two years after katrina and thousands are ...
By angryindian
New Orleans, Drop Dead (two years after katrina and thousands are still without homes_new. I guess I’m really a hard-hearted person, but as a survivor of Florida’s Hurricane Charley, which tore my roof off and forced me to spend many …
The News is NowPublic.com – NowPublic… – http://www.nowpublic.com

After Katrina, and after Hugo, and after Andrew…
By Fausta(Fausta)
Two years after Andrew hit journalists weren’t going to Florida to interview people whose rent was still being paid by FEMA. Interestingly, a large influx of illegal labor went to work in the rebuilding effort after Andrew, Hugo, …
Fausta’s blog – http://faustasblog.com/

Two Years After Katrina, Billions in Relief Funds Are Missing
By bubba2
Less than 42% of the money set aside has even been spent, much less gotten to those most in need. Channel: Do No Evil Tags: hurricane Katrina Gulf Coast long term recovery missing relief funds Bush.
Netscape.com Do No Evil Stories – http://www.netscape.com

Kinship Circle: [GULF COAST] Two Years And Still Counting
By Kelly
Unbelievably, nearly two months after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, animals are still being found in houses. (November 2005). Kinship Circle – 2007-09-01 – 07 – Don Corsmeier of KAT 5. PHOTO: Rescue volunteer Don Corsmeier rides in …
easyVegan.info – http://www.easyvegan.info

New Orleans: Two Years After Hurricane Katrina
It’s now been two years since the destruction of New Orleans caused by defective flood protection built by the US Army Corps of Engineers following Hurricane Katrina. Check out the video of the “progress.”
Digg / upcoming – http://digg.com/

KATRINA
By Ann
-One year after the disaster there were still approximately 100000 people still living in more than 38000 FEMA-provided trailers. Two years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. In the days following the …
BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS… – http://kathmanduk2.wordpress.com

Two years after Katrina, New Orleans job recovery stalls
Two years after Hurricane Katrina almost nothing seems the same in New Orleans, but one thing has not changed – a cool regard by business for what was once a major Southern commercial center.
http://www.LoHud.com

Hurricane Felix: The 8th Category 5 Atlantic Storm in Just 5 Years
By Dan
There have now been eight Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes in the past five years (Isabel, Ivan, Emily, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Dean, Felix); There have been two Atlantic Category 5s so far this year; only three other seasons have had more …
The Daily Green – http://www.thedailygreen.com

Racism and Criminal Justice in New Orleans
By jodietonita
Two Years Post-Katrina: Racism and Criminal Justice in New Orleans By Jordan Flaherty August 29, 2007. Two years after the devastation of New Orleans highlighted racism and inequality in the US, the disaster continues. …
She muses – http://shemuses.net

MediaStorm: Finding the Way Home: Two Years After Katrina by …
MediaStorm: Finding the Way Home: Two Years After Katrina
by Brenda Ann Kenneally.
While Seated (2point8 linklog) – http://whileseated.tumblr.com/

FROM NY TIMES:
But two years after Hurricane Katrina hit, Ms. Cassin and her husband, Joseph, are still stranded far from home; their insurer has offered them just $41000. Emile J. Labat III, a funeral home owner and real estate investor, …
http://defendneworleans.tumblr.com/

Katrina and New Orleans Demographics
By johnibii
Two years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina we have an opportunity to look at how the victims and displaced responded in a crisis. A Vietnamese-American friend who lives in New Orleans said to me: “Mother fled North Vietnam …
Peace and Freedom II – http://johnibii.wordpress.com

Hey, mister…where’d ya get that gas?

July 27, 2007

Last month the Houston Chronicle printed a story on the plans being made to get gas to evacuating residents. I’m wondering given the absence of articles in daily Louisiana papers if there are any plans in local parishes along the hurricane evacuation routes to get generators to those gas stations that have gas during evacuations. Here are two stories on the issue that I’ve found on line. There are no others to date that I have found. Let me know if you have found other stories on the gas lines and shortage on the Louisiana Hurricane Evacuation routes from your local parishes.

