Beyond Recovery: Building Resilient Communities
Over the past seven years, Louisiana has made a phenomenal comeback from the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This brochure offers a retrospective snapshot of the state’s recovery, and I encourage you to take a look as you reflect on the upcoming anniversaries of both events. FEMA’s Louisiana Recovery Office Executive Director Joe Threat
From day one, Hurricane Katrina's massive impact was nearly unfathomable. When Hurricane Rita hit a month later, Louisiana was left crippled. The first year was spent focusing on those in need-the thousands who lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones-and clearing the mounds of debris that littered the roads and neighborhoods across the state.
FEMA housed more than 92,000 Louisiana households in travel trailers and mobile homes. These symbols of Katrina and Rita could be found statewide, parked in front of homes or lined up in neat rows in one of 111 group site. At the same time, case managers coordinated with residents to meet their immediate needs.
The U.S. Coast Guard, through an interagency agreement with FEMA, continued clearing the state's waterways of marine debris. Meanwhile, one of the largest, single Hazard Mitigation Grant Project grants ($96.9 million) was given this year to elevate homes devastated by Katrina and Rita.
As part of an ongoing initiative, Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps were released in many Louisiana parishes, including Vermilion Parish (top left). At open houses, mitigation specialists showed communities how to use the maps to gauge their flood risks. Rebuilding continued and signs of progress were seen everywhere, such as the Davant Pool in Plaquemines Parish (top right)
When Hurricane Katrina struck, only four jurisdictions in Louisiana had approved hazard mitigation plans—a requirement to qualify for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. By the 5th anniversary, FEMA had given $23.5 million to help all 64 parishes and 17 other entities create detailed plans. In addition, a landmark master plan alternate project resulted in $1.8 billion for construction and/or renovation of 88 state-of-the-art schools in New Orleans, such as Lake Area HS (top left) and Andrew Wilson Elementary (top right).
The rebuilding momentum accelerated as year six passed, and celebrations of growth and new beginnings could be seen from one end of the state to the other, such as the grand opening of South Cameron School (top right). News of the recovery operations spread worldwide, and FEMA's New Orleans Office became host to dozens of international delegations (top left) looking to discuss best practices and lessons learned.
Seven years later, the last remaining travel trailers were hauled away, marking the completion of FEMA’s largest housing mission in the agency’s history. By now, ribbon cuttings on new buildings are averaging several per month. Rosa Keller Library (top right) was one of five New Orleans public libraries to open within a four-month timeframe in 2012.