Tag: Hurricane Katrina

LaToya Cantrell Elected New Orleans’ 1st Woman Mayor

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (photo via nola.com)

by Kevin McGill via abcnews.go.com

LaToya Cantrell, a City Council member who first gained a political following as she worked to help her hard-hit neighborhood recover from Hurricane Katrina, won a historic election Saturday that made her the first woman mayor of New Orleans.

The Democrat will succeed term-limited fellow Democrat Mitch Landrieu as the city celebrates its 300th anniversary next year. “Almost 300 years, my friends. And New Orleans, we’re still making history,” Cantrell told a cheering crowd in her victory speech. The leader in most polls before the runoff election, she never trailed as votes were counted.

Her opponent, former municipal Judge Desiree Charbonnet, conceded the race and congratulated Cantrell late Saturday. Later, complete returns showed Cantrell with 60 percent of the vote. “I do not regret one moment of anything about this campaign,” Charbonnet said. The two women led a field of 18 candidates in an October general election to win runoff spots.

Landrieu earned credit for accelerating the recovery from Hurricane Katrina in an administration cited for reduced blight, improvements in the celebrated tourism economy and economic development that included last week’s announcement that a digital services company is bringing 2,000 new jobs to the city.

Cantrell entered the race as the perceived front-runner, leading in fundraising and in various polls. She had an 11 percentage point lead in a poll released last week by the University of New Orleans. It showed 46 percent of 602 voters surveyed from Nov. 1-8 favored Cantrell over Charbonnet, who had 35 percent; 20 percent were undecided. Former state civil court Judge Michael Bagneris, who finished third in last month’s race, endorsed Cantrell, as did Troy Henry, a businessman who also ran for the post last month.

UNO political science professor Edward Chervenak said the endorsements appeared to help Cantrell overcome revelations that she had used her city-issued credit card for thousands of dollars in purchases without clear indications that they were for public purposes. The money was eventually reimbursed but questions lingered about whether she had improperly used city money for personal or campaign expenditures.

Voters also made history in a New Orleans City Council race.

Cyndi Nguyen defeated incumbent James Gray in an eastern New Orleans district. An immigrant who fled Vietnam with her family when she was 5 in 1975, Nguyen is the organizer of a nonprofit and will be the first Vietnamese-American to serve on the council.

To read full article, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/latoya-cantrell-orleans-1st-female-mayor-51252667

‘Katrina Girl’ LeShay Brown Reunites with Air Force Veteran Mike Maroney on ‘The Real’

mike maroney & katrina girl

After 10 years of searching for the young girl he rescued during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Master Sergeant Mike Maroney finally reunited with his “Katrina Girl.”

According to People, an emotional reunion took place between Maroney and LeShay Brown during a taping of “The Real” on Tuesday (Sept. 15).  The reunion comes years after a photo of Maroney and Brown hugging captured the heart of the nation. Earlier this month, Maroney revealed that he finally found Brown.

Reminiscing over the embrace, Maroney said that Brown’s hug was a true inspiration.  “If she’s strong enough to handle this, I can handle this,” the 19-year pararescue jumper told “The Real” hosts before he was “re-introduced” to Brown.

“I wish I could explain to you how important your hug was,” Maroney said to a choked up Brown after hugging her again. “Your small gesture helped me through a dark phase. You rescued me more than I rescued you.”

People notes that although times have been hard for the pair since Katrina, “The Real” came through big time with a $10,000 check for each family.  Although she doesn’t remember much from the rescue, Brown spoke to People after seeing Maroney again, saying that what he told her “really means a lot.”

shawntrell brown mike maroney leshay brown

For the Air Force veteran, the reunion was a long time coming as he shared with Brown and her mother Shawntrell that that has “dreamt of this day for a long time” and that “finding you guys, and knowing you’re okay, has been a weight off my back.”

“I’ve rescued a lot of people, but there have also been a lot of people I couldn’t rescue, he mentioned to People regarding his job. “Life sometimes gets dark, knowing there are good people who love life and are happy, the resiliency that she had has been a strength for me.”

Brown and Maroney’s reunion will continue, as their families will see each other again in Brown’s adopted town of Waveland, Mississippi. In addition, the pair plans on keeping in touch with each other as Maroney revealed that he and Brown have already been checking in on each other through texting as well as “talking quite a bit.”

Read/learn MORE at People.

Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2015/09/air-force-veteran-reunites-with-katrina-girl-on-the-real/#ZgTdL8SSw0ObWQ5i.99

New Orleans Celebrates its Recovery 10 years After Hurricane Katrina

People dance during a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The traditional ceremony was conducted at the historically African-American university, which was heavily damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina, as a symbolic burial of the Hurricane for it's 10th anniversary. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
People dance during a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The traditional ceremony was conducted at the historically African-American university, which was heavily damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina, as a symbolic burial of the Hurricane for it’s 10th anniversary. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With prayers, church bells and brass bands, residents across Mississippi and Louisiana will pay homage Saturday to those who died in Hurricane Katrina, thank those who came to rebuild and celebrate how far the region has come from that devastating day.

Ten years ago — on Aug. 29, 2005 — Katrina made landfall in what turned into one of the deadliest storms in American history. The hurricane‘s force and flooding ultimately caused more than 1,800 deaths and roughly $151 billion in damages across the region.

In New Orleans, wide scale failures of the levee system protecting the city left 80 percent of New Orleans under water.

In Mississippi, churches will ring their bells to remember when the storm made landfall. In Biloxi, clergy and community leaders were to gather at MGM Park for a memorial to Katrina’s victims. In the evening, the park will host a concert celebrating the recovery.

Katrina’s force caused a massive storm surge that scoured the Mississippi coast, pushed boats far inland and wiped houses off the map, leaving only concrete front steps to nowhere.

The city has framed the 10th anniversary as a showcase to demonstrate to the world how far New Orleans has come back. In the last week, the city has held lectures, given tours of the levee improvements and released a resiliency plan.

People hug following a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University on August 28, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The traditional ceremony was conducted at the historically African-American university, which was heavily damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina, as a symbolic burial of Hurricane Katrina. The 10th anniversary of the storm is August 29. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
People hug following a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University on August 28, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Many parts of this iconic city have rebounded phenomenally but many residents — particularly in the city’s black community — still struggle. Glitzy casinos and condominium towers have been rebuilt, but overgrown lots and empty slabs speak to the slow recovery in some areas.

In New Orleans officials will lay wreaths at the hurricane memorial and at the levee that ruptured in the Lower 9th Ward.

The neighborhood was one of the bastions of black homeownership in America when water burst through floodwalls, pushing houses off foundations and trapping residents on rooftops. The neighborhood still has some of the lowest rates of people who’ve returned after the storm, but it will be having a daylong celebration to mark the progress made.

Former President Bill Clinton will headline a free concert-prayer service-celebration Saturday evening at the city’s Smoothie King Center.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press via thegrio.com

“Selma”‘s Ava DuVernay & David Oyelowo Reteam for Hurricane Katrina-Set Love Story/Murder Mystery

Ava D, David O

 

“Selma” Director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo are teaming up again for a currently untitled Hurricane Katrina-set love story and murder mystery, for Participant Media.

DuVernay will write, produce, and direct, while Oyelowo is in negotiations to both star and also produce the project, which will mark the third time they’ve worked together as director and actor, following “Middle of Nowhere” and of course “Selma.”

Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King will serve as executive producers.

“Hurricane Katrina is one of the most important social and environmental stories of our time,” said Participant’s King, adding, “Ava DuVernay has shown herself to be highly skilled at bringing intimacy and contemporary urgency to epic events. We have been looking for the right way to get back in business with Ava, and with David Oyelowo, and are proud to re-team with them on her original idea, which we believe will be a powerful film.”

“The story we’re interested in will explore the complexities of intimate relationships within times of chaos, while also examining the chaos itself. I’m looking forward to the journey.” added DuVernay.

article by Tambay A. Obenson via ShadowAndAct.com

Fats Domino’s Katrina-damaged Grand Piano Finally Restored

A photo of musician Fats Domino lies in the street next to his home in the heavily damaged Lower Ninth Ward December 24, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nearly four months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, the worst-hit parts of New Orleans and surrounding areas are still uninhabitable. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A photo of musician Fats Domino lies in the street next to his home in the heavily damaged Lower Ninth Ward December 24, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nearly four months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, the worst-hit parts of New Orleans and surrounding areas are still uninhabitable. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A white Steinway grand piano salvaged from musician Fats Domino’s home after Hurricane Katrina has been restored and will be the centerpiece of an exhibit in New Orleans’ French Quarter.  The piano was damaged after water poured through a broken levee during the August 2005 storm, flooding Domino’s home in the Lower 9th Ward.  Its restoration came through $30,000 donated to the Louisiana Museum Foundation.  

