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After a Dozen Hurricanes and 40 Years, Familiar Dangers With Higher Stakes

Years ago, banks and other businesses gave customers paper hurricane maps so that they could plot the latitude and longitude of developing storms. Now nearly everyone is glued to their phones and computers, watching projected storm tracks play out in real time.Still, many things have remained the same: Hurricanes often confound the forecasters. They don’t totally surprise anymore, but they drift past expected targets and, worst of all, they sometimes quickly become much stronger than expected. […]

Dirty Sexy Inked – Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde

Dirty Sexy Inked Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde Genre: Contemporary Publish Date: April 5, 2016 Publisher: Carly Phillips Seller: Draft2Digital, LLC New York Times bestselling authors Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde bring you a dirty, sexy, smoking hot SERIES featuring three bad boy brothers bonded by shocking secrets and their damaged past.  Sinful, addicting, and unapologetically alpha, these men are every woman’s erotic daydream … And your ultimate dirty fantasy. DIRTY SEXY INKED . . . Breaking hearts is what wild and rebellious Mason Kincaid does best. Hit it and quit it is his motto, and with his bad boy reputation and tattoos, he doesn't lack for female companionship. Until one hot night with the one woman he swore he'd never touch becomes an all consuming addiction he can't kick. Katrina Sands has been his best friend for years, but now that he knows what she feels like, and tastes like, there is no going back to being just friends. Hot, dirty sex has never felt so good…or so right. […]

Mike Huckabee’s Remark Reflects Attitude Toward Evacuation

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee recently attracted consternation for saying that New Orleans residents who did not evacuate for Hurricane Katrina had been lulled to inertia by climate change activists who exaggerate the threat of dangerous weather. It’s unclear why the Republican presidential candidate considers himself knowledgable on this subject. Huckabee’s experience with evacuations is limited to being alerted by emergency officials in September 2005 that Arkansas may need to accept Hurricane Katrina evacuees. That actually did not pan out. Indeed, the facts do not support Huckabee. But the remark also highlights how misunderstood the concept of evacuation is. Those who have never evacuated to avoid calamity tend to think an evacuation is a holiday trip “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.” Evacuations are always relatively sudden, stressful and difficult. Incoming information changes by the hour. They are expensive especially when you factor in lost wages. And they can be dangerous. In the face of Hurricane Rita in September 2005 when Texas’s mayor asked Houston residents to evacuate by saying “Don’t follow the example of New Orleans,” there was gridlock, emergencies and empty gas stations. The evacuation contributed to 60 deaths including 24 nursing home residents on a bus that caught fire and exploded. And all too often, the evacuation turns out to be for naught. In September 2004, over half of New Orleans residents evacuated in advance of Hurricane Ivan using the state’s contraflow plan for the first time. (On-ramps work, exit ramps don’t, and there is nowhere to go but out.) But delays were horrific, and many went back home to watch Ivan sputter out. Nonetheless, Ivan exposed a contraflow plan in need of revision, and one year later, preceding Katrina, the state, without any federal assistance, would evacuate 93 percent of Greater New Orleans. It would be cited as the most successful rapid evacuation of a major city in American history. But clearly, not nearly enough attention was paid to those without a car, credit cards, road experience and a network of family and friends outside the city. Analyses show that the elderly are the least likely to evacuate due to reasons ranging from stubbornness to staying to care for a beloved pet. Analyses also show that the primary reason that the Katrina evacuation did not save more lives was due to the failure of levees and floodwalls built by the Army Corps of Engineers . Two days before Katrina’s landfall, Max Mayfield, then-director of the National Hurricane Center personally called Mayor Ray Nagin, telling him that some levees in greater New Orleans could be overtopped. Those who stayed knew they would lose electricity and perhaps get some soggy carpets. But no one predicted the levees themselves would break. After Katrina, many businesses relocated to other cities because evacuations themselves shut down businesses. No one should treat the call to evacuate as something simple or obvious. Experienced evacuation volunteers can all agree that even in the best of circumstances, an evacuation is a living nightmare. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

