Category Archives: housing

How A Hurricane Started Stand Your Ground Laws

Stand Your Ground laws started because of a hurricane. Or actually because of what happened after a hurricane. You see, after a hurricane, human emotions, rationale, or analytic skills don’t always gel. Confusion, miscommunication, and lack of basic needs can sometimes cause an environment of anxiety, fear, and apprehension for even veteran hurricane survivors and can blur a clear comprehension of complex situations.

After any hurricane, scores of recovery workers arrive, but also looters and itinerants, who sometimes take shelter in damaged houses.

What happened after one hurricane started a movement to enact stand your ground laws. What happened after this hurricane was that 77 year-old James Workman and his wife Kathryn encountered a perhaps disoriented, 35 year-old temporary FEMA contract worker from North Carolina named Rodney Cox, who had wandered onto their waterfront property in Pensacola, Florida. It was about 2AM on November 3, 2004.

Hurricane Ivan had damaged the couple’s house so they left for a few weeks, and had just returned, sleeping inside a FEMA trailer in their driveway.

waterfront home of James & Kathryn Workman in Pensacola Fla. (photo credit: Google Maps/referenced at Escanbia County Assessor's Office)

Workman house, Pensacola, Fla

Kathryn awoke to the sound of a stranger at the door of their vacant home, and woke James up. In a news interview, Mr. Workman said they hollered through a window at the stranger, then James went outside to confront him. During the confrontation, Workman reportedly fired a warning shot. He said Cox appeared to leave, but instead headed for their trailer as Kathryn was inside calling 911.

A few hours before he made it about the mile and a half to the Workmans’ place, Rodney Cox had called police, reporting some type of “domestic” incident on private property he had settled into, after arriving that day. An autopsy later discovered Cox had a skull fracture, and it’s unclear if he had been injured at that time, which could possibly have caused him to appear disoriented to the Workmans.

“After I saw him enter that trailer, then I naturally went in there behind him. And so he was between Kathy and me. And we got into a scuffle, and I could tell it wasn’t going to be easy. And so I just had to shoot him”, Workman is quoted as saying.

During the scuffle, Cox had wrapped Workman in a bear hug. In fear for his safety, Workman pulled the trigger of his .38 caliber on the father of two, setting off a firestorm of controversy.

photo: Rodney Cox of North Carolina

Rodney Cox

The FEMA contractor was dead on arrival. A shot to Cox’s abdomen traveled through his left kidney and intestine, lodging in his pelvis; another shot went through an artery and lodged in his right thigh. Workman said he fired in self-defense.

But to the police and the state attorney, the circumstances were unclear. It took almost three months for the state to decide whether Workman would face charges. In the end, he didn’t. Yet, the waiting period was unacceptable to some Florida lawmakers.

Just weeks after that decision, Dennis Baxley & Durell Peaden co-sponsored the Stand Your Ground bill in the Florida House of Representatives.

By the time Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast months later, with evacuees from other Gulf Coast states rolling in, Florida was all set to handle anyone who had thoughts of looting or breaking the law on other people’s property.

The Workmans reportedly were keeping up with their case status through the media, and were never called to testify in the legislature considering the stand your ground law, which was signed into effect about a month after Katrina, on October 1, 2005 by then-Governor Jeb Bush.

It initiated a wave of legislation in other states, spearheaded by the National Rifle Association (NRA), relieving the duty to retreat inherent in the Castle Doctrine. And stand your ground laws were born.

TAKE A QUICK 2-MINUTE SURVEY: “How do you feel about Stand Your Ground laws”

New Orleans Levee Break In Progress

New Orleans Floodwall Breach After KatrinaThis is what happens, and what can be created with no experience, time on your hands, and don’t want your mind to be a devil’s workshop. Some folks like to put themselves out there. I’d rather put out a creation that speaks for itself as I work from behind the levee.

