Hurricane Katrina How it Affected Both Community and Individuals Families Research Paper

Pages: 7 (2373 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Weather

Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating storms to hit the U.S. coast, overwhelmed the city of New Orleans, leaving it underwater with nearly two thousand of its citizens dead. The storm resulted in a failure of the levees, which had major design flaws and lacked appropriate maintenance. According to an investigation by the National Science Foundation, those who were in charge on the conception, design, construction and maintenance of the region's flood control system failed to pay adequate attention to public safety

Nationally, concern still arises when remembering back to Hurricane Katrina. President Bush endured major political damage as a result of his slow response to Hurricane Katrina, emphasized by his notorious adulation of FEMA director, Michael Brown, "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie"

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. President's have a great opportunity during natural disasters to show the nation how they can lead in a time of great peril - when time is of the essence (e.g. Obama's oil spill). However, when the hurricane hit on a Monday in August of 2005, President Bush was flying around California and Arizona to address Medicare concerns. The day the levees broke, a Tuesday, the President was speaking to World War II veterans in San Diego. He flew over the devastated city of New Orleans on Wednesday on his way to a speech at the Rose Garden, and on Thursday he commented on Good Morning America, but it wasn't until Friday, as federal response made its way to the Gulf Coast that President Bush did too. Nationally speaking, this natural disaster raised great concern over who we were allowing to lead our country. It was important that our President is able to see the damage firsthand, but it took nearly five days for him to evaluate the situation in person. On a national level, as well, the hurricane "raised many questions that still persist today: questions about how race and class influence human, as well as institutional, responses to disaster"

Research Paper on Hurricane Katrina How it Affected Both Community and Individuals Families Assignment

. Elliott and Pais's study used data collected from more that 1200 Hurricane Katrina survivors to examine those influences on a wide array of responses, from evacuation timing and emotional support to housing and employment situations and plans to return to pre-storm communities. The results showed strong racial and class disparity, illustrating that neither of the dimensions can be reduced to the other when trying to understand responses by survivors themselves.

Since Hurricane Katrina's construction, many of New Orleans's levees have been reconstructed. The fact that many of the natural wetlands around New Orleans were lost was a factor that emphasized the devastation as well. The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MR GO) added to the problem since oil companies constructed it, going through the wetlands for their own interests. MR GO essentially funneled the increasing storm surge straight into St. Bernard Parish and Eastern New Orleans. But while the levees were being constructed, more pervasive damage was left to brew. The issue as to why it took so long for federal response to come to their aid -- including a visit from the President, who seemed to be going everywhere but where he should be going, led to a very painful and embarrassing question lurking in the hearts of many Americans everywhere -- not only in New Orleans. Had these people been cast aside, ignored because they weren't considered worthy of help?

On a local level, many small businesses suffered profoundly in New Orleans. Most of the suffering was a result of insurance issues, deep financial problems as well as personnel problems. However, whether speaking nationally, statewide or locally, the intergovernmental relationship that was supposed to connect local, state, and federal officials before, during and -- now -- after this devastation has disintegrated. There appeared to be a general lack in the well being of New Orleans's people -- from helping them recoup their losses to helping them examine how they could put their devastated city back together again.

Federal government didn't do its job, which has led to a breakdown the way Americans view emergency management in the U.S. What are the government's specific responsibilities and what is its specific role? That being said, part of the blame needs to be put on state and local officials, but the roles of state and local officials has to be defined as well and what to do if a state or local government's ability to handle a situation is completely wiped out

What aspects of the issue are being addressed in the local community, workplaces, churches, agencies, etc. (Include case study)

Two topics were conveniently left out of reports when coverage of Hurricane Katrina hit the airwaves: race and class. From the news coverage, it appeared that the people who were suffering the most were African-Americans. They were the most common faces seen on television- whether they were being rescued, taking up temporary residence at the Superdome, or wandering around on the high ground of the freeway.

The challenge to addressing the issue regarding how the news depicted the residents of New Orleans is that nobody wants to speak about class or race in America -- especially if we're going to discuss inequalities; however, it's very difficult to talk about Hurricane Katrina and not talk about the issues of class and race. President Bush gave a speech in Gulf Region after Katrina. He said,

Within the Gulf region are some of the most beautiful and historic places in America. As all of us saw on television, there's also some deep persistence poverty in this region as well. That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action

Reactions to Bush's speech were varied and emotional. Many black, impoverished citizens of New Orleans didn't get to safe refuge during the disaster. They were out of food and water, they watched their babies die as well as their elderly. What was clear is that the issues of race and class during the time of Katrina were not being brought up. Many looked at the television and saw an urban catastrophe and the television was depicting mostly blacks. David Shipler a former New York Times reporter commented, "I think race issues are not spoken about in a very clear or honest way. So when they get forced upon us as they have been during Hurricane Katrina, it's almost a splash of cold water in people's faces

Now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it's amazing that New Orleans has been able to recover as much as it has. But while the tourism industry is back to its almost old self, there are still vacated houses, boarded up and left with the markings of rescue efforts. The new mayor of New Orleans, Landrieu, the first white mayor in over thirty years, won partially because of his general annoyance with the pace of recovery efforts and the desire to revitalize them.

Today, at least on paper, the city's economy seems to be thriving. They have relatively low unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. However, depending on where the residents of New Orleans live, their perception on the city's recovery varies. There are some areas that have very few people living in them -- some are even desolate

. One woman interviewed states that she was just interested in seeing people in the neighborhoods again.

There is still a very weak system of levees in New Orleans, making the same risk for devastation in the event of another hurricane possible. Public services -- like hospitals and day care centers -- are still lacking in the city as well. The public transportation is one of the biggest problems for New Orleans. Between 2007 and 2008, their number of riders had gone up by 40%

. Despite this, there is unquestionable progress in New Orleans and there are many nonprofit groups as well as business leaders and politicians that are putting a lot of effort into improving the criminal justice system as well as the health care system in New Orleans.

In 2009, a small group of entrepreneurs set out to attract small businesses to New Orleans. They city has low rent compared to other metropolitan areas and they offer many business tax incentives. Of course, the city's music and diverse culture scene is also an attraction for people. Since Katrina swept in August 2005, there have been at least four formal entrepreneurial hubs created in New Orleans: Entrepreneur's Row, the Icehouse, the I.P. (Intellectual Property) and the Entergy Innovation Center

. Their goal is to help small, individual businesses, housing start-ups as well as more established companies while focusing on "clustering like-minded entrepreneurs to build their businesses together"

Katrina's monetary devastation resulted in between $40 and $50 billion. In one case study, the effort to reconstruct the physical environment and urban infrastructure was estimated to be between 8 and 11 years

. The conflicting goals for reconstruction for quick recovery, safety… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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