5 Post-Katrina Innovations New Orleans Can Brag About

The Green Project’s paint-recycling program. | Photo courtesy of Christal White/The Green Project It’s been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall, taking the lives of 1,500 people and destroying countless homes, churches, businesses, and schools. The people of New Orleans have spent a decade rebuilding their city, but not everyone has felt the full impact of the recovery effort. A recent survey revealed a stark racial divide in how residents perceive improvements to infrastructure and their standard of living. But don’t be too discouraged: We found five green innovations that have taken root since the storm and that are improving the lives of citizens across the board. 1. OysterBreak The world is your oyster. At least it is for Tyler Ortego, Matt Campbell, and two professors at Louisiana State University, who invented the OysterBreak system in 2005 and brought coastal protection to life, literally. The system, which is essentially a chain of huge linked concrete cylinders, is made of an oyster-growing substrate that, once installed, is colonized by oyster larvae and eventually grows into a living reef. Because these solid reefs grow faster than sea levels rise, they reduce shoreline erosion. ORA Estuaries, the company that Ortego founded in 2010 to run the building and distribution of the oyster reefs, recently won The Big Idea pitch competition at the 2015 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. As of yet, the oysters can’t be eaten, but Ortego is working on engineering the reefs to double as a sustainable food source. 2. Public Lab New Orleans residents are bringing DIY to environmental protection. Powered by civic engagement, Public Lab is a nonprofit network of locals who are working to make sophisticated environmental monitoring tools accessible to the general public. They cover everything from water quality evaluation to aerial mapping, coming up with innovative ways to make complex monitoring devices out of inexpensive materials. Travis Haas, an environmental science teacher at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and his eleventh grade students recently collaborated with Public Lab to map and assess the progress of wetland restoration. Acting as citizen scientists, the high schoolers launched a helium balloon attached to a camera and used Public Lab’s MapKnitter software to piece together the photographs it collected. 3. The Green Project New Orleans residents say that Hurricane Katrina created 20 years of waste in a single day. True or not, the disaster left the city sitting on over 55 million tons of debris. Enter The Green Project. Founded in 1994 as a paint-recycling business, the New Orleans-based nonprofit stepped up after Katrina, taking materials from destroyed homes and reinvesting them into community rebuilding projects. Ten years later, The Green Project is thriving. The project promotes creative repurposing and prides itself on being accessible to all populations–materials are sold to community members at one-fifth of new retail costs. It also has the only paint-recycling program in the Gulf region and leads regular community recycling education workshops. We agree, it’s pretty much the whole package. 4. Water Wise It wouldn’t be New Orleans without stormwater management. In 2013, Global Green USA launched its Water Wise NOLA program in New Orleans to advocate for simple solutions to water-related issues, such as flooding and substandard water quality. The organization is working to help residents lower their water bills by reducing consumption and promoting rainwater management. And they host regular rain-barrel builds–does it get better than that? 5. Eco-Friendly Transportation Don’t worry; the city government is making an effort to green-ify New Orleans, too. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the city’s public transportation system in 2005, the Regional Transit Authority was tasked with a massive reconstruction project. Although the bus service is still operating at 35% of pre-Katrina levels, the RTA has made progress. Today, the transit network’s entire fleet is run on biodiesel and sixteen of their buses are biodiesel/electric hybrids. The city has also made pedestrian-friendly improvements to its streetlights. Since 2014, over 4,000 of them have been replaced with energy-efficient LED lights as part of the city’s ongoing Energy Smart Streetlight Conversion Program. We’d call that a step toward a brighter future. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

After Hurricane Katrina, Poor Black Women Were Largely Ignored, Study Says

After Hurricane Katrina, Poor Black Women Were Largely Ignored, Study Says

Posted by on Friday, August 28, 2015

Ten years later, some women say they feel like they were better off before the storm.

Protesters block demolition equipment from entering a portion of the B.W. Cooper public housing complex in New Orleans in December 2007. Alex Brandon/AP

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina displaced 40,000 people in New Orleans, opinions about the recovery can be traced along racial lines. A pair of new studies underscores that African American women, particularly those who lived in public housing, faced some of the biggest hurdles after the storm.

Nearly four in five white residents in New Orleans say their state has “mostly recovered,” while nearly three in five African American residents say it has not, according to survey results released Monday by the Louisiana-based Public Policy Research Lab. More than half of all residents, regardless of race, said the government did not listen to them enough during the recovery, but African American women struggled more than any other group to return to their homes in the months and years after the hurricane, PPRL noted.

On Tuesday, a study by the Washington-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that recovery policies in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina largely ignored the needs of African American women who lived in four of the city’s largest public housing complexes. These women were forced to move into more expensive housing, and some had to relocate to areas where they faced racial intimidation.

Read the rest at Mother Jones.

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Where Black Lives Matter Began

Where Black Lives Matter Began

Posted by on Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hurricane Katrina exposed our nation’s amazing tolerance for black pain.

Victims of Hurricane Katrina argue with National Guard Troops as they try to get on buses headed to Houston on Sept. 1, 2005. Willie Allen Jr./St. Petersburg Times/ZUMA

On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, in 2010, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu preached unity. “With the rising water, differences and divisions were washed away,” he said, asking the audience to listen to each other, and embrace their common aspirations. “We will hear and we will learn the beautiful truth that Katrina taught us all,” he declared, “We are all the same.”

With this, Landrieu invoked our national memory of the hurricane—a catastrophe that devastated New Orleans for all of its residents. In his own address on the fifth anniversary, President Obama struck a similar tone, with a message of rebuilding and harmony. “Five years ago we saw men and women risking their own safety to save strangers. We saw nurses staying behind to care for the sick and the injured. We saw families coming home to clean up and rebuild—not just their own homes, but their neighbors’ homes, as well.”

