Homeworks academic service

New orleans levee improvement after hurricane katrina essay

Indignation over the failure of government galvanized New Orleans women as it had women reformers of the Progressive Era, with whom they have much in common. As women have done for decades, they responded by joining with like-minded women and pursuing a course of activism to bring change.

The experiences of these New Orleans women activists reprise themes of Progressive Era women who battled along a broad front of issues, including the prevention of cruelty to animals, the care of the mentally disabled, consent laws for marriage, and better teacher salaries.

These activist women in post-Katrina New Orleans exemplify the silk-stocking tradition of reformism, which has a long history in the Crescent City. Women pressed state and local governments to adopt measures to protect women and children in factories, to close saloons on election day, and new orleans levee improvement after hurricane katrina essay pay male and female school teachers equally. Elite women reformers became darlings of the local media, as press coverage typically lauded their efforts and praised their motives.

In the wake of Katrina, New Orleans women of the economic elite, equipped with similar advantages, again donned that cloak and stepped forward to work for reforms that they found compelling. Mary's Academy and its ballroom. Concern and frustration over the stalled Katrina recovery motivated her to embark on a time-consuming, unpaid effort at reform. Like many New Orleanians, Frierson feared that negative perceptions about her hometown were retarding recovery.

Investors clearly feared putting their money into New Orleans property without a guarantee that the Katrina catastrophe would not be repeated; residents and businesses hesitated to return, for the same reason.

However, even if the U. Army Corps of Engineers upgraded and armored the levees, discredited local entities would still be responsible for their maintenance. Politicized levee board members had expanded their authority far beyond inspection and maintenance of floodwalls. A conversation between a frustrated Frierson and her equally distressed neighbor Jay Lapeyre, chairman of the New Orleans Business Council, led her to mount a massive petition drive to force a reconsideration of the levees legislation.

Hurricane Katrina remembered 10 years later: 'There was little light. Little hope.'

Photo by Virginia Beck Horner. Courtesy Virginia Beck Horner. The entrenched New Orleans system for assessing real estate value was nothing more than whimsy fueled by personal relationships. People who cultivated assessors reaped the reward of low property taxes, the result of rampant underassessments.

They trained volunteers, then financed and carried out an expensive public education campaign to spur citizens to demand a levee board comprised of experts guided by principles, which conducted its business with transparency and without a hint of political patronage. Signs clamoring for action sprouted throughout the city like mold after the flood. Clad in their trademark red jackets, Frierson and her associates lobbied relentlessly in Baton Rouge and became a notable presence during the twelve-day session.

The failure of flood-protection and drainage systems did not neutralize topography. A majority in the legislature voted to present to the state electorate measures that would consolidate the levee boards and the tax assessor system. In September 2006, 80 percent of the voters statewide approved a constitutional amendment for levee board consolidation, while an enthusiastic 97 percent of Orleans Parish voters agreed.

Two months later, an amendment to dismantle the assessor system also won overwhelming statewide approval, passing with 78 percent of the vote.

Ten Years After Katrina, Myths About Warnings, Violence, and Recovery Persist. Here’s the Truth.

The independent weekly newspaper Gambit ranked the stunning consolidations of the levee boards and assessor system as the number one story of 2006. Her husband soon returned to his medical practice in New Orleans, and Zaheri and their two children commuted to spend weekends with him. The blight of the sodden, violated cityscape assaulted her senses on every visit back to her city.

She quickly realized that city sanitation services, insufficient in normal times and now depleted of workers displaced by the storm, were utterly inadequate to the task of collecting garbage and the moldy contents of gutted houses. Even with the assistance of Federal Emergency Management Agency fema contractors, mountains of uncollected refuse and debris festered at curbside for weeks.

The garbage problem seemed to grow exponentially, begetting an unprecedented outbreak of blatant littering and large-scale dumping. A frustrated Zaheri e-mailed friends to suggest a cleanup day; her first call brought fifteen women to pick up litter, clear sidewalks, and bag the unsightly mess on Thanksgiving weekend 2005.

By Christmas, the group was staging two cleanups a week, and, at each, upwards of two hundred people turned out to participate. They set up committees, mastered the art of publicity, established a sophisticated Web site, and worked up a sweat twice a week, clearing block after city block.

By early 2006, a phenomenal growth had occurred; volunteers were coming from around the country, and turnouts on cleanup days easily exceeded a thousand people. The Katrina Krewe filed for 501 c 3 status under the federal tax code, making donations to it tax exempt.

  • Of those, the first is the only one really worth addressing;
  • Women pressed state and local governments to adopt measures to protect women and children in factories, to close saloons on election day, and to pay male and female school teachers equally;
  • The overall population is lower, and the city has 100,000 fewer black residents now than before the storm , though it is still majority black.

During Mardi Gras and spring breaks, college students came to help; foreign tourists added their muscle, and locals continued to rally to the cause. Zaheri directed the project with the assistance of ten board members, all women, most of them like herself, mothers of young children.

Zaheri felt obligated to respond personally to the voluminous e-mails she received, often numbering three hundred daily. Successful, twice weekly cleanups required significant advance work.

  1. Sasanakul, Inthuorn, et al.
  2. The blame for the damage that was caused by Katrina is a burden shared among many entities, including Mother Nature; however, the blame for the resultant flooding has been directed mostly towards the group that designed the levee system within the city.
  3. This poor design stemmed once again from the soil surrounding the levees.

