Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 27, 2015

New Orleans and the Gulf at Ten

Above, Weather Channel coverage of Katrina on August 27, 2005

On Saturday, August 27 ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina was a CAT-3 still in the Gulf, but projected to hit along the Mississippi delta. The state of Louisiana requested and received a Stafford Act declaration of a major disaster in anticipation of the hurricane’s impact. Late Saturday afternoon the mayor of New Orleans (finally) encouraged voluntary evacuation of the city.

That weekend I was conducting counter-terrorism training in a windowless, Strangelovian room far from the Gulf. But we had the storm track and continuous news coverage displayed on several giant monitors.

I perceive that over the next week Homeland Security morphed from being mostly threat-oriented toward much more engagement with vulnerability. This very nascent field began shifting from a focus on “stopping bad guys” to assessing risk and cultivating resilience.

Media and scholarly attention to the Tenth Anniversary of Katrina started in early August and has been surprisingly substantive. Here at HLSWatch, Bill Cumming has offered several notes and links on the anniversary, see recent Friday Free Forums. Following are five more links I hope you find worth your time.

  • The Data Center –  Fantastic resources on demographics, economics, and other quantitative measures related to the region’s recovery.
  • Resilience in Survivors of Katrina (RISK) – This is an ongoing longitudinal study of several angles on several sub-populations.  Focus is on psycho-social outcomes.
  • Catastrophes are Different from Disasters – The now classic essay by E.L. Quarantelli.  Also check out other excellent essays in this 2006 special report by the Social Science Research Council.
  • Recovery Diva – Claire Rubin has posted at least twenty thoughtful updates with multiple links.
  • REVERB – An exhibition (through November 1) at the Contemporary Art Center of New Orleans.

Threats continue to challenge and tempt us.  Vulnerabilities can be difficult to acknowledge. Meaningful mitigation often requires sustained collaboration. Resilience is complicated. We continue to learn from Katrina.

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Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 27, 2015 @ 6:35 am

While continued political charade failed the people during Katrina and at least from my perspective, inevitably such will happen again given the dysfunction and self-serving agenda of politicians these days and the ill spent monies of tax dollars and folks who seemingly care to address their own and are simply indifferent to those in desperate need —

….and I seriously doubt in a real calamity there will be sufficient manpower to address the demands of community – therefore resilience a prerequisite, however given human nature today seeing good ‘ol Ms. Hillary and now even a prominent kennedy family member serving and all seem above the law conducting the People’s work on personal servers —- How dare you?

…and as I have stated quite clearly more than once shouting from the rafters, no one is above the law! Breach of faith is treason by those taking oath and allegiance to the People and the nation….

….though to point out a more positive study, A Stanthorpe Community Perspective lending a differing perspective and the importance of resilience and community:


Comment by William R. Cumming

August 27, 2015 @ 7:55 am

Thanks Phil generally and for the new links.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 27, 2015 @ 3:22 pm

President Obama on Hurricane Katrina and Climate Change at 5 P.M. EST! C-Span?

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 30, 2015 @ 11:35 am

IMO neither President Obama nor former President Bush discussed the WHY of Hurricane Katrina in their NOLA visits.

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