With the 10-year anniversary this week—Katrina’s storm surge breached the levees a decade ago on Saturday—we’ll soon see similar rhetoric from politicians and those seeking to pay respect to the storm’s victims. Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst disasters in American history: It killed more than 1,800 Americans, displaced tens of thousands more, and destroyed huge swaths of New Orleans. While the government couldn’t stop the storm, it could have prepared for the damage. But it didn’t. The days and weeks after Katrina were marked with scandalous mismanagement, as the federal government made history with its incompetence and failure. Thousands of New Orleans residents who weren’t evacuated and couldn’t escape the city were left with inadequate aid and shelter, all but abandoned by officials who couldn’t, or in some cases wouldn’t, help them.

In our current remembrance, Katrina is a synonym for dysfunction and disaster, a prime example of when government fails in the worst way possible. It’s also a symbol of political collapse. George Bush never recovered from its failure, and “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” stands with “Mission Accomplished” as one of the defining lines of the administration and the era.

Read the rest at Slate.

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Will New Orleans Survive the Next Katrina?

Will New Orleans Survive the Next Katrina?

Posted by on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Take a bird’s-eye tour of the $50 billion battle to save Louisiana.

I’m driving down a dirt road in the vast tangle of coastal bayous that stretch south of New Orleans, so that Reggie Dupre can show me his pride and joy.

“This is the little silver lining on the very dark cloud that was over Louisiana,” he says.

In front of us, construction crews are shaping mounds of rock and dirt into a mile-long, 12-foot levy. On one side is a canal, crammed with boat traffic for the offshore oil drilling industry. On the other side is Terrabonne Parish, a rural community of commercial shrimp fishermen and oil roughnecks who rely on these waterways the same way a city kid like me relies on the subway. The levy dead-ends into a shiny new $25 million floodgate, the last line of defense against storm surges that accompany the hurricanes that frequently slam this coastline.

Dupre is the director of the Terrabonne Levy and Conservation District, a county agency tasked with keeping the homes here above water. A decade ago—when Hurricane Katrina forced 1.5 million evacuations, killed nearly 2,000 people, and caused $100 billion in damage—Dupre was the parish’s representative in the Louisiana legislature in Baton Rouge. After the storm, he became a key architect of the state’s overhauled flood-control agenda, pushing through legislation to create a new state agency to manage coastal issues and working to steer tax revenue from oil drilling into coastal protection projects. Now he’s back home, overseeing projects like the one in front of us. Since Katrina, his office has built 35 miles of new levees.

But the levees are just a small piece of the unprecedented transformation taking place along Louisiana’s coast. Dupre is also an evangelist for a new, broader ethos that has washed over the whole state since Katrina. Experts here agree that levees and floodwalls like this are only effective if they’re buttressed by natural barriers further out in the delta: The barrier islands and marshlands that are rapidly disappearing thanks to erosion, land subsidence, and sea level rise. Because of those forces—driven in part by a century-old practice of sealing the Mississippi River in its course and thereby starving the adjacent wetlands of nutrients and fresh water—Louisiana loses coastal land area equal to the size of a football field every hour.

Before the storm, hurricane protection and coastal restoration were treated as separate, or ever competing, interests. Now, they’re one and the same.

“Without Katrina, this wouldn’t be happening,” Dupre says. “We’ve gone from being the laughingstock to the model for the rest of the country.”

In 2012, officials in the state’s new Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority—Dupre’s brainchild—released their most recent 50-year, $50 billion “master plan,” a sweeping document that encompasses everything from wetland restoration to elevating at-risk houses. Already, according to CPRA chair Chip Kline, the state has reconstructed 45 miles of barrier islands and restored nearly 30,000 acres of wetlands. These natural barriers slow storm surge before it reaches the levees, the first in what are known here as “multiple lines of defense.”

There are also 250 miles of new levees, a two-mile storm surge barrier wall, the world’s largest pumping station (it can drain an Olympic-sized swimming pool in less than five seconds), and a host of other projects designed to control floods and stymie land loss. Kline says he’s confident that New Orleans is now safe from at least a 100-year flood (that is, a flood so severe that it has only has a 1-in-100 chance of occurring in any given year). Katrina was a 150-year flood in New Orleans. But given the realities of climate change, most experts think the city won’t be truly secure until it reaches the 500-year level.

President Barack Obama agrees: Earlier this year he signed an executive order stipulating that any flood protection measures supported by federal money must meet a 500-year standard. Louisianans like Kline and Dupre contend that that standard is unreasonable and could hamper vital projects that are too expensive for the state to roll out on its own.

Either way, the Louisiana coast is now a massive laboratory for the kinds of measures that coastal cities like New York and Miami will need to survive climate change. For Dupre, the stakes are clear: “If I’m not successful, my whole culture disappears.”

There’s no better way to see the coast’s plight, and the scramble to save it, than from a bird’s-eye view. So Climate Desk hopped aboard a pontoon plane for an exclusive flyover. Check out the video above.

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