Zaheri scouted locations, driving slowly through unfamiliar parts of the city to identify appropriately large, littered chunks of New Orleans that could fully occupy the labors of a thousand volunteers for three hours at a time. The city sanitation director estimated that the Katrina Krewe collected two hundred fifty thousand tons of debris and refuse. The reliability of Katrina Krewe volunteer sanitation workers seemed to confirm New Orleanians in their rampant dumping and littering.

In summer 2006, the Katrina Krewe reduced cleanups to one per month and discontinued them entirely in the fall. In place of the cleanups, the women instituted new initiatives focused on enlisting neighborhoods, businesses, and schools to police their own areas, advertising an antilitter campaign through their Web site and through brightly painted signage that they purchased for the city.

In a major new push aimed at teaching good habits to children, they established the kat Kids Against Trash Krewe. Like Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, the Katrina Krewe revised their goal to aim higher; they hoped to inspire New Orleanians new orleans levee improvement after hurricane katrina essay take charge of keeping their city clean, and, in particular, they hoped to instill better habits in an impressionable younger generation. Four months after Katrina, with many lawmakers indicating strong reluctance to finance the rebuilding of New Orleans, Congress still bickered over allocating aid for hurricane recovery.

Notably, Speaker of the House J. Convinced that a firsthand look at the extensive devastation would move lawmakers to vote for aid more effectively than any amount of lobbying, Milling planned to have the women extend personal invitations to every member to visit New Orleans on an expense-paid tour.

For those who accepted the hand-delivered invitation, the women would offer much more than an eyeful of misery and a general wish list; they planned a carefully mapped city tour and a concise, factual, illustrated seminar on the need for wetlands restoration, levee reconstruction, and financial aid for homeowners.

The final group of 130 was organized in concentric circles, with the inner group reaching out to add others, who then did the same, and so on until the group reached its intended size. The participation of Hispanic, African American, and Vietnamese women, as well as women from Gulf Coast areas beyond New Orleans, provided a modicum of diversity. The inner circle had assigned each woman a partner for the Washington visit, with each pair responsible for four predetermined congressional offices as they carried out a full-court press on the afternoon of their visit.

Why not ask [members of Congress] to come down? We nagged and nagged the new orleans levee improvement after hurricane katrina essay. And we [did] it with Southern grace. Personal invitations, persistent lobbying, follow-up contacts, and a second visit to Washington by the women helped turn the tide and thaw the apathy. In public, self-effacing charm ruled as they hosted dinners, accompanied visitors on devastation tours, worked with the press, and facilitated seminars for their guests.

Behind the scenes, it was hard work, details, and deadlines. Members of Congress routinely arrived on short notice, necessitating a scramble to arrange the press exposure and logistics critical to a successful visit.

Scheduling spokespersons for tours and booking busy civic leaders for the informational seminars presented challenges.

  1. Members of Congress routinely arrived on short notice, necessitating a scramble to arrange the press exposure and logistics critical to a successful visit.
  2. We nagged and nagged the congressmen. While the water level was five to eight feet short of the top of the levees within the 17th Street Canal and London Avenue Canal, in the IHNC water rose higher than the tops of the levees and overflowed onto the other side causing erosion of the soil 502.
  3. Unfortunately, the much needed recovery of the MRGO and the adjacent wetlands south and east of New Orleans will be a much steeper hill to climb. Women pressed state and local governments to adopt measures to protect women and children in factories, to close saloons on election day, and to pay male and female school teachers equally.

You have to be here firsthand on the ground to grasp the extent of the damage. We have an enormous long-term environmental challenge here. I am for doing what is necessary.

Bush praised the Katrina Krewe in his speech on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Also meaningful to the women were the appreciative comments from local media and awards from many quarters.

Race and class undeniably generate important experiential differences among women, which often lead to differences in perception of needs. The historical record documents a series of troubled and suspicious alliances between white and black women suffragists, for example; and within the feminist movement, closer to our own times, the difficulties that middle-class white women, on the one hand, and working-class and black women, on the other, had in agreeing on a shared agenda also speak to differences in experience and perception.

They invited two women of color, well educated and of comfortable economic status, to join the steering committee. Their contributions were welcomed; they apparently enjoyed a cordial working relationship with the group. By providing conditions for shared understanding, commonalities of gender and class seemingly mitigated any divide of racial difference that might have existed.

For the most part, the upper middle-class women in this essay educated their children at private schools, lived in neighborhoods patrolled by private security, and did not require government-provided social services; as they sought to assist in the recovery of New Orleans, they did not choose to address weak public schools, inadequate police, or absent social services.

That their lives were such bastions of comfort and security allowed them the luxury of concentrating first on large systemic reforms, changes that might have seemed abstract to New Orleanians reeling from flood losses, seeking an affordable apartment or a reopened public school, and struggling with the intractable bureaucracy to rebuild in a depopulated post-Katrina neighborhood. The reforms they pursued have helped and undoubtedly will continue to help their stricken city, and the women who labored to accomplish them deserve high praise.

Meanwhile, however, other deeply troubling problem areas—schools, crime, housing, public health—await champions of their own in New Orleans. She offers special thanks to the many New Orleans women who generously sat for interviews to explain their recovery projects during the trying months after the hurricane. Readers may contact Tyler at pamela dot tyler at usm dot edu.

Louisiana Women, 1879—1920 Lafayette, 1986116—17. Late in the session, however, a controversial procedural vote in the House denied the measure a House committee hearing; thus, the proposal died without debate two days before the legislature adjourned.

Map Markers

See Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, http: Struggles and Images, ed. Rumor has it that some women activists may seek public office in the next election cycle, but confirmation was not forthcoming.