The truth now about the big stories then

In the Shadow of Katrina

Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, and Louisiana’s troubled housing recovery has shaped the response to every major disaster since, including Hurricane Sandy.

This week’s Retro Report video tells the story of Louisiana after Katrina — not the levee failures, FEMA’s infamous trailers, or the legal battles with insurers, but the long process of rebuilding homes. The effort in Louisiana was called the Road Home, a program primarily designed by the state, run by private contractors, and funded with grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Using archival footage and recent interviews with former Governor Kathleen Blanco, current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and others familiar with the program, the video explains how the best intentions for a comprehensive and speedy recovery were compromised at virtually every turn. Funding was constrained by Congress, the application process was bogged down by red tape and delays, and by the time homeowners did get money they often got far less than what they needed to rebuild. The legacy of the Road Home in New Orleans is one of two different recoveries. While some areas of New Orleans did come back, others did not. Now, with many states still trying to rebuild since Hurricane Sandy hit last year, officials involved agree — the lessons from Katrina’s housing recovery must be learned.

 

Related Stories:

New York Times: “After Hurricanes, the ‘Road Home,’ the Long Way”

The Takeaway: “Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath”

Conversations with Thinkers: “Retro Report’s Drew Magratten: In the Shadow of Katrina”

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