For those who don’t know, almost six years ago, I started this website, intended to show the struggles, strength, determination, & resiliency of people affected by Gulf Coast hurricanes. But soon, the site was lonely. I decided to start building a network. So this blog was born.

Just like any aging old institution (me), I looked and saw this network needed to be remodeled, renovated, renewed, resuscitated, rejuvenated, and rebuilt.

The old theme was starting to look outdated and causing too many technical issues. With a fresh, bold new look and a brand new name – The Levee Break - the new KC blog is in progress, using the latest in themes and technology, aiming to be more relevant, contemporary, and socially engaging. So I made this blog better.

Some websites and blogs don’t last 5 years. A website is never really “finished”. It’s in progress. The tweaking is all to make it better. I’ve put countless (and sleepless) hours & hundreds of my own dollars since 2007 keeping this thing online, I expect (nor receive) nothing in return, I publish this site simply because of an inner passion – a love for helping others that embodied me after August 28, 2005. I’m not about to give up on it now. I’ll be doing more posting (took me two weeks to write this one) and looking for your comments. So we can make this blog mo’ better.

I need your support to polish it; to find the niche to make this a relevant resource for storm & storm survivor information, networking, and post-Hurricane Katrina news anywhere. If you didn’t already, register for this blog now, so we can start some meaningful conversations. Let’s talk about issues like flooding, FEMA, housing, blight, crime, schools, employment, or whatever’s on your mind – go ahead & vent. This is a good place for it. It’s about more than just a hurricane. Together, we can make this blog one of the best!

Wayne Filmore, Publisher/Editor

KatrinaConnection.com, Inc

Coastal Areas Threatened By Flood Insurance Cost

Next year, flood insurance rates are set to go through the roof for many local homeowners. Some will have to pay more than $25,000 a year. A Senate sub-committee chaired by Sen. Mary Landrieu voted to delay the rate increases for homes that are “grandfathered” into existing flood insurance.

New Orleans Streamlines Permit, License Process

New Orleans One Stop Shop
The city of New Orleans is catching up with technology since Hurricane Katrina, and is now offering residents and businesses a single source to apply for city permits or licenses to build or repair a house, start a business, renew a business license, host or sell at a special event, pay taxes, read ordinances or publications concerning permits, and more.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, “When we took office, we said that we wanted to modernize and improve city government. The One Stop Shop is evidence of our commitment to streamline the permitting process”.

Along with a new online presence www.nola.gov/onestop, a new physical location on the seventh floor of City Hall (Room 7W03) brings together the Revenue Department, Safety & Permits, City Planning Commission, Historic District Landmarks Commission, and Vieux Carré Commission.

First Deputy Mayor and CAO Andy Kopplin said, “With collaboration and agency alignment we will be able to provide better service to our customers and offer a comprehensive system that will be model for other cities.”

The One Stop Shop at City Hall will be open during regular business hours Monday-Friday from 8-5pm. For more information call (504) 658 -7100.

Survey: Many East Coast Residents May Not Evacuate For Hurricane Sandy

Unless time or experience has changed the perceptions of East Coast residents over the course of the past four years, a 2008 study (less than three years after Hurricane Katrina) commissioned by Allstate Insurance Company found cause for evacuation concerns.

Hurricane Evacuation Survey.

Hurricane Survival Tips From Katrina Survivors

satellite image of Hurricane Sandy

As Sandy descends, tips from Katrina survivors – CNN.com.

Hurricane veterans know when a bad one’s coming…

New Orleans Homeless Hole Up In Abandoned Buildings

Since so many have been pushed from their sleeping posts under bridges and overpasses, New Orleans’ homeless seek out blighted and abandoned buildings.

New Orleans Homeless Hole Up In Hurricane Katrina’s Abandoned Buildings.

Follow KatrinaConnection on twitter and facebook!


Please be sure to follow KatrinaConnection.com on twitter@stormconnection and ‘LIKE” me on facebook facebook.com/katrinaconnection

Are Seniors At Risk In Hurricane Season?