Plan aims to get gas to evacuating residents -Houston Chronicle
June 24, 2007, 3:09PM
Oil industry helped Texas craft storm strategy
Plan aims to get more gas to evacuating masses
By TERRI LANGFORD
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
3 stations are ready to pump
Hammond Daily Star Online – By Brennan David
Monday, July 9, 2007 11:09 AM CDT

“…Cashio’s Chevron and Quinn’s Texaco Service own generators in Hammond, as well as Harris Gas and Liquor in Ponchatoula – all three were open after the hurricane hit this area Aug. 29, 2005…

In fact, all three stores claim they were the first to start their generators to supply gas.

No other gas stations have come to own generators since Katrina.

Demand for gasoline was so high at the time that the City of Hammond approached Charles Cashio of Cashio’s Chevron about opening his store. Cashio did not own a generator at the time, but he was allowed to use a welding machine that could power the pumps…”

“…Gasoline was pumped throughout the day, supplying both public, private and government vehicles by all three providers.

“The city asked if we had gas in the tank,” Cashio said. “So they let me use a welding machine. The city needed the gas to clean the streets and clean things up. I had the gas and was willing to sell it. I just needed the power.”

Cashio said once the gas was pumping, the main obstacle was to not run out of gas. If emergency vehicles needed gas in the evening, he might not have any to give.

In the week after Katrina, Cashio said times were so busy that he was asking other gas stations to open their doors to lighten the load.

Across town at Quinn’s Texaco Service, owner Davey Quinn was also open for service after Katrina, and today has the capability to power all six pumps in the event of a power outage.

“We had people from Washington Parish that needed gas to milk their cows,” Quinn said. “I gave away a lot of free gas. Some people would drive up with nothing. I would fill them up and tell them to leave.”

Like the other two owners, Quinn said a supply truck would refill the station’s empty tank each day. Everyday for almost a week Quinn ran out of gasoline but would reopen once resupplied…”


KATRINA DAYS – Traffic backs up along West Thomas Street near Quinn’s Texaco Service in the days after Hurricane Katrina. Quinn’s is one of a few service stations in the area that has a generator to power gas pumps during extended power outages. Daily Star File Photo by Kari Wheeler

How fast can you hand-wheel out of the path of a 450mi wide issue?

July 24, 2007

Advocates decry lack of housing in New Orleans
High rents undermine aid extension, they say

“…HUD spokeswoman Donna White said 377 apartments are available, mostly at the Iberville complex. She said another 400 are being rehabilitated and should be available soon. Opening the doors to renters has been slow because the Housing Authority of New Orleans is required first to contact the former apartment residents to see whether they want to return…”

Of course, two years later most have HAD to MOVE on. FEMA rules indicate that if evacuees moved in with other family members they were not eligible for FEMA reimbursed housing assistance.

Poll: 1 in 3 would not evacuate for hurricane
Tuesday, July 24, 2007 1:50 AM EDT

“…Robert Blendon, the Harvard professor who directed the survey said he expected more people to say they would not evacuate after a mild 2006 Atlantic hurricane season.

“It just shows how people can become complacent if they’re not immediately threatened,” Blendon said.

In addition to finding that 31 percent of respondents would not evacuate, the study found another 5 percent said it would depend on the circumstances.

The poll was conducted by telephone and surveyed more than 5,000 people 18 or older in coastal areas in eight Southern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. All respondents lived within 20 miles of their state’s coastline. The poll was conducted between June 18 and July 10…”

States other than Louisiana and Mississippi during Katrina did not sustain a high number of fatalities. I believe, Alabama, had between one to three fatalities from hurricane Katrina in only one county – Washington – and that was on the highway. Most of the fatalities in Louisiana were due to drowning . . . 60-70% were elderly or infirm.

EDITORIAL: Katrina’s lessons lost
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

“…Residents of hurricane-prone areas shouldn’t have forgotten the hard lessons of Katrina so soon, but a new survey shows that people have dangerously short memories.

