Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
Sandy's wrath stirs painful Katrina memories
Sunday - 11/11/2012, 2:42pm EST
By STACEY PLAISANCE
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The chaos wrought by Superstorm Sandy, the homes tossed from foundations and landmarks buried beneath seawater, delivered a gut-wrenching dose of deja vu for survivors of Hurricane Katrina like Joe and Gloria Robert.
Their own home flooded beneath 7 feet of salty water when the levees broke after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005, and they know all too well what their countrymen to the north will face: years of debris removal, cleanup, rebuilding, haggling with insurance companies, paying mortgages on homes left unlivable. And they knew they had to help.
"When you watch things like this, you relive all the memories, all the heartache," said Joe Robert, his voice cracking with emotion. He said the images of Sandy victims rummaging through what could be salvaged of their toppled and flood-ravaged homes were painful reminders of his own loss. "I don't have any pictures of my daughter when she was little."
Seven years after Katrina destroyed neighborhoods, killed more than 1,800 people and caused some $108 billion in damage, many of the people caught in its crosshairs are reaching into their wallets and cupboards to try to bring relief to the Atlantic Coast.
Church groups, nonprofits, City Hall and individuals in New Orleans and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast have begun sending care packages, donating money and staging volunteers for the clean-up and recovery efforts.
Robert is working with the Episcopal organization that helped him rebuild his home, St. Paul's Homecoming Center, which was established after Katrina to help residents as they returned to the city to rebuild. The center has expanded its mission to include victims of not just Hurricane Isaac, which struck Louisiana in August, but also East Coast victims of Sandy.
The group has launched an "Adopt-a-Family" program where donations can be made to families in either region to help them as the holiday season approaches. The organization is also coordinating volunteer efforts along the East Coast. They are collecting donations and helping to ferry volunteers from the Gulf Coast to devastated neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey.
"I hurt for them because they don't know what they're in for with recovery," said Connie Uddo, executive director of the Homecoming Center whose New Orleans home flooded in 2005. "The event is one thing, but the recovery is another. It's long, and it's hard."
In New Orleans, the recovery is far from over more than seven years later. Many homes still bear the water lines and spray-painted marks left by rescuers searching for survivors. Some residents have run out of money, given up after years of battling contractor fraud and insurance companies.
Even if the recovery goes smoother on the Atlantic Coast than it did in New Orleans, it will take years.
"First you have to get over the emotional loss," Robert said. "If I could give any advice, it's not to be anxious. Looking back, the mistakes we made were because we rushed some things because we were anxious and emotional and trying to get back in our home quicker."
Robert said he rushed to hire a contractor because he was in a hurry to rebuild, but he ultimately lost time and money when the contractor didn't see the project through to completion.
Taking a lead in organizing relief efforts for victims of Sandy are New Orleans musicians, many of whom have ties to the entertainment industry in New York. It's a place that many travel to for gigs, and they feel an affinity for the city that never sleeps.
A "NOLA Pay It Forward" benefit concert of New Orleans musicians is being organized by Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Proceeds from the Nov. 20 event will go to nonprofits supporting Sandy relief efforts.
Ivan Neville and others donated proceeds from a recent New York concert to benefit Sandy victims while big band singer Johnny Angel _ a Staten Island native who has lived in New Orleans since the 1990s _ is taking a U-Haul truck of donated bleach, mops, rakes, buckets and cleaning supplies from New Orleans to New York.
"Before we can rebuild, we have to clean up," said Jeannie Tralongo, who lives in the hard-hit New York borough of Staten Island and is working with Angel to help coordinate the delivery. `We're overwhelmed."
Tralongo said she's one of the lucky ones. Her Staten Island home was spared of the tidal surge and flooding that decimated the homes of nearby friends and neighbors.
"I'm trying to do what I can, but there's still no power. People are cold and in the dark," she said.