The largest gift of $18,000 came from Allan Slaight, a retired music producer in Miami. Other donations came from Sir Paul McCartney, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Tipitina’s Foundation. The piano was to be unveiled Thursday at the Old U.S. Mint, now a museum in the French Quarter.  It will be part of the Louisiana State Museum’s music exhibition opening in 2014 but separately will go on display at the Mint in June.  A second Steinway piano belonging to Domino is on permanent display at the Presbytere Museum in the exhibition “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond.”

“Fats Domino is a seminal figure in American music, and he will have a prominent place in the coming Louisiana music exhibit,” said Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who oversees the Louisiana State Museum. “His beautiful grand piano, fully restored, will serve as the perfect symbol for Louisiana’s resilient nature and ever-evolving musical heritage.”

Born in New Orleans in 1928, the pianist, singer and songwriter sold more than 65 million records between 1950 and 1963, made Billboard’s pop chart 77 times and its rhythm and blues chart 61 times.  Katrina tore into Louisiana and Mississippi on Aug. 29, 2005. Flooding from storm surge and broken levees washed over an estimated 80 percent of New Orleans.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press; article by Stacey Plaisance via thegrio.com

Wendell Pierce Creates Supermarket Chain to Help New Orleans Residents

Wendell Pierce welcomes the first customers inside his 25,000 square-foot store.

Wendell Pierce, best known for his roles on “The Wire” and “Treme” is now launching a chain of grocery and convenience stores in places where fresh food can be hard to find.   As a boy, Pierce dreamed of leaving his hometown one day for the world stage. Today, the veteran actor with global credits has returned on a mission: rebuilding neighborhoods, brick by brick, aisle after aisle.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated this city in 2005, Pierce seized an opportunity to help his childhood neighborhood — Pontchartrain Park, an historic enclave for middle-class blacks — get back on its feet. He started the nonprofit Pontchartrain Park Community Development Corp. with a goal of replacing hundreds of flood-ravaged, 1950s-era houses with new homes.  Now, the next item in his recovery recipe is a long-missing ingredient.

Pierce, 50, and his partners are investing big in something seemingly so small: convenient access to a grocery store. They have launched a chain of convenience stores, Sterling Express, and a full-service grocery store, called Sterling Farms, the latter just unveiled in what is often described as a “food desert,” a neighborhood where residents must travel more than a mile to a store selling fresh food. According to 2011 data, 19 percent of all Orleans Parish households have no access to a vehicle.

Continue reading “Wendell Pierce Creates Supermarket Chain to Help New Orleans Residents”

Lower 9th Ward Passes Test During Hurricane Isaac

Gloria Guy enjoys her new “Brad Pitt” house  after being rescued from her rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. “I’m glad I stayed,” she says. “I’m tired of running.”

NEW ORLEANS — Seven years ago, as floodwaters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina rushed into her living room and swallowed cars, homes and friends around her, Gloria Guy spent 9 1/2 hours on the roof of her Lower 9th Ward home until a neighbor with a boat took her to higher ground.

Gloria Guy enjoys her new “Brad Pitt” house and new neighborhood after being rescued from her rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. “I’m glad I stayed,” she says. “I’m tired of running.”  Last week, Guy mostly napped and chatted with family members inside her newly built home on the same lot where Katrina’s floods nearly took her life as Hurricane Isaac wailed and moaned outside but failed to deliver any damage. Continue reading “Lower 9th Ward Passes Test During Hurricane Isaac”

Brittney Reese Wins Gold In Long Jump For Hometown Gulfport

Three years after Hurricane Katrina devastated her hometown, Brittney Reese hoped to give Gulfport, Miss., a medal in the Beijing Games.

She came up short, and was crushed.

“When I placed fifth, I was devastated and cried the whole way back to the (athletes) village,” she said. “I had the whole Gulf Coast behind me … I wanted to come out there and do that for them.”

She delivered four years later with a long-awaited gold medal in the long jump. She repeatedly recalled the struggles her family had been through after Katrina, which produced rains that collapsed the roof on her home and displaced the family for several months.

“We had mold and we were living out of mobile homes and trailers,” she said. “It was a tough time and unless you realize how blessed you are to have neccessities — we didn’t have hot water, and it was hot and we didn’t have air conditioning. It was a real true eye-opener and my city is now rebuilt and we have most of the stuff back.

“But we don’t have a lot of the homes back. This was a great way for me to bring something home to them to show that we can all do this together.”

via Brittney Reese wins gold for hometown Gulfport | theGrio.