The Harvard School of Public Health surveyed residents of eight states beginning last month and found that 31 percent would not leave this year if the order came to evacuate. That’s up from 23 percent last year. ..”

FEMA available for questions on formaldehyde
Published: Monday, July 23, 2007 6:35 PM CDT

This site has the ability to post comments in addition to providing the 1-800# to call for questions.

Defense wants attorney general’s recusal in Hurricane Katrina nursing home deaths case
By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer- ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. (AP)

“…A couple charged with negligent homicide in the deaths of 35 nursing home residents after Hurricane Katrina said Monday that they want the attorney general barred from prosecuting the case, citing a conflict of interest.

Defense counsel for Salvador and Mabel Mangano, owners of St. Rita’s nursing home, are expected to use evidence of alleged negligence against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state of Louisiana and the government of St. Bernard Parish at trial.

But Attorney General Charles Foti also has filed a $200 billion claim against the Corps, contending faulty levees caused floods that inundated the New Orleans area, including St. Bernard Parish…”

Now why didn’t I think of using the levees as an excuse for poor emergency evacuation planning? It seems that everyone else is blaming the levees instead of having personal responsibility for evacuations. A Plan, you know, would be prudent and essential. Now why or how this facilities plan fell apart has become a “levee” issue in the courts. Yes, the levees failed, however, the evacuation plan indicates ….hello? …an EVACUATION PRIOR to …the levee failure…the storm…a serious problem…a singular negligent homicide…encountering a 450 mi wide storm.

I hope someone who advocates for the elderly, nursing homes, and those who are defenseless is paying attention to this case. This is infuriating!

More LQ’s rant on this from Newsvine.

National Guard deployment raises questions over storm preparedness – 09:36 PM CDT on Monday, July 23, 2007
Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News Reporter

We can’t say thank you enough to the military for their response during hurricane Katrina!

Why is FEMA Still a Four Letter Word?

July 20, 2007

Since when does a state of emergency in a National Disaster require bids to get out of my driveway?

Daily Kos

FEMA is still a 4-letter word here.

Sat Jul 14, 2007 at 06:21:34 PM PDT

Daily Kingfish

…Lord knows Louisiana needs it…

FEMA’s Still a Four-Letter Word

by: gildareed

Sat Jul 14, 2007 at 23:16:02 PM CDT

(This is the first post on DKF for Gilda Werner Reed, an amazing woman running to knock off Rep. “Bobby” Jindal in LA-01. – promoted by ryan)Cross-posted over at Daily Kos.

Who is playing nice and who isn’t? The merry go round and round

July 17, 2007

You can blame FEMA, the State of Louisiana, and local governments and politicians, but that merry go round and round stops once and a while in the media. It’s too bad that all of those people can’t sing the clean up song like the St. Bernard Project.

“Clean up clean up everybody everywhere…Everyone does their fair share…” 

St. Bernard Project . org was featured on CNN last night.  God Bless both the homeowner and the couple who changed their lives to help others in St. Bernard Parish.  It was the only news CNN had to offer, unfortunately.

CNN – Cable’s Needless Notice
Anderson Cooper on CNN last night broadcast the criminals in New Orleans going free because of the justice system in New Orleans is backlogged or corrupt.  Cooper and his cohort barely skim the surface of the issues in New Orleans – No. Cooper and his cohort  don’t even touch the issues in New Orleans, but have burrowed into the “black hole” of journalism concerning real issues in New Orleans and Louisiana in the wake of Katrina.  The interviews with Jordan were, of course, fruitless.  I don’t know why I expect major media outlets to actually get to the meat of a story such as this one.  For one thing, I don’t think they know how. It is extremely disappointing considering the history of crime in New Orleans prior to Katrina.

