Hurricane Katrina changed New Orleans for the better

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8 years ago today, Katrina had come and gone and things looked pretty good in our city.  We dodged the bullet or so we thought.

I was in the city 8 years ago today doing radio reports from the CBD. Sure, the city took a hit, but considering what this storm was packing, it could have been much worse. A little bit of flooding from rain and a little bit of wind damage, but the city intact.

While reporting hours after the storm that our city appeared to be ok, little did I know that many parts of our city were filling up with water. Flood walls and levee breeches. Poor, shoddy, design and construction was to blame. What Mother Nature couldn’t do, man did.

But 8 years later, it’s not all bad. I hurt for the 1,500 or so that died, most were over 70, and all people that lost and suffered. But I also know our city is so much better off because of the storm. A complacent population finally said, ‘enough is enough.’

We changed the political culture. We changed how government operated. We have a viable Inspector General and an accomplished U.S. Attorney’s Office. We’ve got a new school system that works for a change. We’ve seen infrastructure projects, long neglected, finally completed. And we’ve seen an influx of new companies and new people, meaning new ideas and a promising future. Young college grads have always come for Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras, but now are staying for a new tech job or another startup idea that our city is cultivating.

It’s a new New Orleans with more to come, like our city’s tricentennial in 2018.

Some focus on the loss from Katrina. I like to focus on what we’ve gained. 8 years after Katrina the city has changed. For the better.