Are seniors at risk in hurricane season?.

Britney Spears Helps Out

Our Louisiana homegirl helped out the St Bernard Project with a fundraiser on the coast last week. The event reportedly raised $200,000. Check out the ap raw video here:

Britney Spears Hosts Katrina Fundraiser

Census Statistics Show Rebuilding Struggles

Census Data Reveals Struggles To Rebuild – New Orleans News Story – WDSU New Orleans.

The American Housing Survey surveyed 60,000 people on housing conditions, repair costs and their rebuilding experience following Hurricane Katrina.

Judge: Barge did not cause Katrina flooding

Judge: Barge did not cause Katrina flooding.

A federal judge has ruled that the infamous barge that washed ashore atop several houses during the Katrins levee breaks was not the culprit and did not cause the floodwall break in the 9th ward.

As 2011 approaches, tourism rebounds in 2010

As 2011 approaches, tourism rebounds in 2010.

New Orleans – As the city welcomes thousands of visitors for New Year’s Eve as well as the Sugar Bowl, the tourism industry has something else to celebrate. 2010 has served up the best tourism business the city as seen since Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina:The Rebirth – 5 Year Commemoration

Events in and around New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have been happening all this past week and weekend. Here’s some great video we shot at the Katrina 5th anniversary second-line commemoration march at St Bernard & Claiborne Aves in New Orleans, and we posted some Houston anniversary second-line video, too. (If you’ve got photos, events, or info you want to share, feel free to register and post):

General Honore’ To Speak At Civil Rights Awards Banquet

General Russell Honore'

Gen. Russell Honore'

Retired Lt. General Russel Honore’ will deliver the keynote address at the Justice Revius O. Ortique, Jr., Civil Rights Awards Banquet presented by the Louisiana Justice Institute (LJI) this Thursday, August 26, 2010, at 7pm in the University Ballroom at Xavier University.

“We are grateful that Gen. Honore’ join us to honor Civil Rights Leaders who have stood on the frontlines in the fight for social justice, and they are devoted to the protection of civil rights, said Tracie Washington, Co-Director of the LJI. “It is especially appropriate that Gen. Honore’ will be our speaker on the historic fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina,” Washington added.

2010 award nominees are: U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), Oleta Fitzgerald (Director, Southern Regional Office-Children’s Defense Fund), Shirley Sherrod (former U.S. Dept. Of Agriculture official), Alden McDonald (Pres. & CEO-Liberty Bank and Trust Co.), Bishop Charles Jenkins (Ret., Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana), Rev. Tyronne Edwards (Zion Travelers Cooperative Center-Phoenix, Louisiana), Mary Joseph (Director, Children’s Defense Fund Louisiana Office), Atty. Bill Quigley (Center for Constitutional Rights), Jerome Smith (Treme’ Community Center), & Don Hubbard (civic and business leader), and The Katrina Citizens Leadership Corps.

General Honore’, commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, is credited with restoring order in the chaotic wake of Hurricane Katrina, and for coordinating military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina-affected areas across the entire Gulf Coast before launching the region’s recovery from the epic disaster that followed Katrina.

A native of Pointe Coupee Parish, General Honore’ is a graduate of Southern University and earned a Master of Arts degree from Troy State University. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Southern University. He retired from 34 years of military service after serving with distinction in a variety of command positions in South Korea, Germany and Washington, DC, and currently resides in southeast Louisiana.

General Honore’ is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “Survival: How Being Prepared Can Keep You and Your Family Safe”.
Tickets and sponsorships are still available for event online at: www.louisianajusticeinstitute.org or by calling (504) 872-9134.

The Louisiana Justice Institute (LJI) is a nonprofit, civil rights legal advocacy organization, devoted to fostering social justice campaigns across Louisiana for communities of color and for impoverished communities.