 LQ’s comments on “Sometimes the cure is almost as bad as the disease” – From:  intellectualize.org  Jack Cluth

The federal muck and revolving door that local officials have to wade through in order to accomplish recovery gets a focus in this blog.  Intellectualize.org blames my President and the Federal Government. I disagree only to this extent.  Personally, I dealt with no less than 14 FEMA representatives, 5  different FEMA written responses, 3 FEMA contracted inspector, and several misplaced documents by FEMA.  This doesn’t count the web application that FEMA utilized to begin the whole process that crashed at least 10 times mid completion before the application spit out a FEMA ID number. Then I was sent no less than 5 different FEMA ID numbers due to the computer glitch.  By the first submission to FEMA, my local government had already failed. The local government’s right hand didn’t know what the left was doing and neither right nor left cooperated with the Governors’ office. It is ultimately up to the local politicians, leaders, and town councils in order to assist with the recovery process and from what news is available, outside of personal experiences and stories of recovery present on line, these local governments are all “what’s in it for me” and not the folks they were elected to represent before Katrina.  The little guy gets it again and Jack blames my Prez fruitlessly.  Issues in Louisiana are already the focus of several DOJ investigations and FBI investigations prior to Katrina – the numerous Federal Investigations have already been noted. Blaming my Prez gets you nowhere, it’s not his ultimate responsibility to clean up local politics and it’s local politicians responsiblity to FIND the issues pertaining to their constituents. “If it is to be … it’s up to me.”

Colorado AP reports a story on an elderly couple from Slidell.

Couple may lose home over $1.63 tax bill

posted by: 9 NEWS , Staff   Colorado 07/16/2007

Topix Comments on Couple may lose home over…

One commentor lambasts the uncaring local government. It’s a sadly familiar story.

FEMA red tape strangling local governments

Posted by Coleman Warner, Staff writer July 14, 2007 8:58PM

Categories: Breaking News

As Jefferson Parish still awaits millions of dollars in reimbursements for emergency-repair spending after Hurricane Katrina, its finance director, Gwen Bolotte, has grown increasingly weary of delivering the same records again and again to FEMA or state disaster recovery officials.

With money just now beginning to flow to bigger infrastructure repair projects, she blames a revolving door of FEMA officials and relentless document requests from the state. Send in two invoices under the same contract, and state monitors typically will demand a copy of the contract each time, Bolotte says.

“I would think there would be a permanent file; most auditors have a permanent file,” she said. “People are getting frustrated, having to produce the same paperwork.”

Bolotte is part of a large contingent of locals officials who are mired in what seems an endless slog as they try to land grants through FEMA’s Public Assistance program.

The so-called PA, unfamiliar to most citizens and perplexing even to many government officials seeking the money, is the top source of federal disaster funding to rebuild public infrastructure: schools, roads, sewer lines, hospitals and civic auditoriums, police and fire stations. The program also offers rebuilding money to certain private institutions, such as universities, that are deemed essential to civic life.

FEMA expects to spend a whopping $2.7 billion on repair and construction projects across south Louisiana, more than five times the city of New Orleans’ annual operating budget before Katrina hit. That doesn’t include billions of public assistance dollars directed to emergency purposes, such as overtime and debris removal.

The process of getting the money, however, has proceeded in slow motion, because of the program’s inherent complexity and because of a failure of local officials to master the bureaucratic labyrinth.

Of the $2.7 billion ultimately expected to be spent on “permanent” work, $2.1 billion, or 78 percent, had been reviewed and approved, or “obligated,” by FEMA as of June 28 — but just $532 million, or 20 percent, had been released by the state. State officials said the release of money is influenced in part by whether they believe an entity is ready to spend it.

As regional FEMA executive Jim Stark noted: “It is grant money with strings attached. There are t’s to be crossed and i’s to be dotted.”

The pace of reviews by FEMA and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness dictate how quickly the grant money flows. FEMA officials write and critique project worksheets before they obligate a grant, and then state officials conduct their own reviews — requiring extensive documentation from local officials — before they release money.

Moreover, the frequent need for an increase in the amount authorized for a project after locals demonstrate that FEMA’s initial estimates were too low requires a new round of FEMA and state reviews, consuming even more time.

Many local officials view the process as unwieldy and confusing, a drag on efforts to rebuild. Testifying before a U.S. Senate disaster recovery panel Tuesday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said that while he is seeing “positive movement in our relationship” with FEMA, law and procedural changes are needed to make it easier for local entities to land PA money.

While views differ on whether there is a need to change the Stafford Act, a federal law that guides disaster responses, state and FEMA officials running the PA program said they are working to streamline procedures while still guarding against abuses of the federal purse.

While the PA benefits don’t pay costs that are covered by insurance — and include penalties for entities that didn’t buy enough insurance — the program will, in theory, foot much of the bill for putting storm-ravaged infrastructure back together.

And, in a rarity for any government program, FEMA puts no cap on total spending, provided the storm damages are well-documented.

“As long as we can agree on scope of work, cost should not be an issue,” said Timothy Brunette, a trainer for FEMA officials handling PA projects.

But even generally grateful recipients moan over the tedious and confounding process of securing the money, from preparing the first worksheet to undergoing auditor reviews to completing the bricks-and-mortar work.

Reaching agreement with FEMA on the scope of work, as well as “reasonable cost” for a project in a post-disaster economy, can become a tug-of-war. Nor is it easy to assemble enough money to get a construction project going, since PA is set up as a reimbursement program, and many agencies — especially now — have little cash at their disposal for upfront costs.

Local agencies must furnish records covering everything from past maintenance to completion of bids for a repair, and, in an exercise familiar to citizens navigating recovery programs, they often have to furnish them more than once.

Those obstacles — along with varying directives from a rotating cast of FEMA project monitors — are cited by local officials as factors in the painfully slow release of PA money.

Just $23 million of $304 million FEMA expects to spend in two public school systems in New Orleans had been released as of June 21, for example, although $136 million had been obligated by FEMA, meaning the state can release it after its demands are met.

Also, PA-financed repairs to New Orleans streets, which could wind up costing hundreds of millions of dollars, are far from reality because the preparation of worksheet information by FEMA and the city is just now getting under way.

Weary of being a rhetorical punching bag, FEMA officials made it clear that the PA program depends on legwork by local agencies, which, even as they struggle with thin staffs, must assemble documents and help assess damages.

Federal administrators pointed out, for example, glaring weaknesses in construction planning by the Recovery School District and said Nagin’s public works department was months slow in preparing a list of streets that need to be repaired. They demanded the list by July 31.

Criticism of the school district led to a push by state Superintendent Paul Pastorek to ramp up work on damaged schools. Nagin’s public works director, Robert Mendoza, conceded that the city had done little to prepare the streets list, but he said that was largely because of a past dispute with FEMA about what sort of damage would be covered. Nevertheless, Mendoza said the July 31 deadline would be met.

At times, FEMA officials note, local officials who blame slow progress on state and federal bureaucrats have made glaring mistakes of their own in how they use the PA process.

Slidell’s finance director, Sharon Howes, noted recently that after the city landed — and spent — $569,000 for equipment and vehicles lost during Katrina, it faced a FEMA demand for documentation to justify the grant once again. The demand came when Slidell asked for a change in a Federal Emergency Management Agency “Project Worksheet” that would add $238,000 to the earlier grant.

“It’s almost like they’re trying to wear me down, so that I give up,” said Howes, who said she was given to feeling like a homeowner trying to settle an insurance claim.

But FEMA officials said a routine evaluation of how money was spent in the first part of a grant turned up a glaring problem: Slidell had taken monies provided to replace police vehicles with cars of a similar vintage and value and had used the funds to buy a smaller number of new, better-equipped police cars.

FEMA has a process for executing just that kind of transaction, but Slidell ran afoul of the rule. The city erred in not applying for an “alternate” use of grant proceeds, a process that would have meant a 25 percent cut in the size of the grant, FEMA spokesmen said.

Just what will be done about the mistake, and the request for more equipment money, is “under review,” the officials said.

FEMA officials say they can’t estimate how long it takes for a PA project to move through the system because they vary dramatically in size and complexity. But long waits for infrastructure repairs that clearly qualify for PA grants anger and befuddle residents who are slogging through their own rebuilding challenges and are counting on government to do its part.

Evy Assaf, a resident of Lakeview for 60 years, said she plans to contact the city’s Department of Public Works, which is just beginning to assemble a list of needed street repairs, to ask that it secure help for her street, Spencer Avenue, near the site of the 17th Street Canal floodwall break. The street is full of major holes, beyond the capabilities of the city’s celebrated Pothole Killer machines, and has a protruding manhole cover that threatens to rip out the underbelly of any car crossing it, she said.

The needs couldn’t be more obvious, Assaf says. How much longer before the work crews and heavy equipment show up?

“There certainly should be some kind of efficient policy in force to take care of some of these problems,” Assaf said during a break from cleaning windows and shoveling dirt at her home. “I really don’t know what the problem is, why there should be such a delay and such an inconvenience to people who are trying to come back.”

FEMA officials say they are working closely with local officials to smooth out rough points in the grant process, and that their efforts, guided by the nearly 20-year-old Stafford Act, face an epic test, with more than 600 workers assigned to the Louisiana mission.

The federal officials say they are trying to remove one key bottleneck in the quest for myriad repairs — thin staffing at the local level to handle paperwork and surveys — by explaining to the agencies how they can secure extra PA money for administrative costs.

Some local officials are, indeed, seeing traction in freeing up of PA grants, pointing to the influence of John Connolly, 49, an agency veteran who helped lead recovery operations at the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A soft-spoken, casually dressed bureaucrat with an easy grasp of construction project minutiae, Connolly wants his division to squeeze the biggest impact from the PA pot, saying, “I’ve never seen the agency bend over so far to extend the maximum grant amount that we can.”

Connolly says FEMA will stick around in south Louisiana, for many years if necessary, to monitor rebuilding work, noting that the agency still keeps an office in Northridge, Calif., to handle issues from a 1994 earthquake.

New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board officials, who have sparred with FEMA almost since Katrina’s waters receded over how much of the utility’s badly damaged system should qualify for PA money, say FEMA representatives are becoming more helpful and pragmatic. In recent weeks, section chief Chris Colletti informed the board that FEMA had given up on trying to determine which pipe leaks were caused by Katrina and that the PA program will provide comprehensive repairs to the system, at least to the point of restoring its pre-storm capacity.

City officials celebrated the news.

“We’ve made more progress in the last 90 days than we had in the prior year,” said the board’s executive director, Marcia St. Martin. “We are cautiously optimistic.”

The water board has nearly 400 PA projects, many of them essential to quality of life, in the works. FEMA estimates that the program so far will provide $171 million for rebuilding needs. Of that, about $72 million, or 42 percent, has been released.

In the St. Tammany public school system, risk manager Kirt Gaspard, the district’s point man for PA requests, said there have been moments of indecisiveness on FEMA’s part because of turnover among project officers and times when the same documents have been requested more than once.

But he praised the efforts of FEMA and the state Office of Homeland Security in pushing rebuilding projects forward. He said they have been especially cooperative in the case of Salmen High School, which was ripped apart by an eight-foot storm surge, quickly allocating about $15 million to get a temporary campus open by August 2006. FEMA has tentatively approved spending more than $20 million on a permanent Salmen campus. Completion of architectural drawings is still months away.

“This is kind of a new scenario for FEMA as well because of the magnitude of destruction that Katrina caused, so you can expect they had a lot of new hurdles to overcome themselves, but overall we’ve done well in navigating the process,” Gaspard said.

A recent decision by Congress and President Bush to waive a requirement for a 10 percent local match for PA repair projects eliminated a key chokepoint, officials say.

While the Louisiana Recovery Authority previously had agreed to use Community Development Block Grant money to cover the required PA match, the dual funding sources and their differing rules created a paperwork nightmare and delays, LRA Executive Director Andy Kopplin said.

Congress has discussed revamping the Stafford Act, which governs FEMA assistance, to add flexibility and to give local FEMA officials greater leeway to cut through red tape, particularly in response to overwhelming disasters like Katrina and Rita. But that idea hasn’t gained momentum in a Congress restive about the spiraling costs of the Gulf Coast recovery.

Meanwhile, some would-be beneficiaries of PA grants fume about the slow delivery of help. Among them is Nicholas Felton, president of a union for New Orleans firefighters, who five months ago complained loudly about lack of progress in securing millions of dollars from FEMA for repairing uninhabitable firehouses that are plagued by sewage backups and rodents.

He still complains but can’t pinpoint exactly whom to blame. Many firefighters are still housed in trailers that aren’t safe in foul weather.

“We have not seen any movement, any money, from federal, state or local officials,” he said. “We have only been successful enough in repairing fire stations with generous donations from people around the city and country, and with firefighters putting in the work. I wish I knew where it (rebuilding money) is so that we could go tell folks to let it loose.”

Officials in Nagin’s administration who handle PA paperwork, including Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Cynthia Sylvain-Lear, say little, “other than they’re working on it, and they’re trying to get it. But it’s been almost two years and we haven’t gotten anything,” Felton said.

Sylvain-Lear couldn’t offer a timeline for fire station repairs. She blamed the lack of progress on a broader problem: Project Worksheets prepared by FEMA that estimate repair or rebuilding costs using figures that are far too low, forcing the city to ask for an amended Worksheet. Without the use of higher figures, the city is forced to find money elsewhere in its budget to fill the gap, she said.

While FEMA officials are willing to change worksheets repeatedly when given evidence that their cost estimates are too low, delays caused by those negotiations pose a big problem for local agencies, Kopplin said. State officials are urging FEMA to develop a policy, he said, that would allow a PA recipient to borrow against other approved projects to cover temporary funding gaps of the sort described by Sylvain-Lear.

In St. Bernard Parish, officials rail about the lack of upfront money for PA projects that they say makes it difficult, if not impossible, to advance major restoration projects. Such projects include rebuilding the parish’s sewer system and repairing St. Bernard’s civic center and government complex in Chalmette. Ironically, the last two projects, expected to cost more than $3 million combined, were cited by FEMA officials among 20 south Louisiana projects that will show a positive PA impact.

Unlike some local parishes, St. Bernard has little flexibility in its budget to cover early costs of a construction project while waiting for a FEMA reimbursement, and many contractors won’t bid if they aren’t sure when they will be paid, said Joey DiFatta, chairman of the parish council.

“We need federal help up front rather than on the back end,” DiFatta said. “How the hell do you spend it if you don’t have it?”

FEMA officials say that while PA offerings are labeled reimbursements, federal law allows advances on the money. But the state decides the details of when and how to front money.

Mark Debosier, disaster recovery chief for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, said DiFatta is misinformed if he thinks construction advances aren’t available. The state has a policy of advancing, when asked, up to 75 percent of the cost of a project, in increments that can be spent in a timely fashion.

“I don’t know that St. Bernard has ever even asked,” he said. “It’s primarily a reimbursement program, but there are provisions for advances.”

The state’s offer of 10 percent of FEMA-estimated project expenses for design and engineering is well-known. But Debosier said there has been limited use of other construction advances. He suggested that many agencies don’t apply for them because they haven’t figured out how to pay the portion of costs not covered by the PA grant.

The LRA’s Kopplin said the state hasn’t promoted use of construction advances until recently. To be sure, Slidell’s finance director said she had not heard about the availability of construction advances. And Tommy Couvillion, district manager of Associated General Contractors, said many companies that have landed PA-related work, most of it through the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board, reluctantly agreed to extend themselves, not sure when FEMA reimbursements would arrive.

“They’re being good corporate citizens, trying to help the city get back on its feet. If you can’t treat the sewage, and you don’t have potable water, we’re all dead in the water,” Couvillion said. “The unknown is always fraught with anxiety, you know? You’re betting the payments are going to come sooner (rather) than later. You’re hoping, and you keep the fingers crossed.”

Coleman Warner can be reached at cwarner@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3311.

COMMENTS (9)Post a comment

Posted by xfire on 07/14/07 at 9:54PM

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS SAY “FEME” RED TAPE IS STRANGLING THEM ————-
Now thats pure amazement…….and it’s only taken them 23 months to come to this concludion…….anyone could have known this just by talking to anyone who had to deal with FEMA……

Posted by skydaddy on 07/14/07 at 10:25PM

Just wait until we get government run health insurance coverage that all these idiot main stream media types are trying to convince us that we need. What would anything to do with the government be like if they didn’t have red tape?

Posted by xfire on 07/15/07 at 1:22AM

SNAKE24:
You had me right up to “Obama and Clinton”….You must be kidding…..

Posted by nolano on 07/15/07 at 6:11AM

now imagine “the folks down city hall way” trying to deal with getting anything correct, folks, looks like we will all be needing 4 wheelers soon to “drive” our streets, I heard it took 3 hours ever day just to get meal orders correct for the connected “lunch crowd”, I b having a shrimpss on bum ,no mayo, but lots of hot stuff and plenty dem pickels , oh budda aslo, i b tankin u

Posted by mdsolutions on 07/15/07 at 6:26AM

Its not FEMA as much as it is the State and Louisiana politics. FEMA passes money to the state and the state has a machine in place that is highly inefficient and primitive. Why? If the state machine can make the processes obnoxious enough so that most normal individuals will avoid bidding – then the friends of the state will use their contacts to cut special deals for each other and receive the high awards.

That is just how Louisiana works. It is well rehearsed and the standard operating procedure. Accept it.

How to get involved? It costs money.

How to stop it? Impossible. The state runs on these relationships.

Posted by deadbeat007 on 07/15/07 at 8:15AM

The Department of Defence has managed to spend over 440 billion dollars in Iraq over the past 4 1/2 years, maybe they ought to take over that part of FEMA’s function.

Posted by powerpakt on 07/15/07 at 8:56AM

HAS ANYONE HEARD OF THE 12.5 MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF ICE THAT IS SIMPLY GOING TO BE ALLOWED TO MELT, RATHER THAN GIVE OR SELL FOR LESS AT ONES OWN RISK? IT WAS SENT TO NOLA AFTER KATRINA, BUT BECAUSE OF UNCERTAINTY OF ITS SAFETY AND STORAGE COST, THEY HAVE CHOSEN TO “LET IT MELT” UN-BLANKIN-BELIEVEABLE

Posted by vidicon on 07/15/07 at 11:10AM

I tired of hearing local and state government blaming everything on FEMA. Obviously the TP interviewed cry babies from Jefferson Parish,these people would not last one week in a real job. I dealt with both Fema, SBA and very graceful for their help for both personal and business.State Government is a joke! The largest budget in history and real problem were not address ex: Homeowners and commercial ins., hurricane protection, health care in targeted areas.

Posted by russian on 07/15/07 at 5:19PM

I understand that people cannot wait and patience. That is very real slow progress of rebuilding take longtime for 25 years They could not take a day or a week for rebuilding. They are not sure, because hurricane could hit in Gulf Coast again. That is why Governor Blanco hold $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Let me explain you that it will have an other major hurricane in 2009. Betsy-Katrina hit in Gulf Coast (1965 -2005) for 40 years. Camille-????? will hit in Gulf Coast (1969-2009) for 40 years. I hope not.. God Bless……….

I have my comments for you. I lost my everything in Eastern New Orleans. If I am elect Mayor or Governor I would like to demand in Eastern N.O. closed for good. I am very curious that what is your opinion comments.