Category Archives: Red Cross

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The old theme was starting to look outdated and causing too many technical issues.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

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…

Louisiana Emergency and Homeland Security Preparedness Contact Numbers

As hurricane-to-be Isaac bears down on Louisiana, some citizens may have the need for emergency information. This is a parish-by-parish list of emergency contact numbers [Source: Louisiana State Police]

Acadia Lee Hebert (337) 783-4357 (337) 788-8852 Email: lheb...@appj.org

Allen John Richer (337) 300-9032 (337) 639-4326 Email: elto...@centurytel.net

Ascension Rick Webre (225) 621-8360(225) 621-8362 Email: rwe...@apgov.us

Assumption John Boudreaux (985) 369-7351 (985) 369-7341 Email:john...@assumptionoep.com

Avoyelles Anzell Jones (318) 240-9160 (318) 240-9162 Email:aoh...@kricket.net

Beauregard Glen Mears (337)460-5442 (337)460-5460 Email: glen...@centurytel.net

Bienville Rodney Warren (318)263-2019 (318)263-7404 Email: rwar...@bienvilleparish.org

Caddo/Bossier Sandy Davis (318) 425-5351 (318) 425-5940 Email:sda...@cbohsep.org

Calcasieu Richard “Dick” Gremillion (337) 721-3800 (337) 437-3583 Email:ohs...@cppj.net

Caldwell Dale Powell (318) 649-3764 (318) 649-3765 Email: cald...@bellsouth.net

Cameron Eddie Benoit (337) 775-7048 (337) 775-7043 Email:came...@camtel.net

Catahoula Ellis Boothe (318) 744-5697 (318) 744-5697 Email:cata...@att.net

Claiborne Dennis Butcher (318) 927-3575 (318) 927-2115 Email: ooep...@bellsouth.net

Concordia Morris White (318) 757-8248 (318) 757-7200 Email: con...@bellsouth.net

DeSoto Alan Bounds (318) 872-3956 (318) 872-2304 Email: deso...@bellsouth.net

East Baton Rouge JoAnne Moreau (225) 389-2100 (225) 389-2114 Email: jmor...@brgov.com

East Carroll LeeKeitha M. Reed (318) 559-2256 (318) 559-1502 Email: ecpj...@bayou.com

East Feliciana Bud Weigand (225) 683-1014
(225) 244-5881 (225) 683-1478 Email:efoe...@bellsouth.net

Evangeline Liz Hill (337) 363-3267 (337) 363-3308 Email: vang...@centurytel.net

Franklin Mitch Reynolds (318) 435-6247 (318) 435-6258
Email: mitc...@franklinparish.org

Grant Robert Meeker (318) 627-3041 (318) 627-5927 Email: jans...@aol.com

Iberia Prescott Marshall (337) 369-4427 (337) 369-9956 Email: pmar...@iberiagov.net

Iberville Laurie Doiron (225) 687-5140 (225) 687-5146 Email: ldoi...@ibervilleparish.com

Jackson Paul Walsworth (318) 259-2361 ext 204 (318) 259-5660 Email: pwal...@jacksonparishpolicejury.org

Jefferson David Dysart (504) 349-5360 (504) 227-1315 Email:ddys...@jeffparish.net

Jefferson Davis Ivy Woods (337) 824-3850 (337) 821-2105 Email: sher...@jeffdavis.net

Lafayette William Vincent (337 291-5075 (337) 291-5080 Email: e...@lafayettela.gov

Lafourche Chris Boudreaux (985) 532-8174 (985) 532-8292 Email: chr...@lafourchegov.org

LaSalle Scott Franklin (318)992-2151 (318)992-8919 Email: sfra...@lasalleso.com

Lincoln Kip Franklin (318) 513-6202 (318) 874-3910 Email: kfra...@lincolnparish.org

Livingston Mark Harrell (225) 686-3066 (225) 686-7280 Email: lohs...@lpgov.com

Madison Earl Pinkney (318) 574-6911 (318) 874-3910
Email: earl...@yahoo.com

Morehouse James Mardis (318) 871-3907 (318) 281-4141 (318) 281-1773
Email: jmar...@mpso.net

Natchitoches Victor Jones (318) 357-7802 (318) 357-2208 Email: jper...@npsheriff.net

Orleans Jerry Sneed (504) 658-8700 (504) 658-8701 Email: NOO...@nola.gov

Ouachita Tracy Hilburn (318) 322-2641 (318) 322-7356 Email: thil...@ohsep.net

Plaquemines Guy Lagist (504) 274-2476 (225) 297-5635 Email: g...@plaqueminesparish.com

Pointe Coupee Donald Ewing (225) 694-3737 (225) 694-5408 Email: daew...@pcpso.org

Rapides Sonya Wiley (318) 445-0396 (318) 445-5605 Email: swi...@rapides911.org
Email: rapi...@suddenlinkmail.com

Red River Russell Adams (318) 932-5981 (318) 932-5802 Email: ra1...@netzero.net

Richland Dawn Blackshear (318) 728-0453 (318) 728-5888 Email: rppj...@inetsouth.com

Sabine David Davis (318) 256-2675 (318) 256-9652 Email: spo...@suddenlinkmail.com

St. Bernard John Rahaim (504) 278-4268 (504) 278-4493 Email: jrah...@sbpg.net

St. Charles Scott Whelchel (985) 783-5050 (985) 783-6375 Email: swhe...@scpeoc.org Dispatch (24 hr) Email: comm...@scpeoc.org

St. Helena Jessica Strickland (225) 222-3544 (225) 222-3696 Email: shoh...@hotmail.com St. James Eric Deroche (225) 562-2364 (225) 562-2269 Email: eric...@stjamesla.com

St. John the Baptist Jobe Boucvalt (985) 652-2222 (985) 652-2183 Email: j.bo...@sjbparish.com

St. Landry Lisa Vidrine (337) 948-7177 (337) 948-9139 Email: stla...@att.net

St. Martin Terry Guidry (337)394-3071 (337) 394-5705 Email: ohs...@stmartinsheriff.org

St. Mary Duval H. Arthur, Jr. (337) 828-4100 ext 135 (337) 828-4092 Email: dart...@stmaryparishla.gov

St. Tammany Dexter Accardo (985) 898-2359 (985) 898-3030 Email: dacc...@stpgov.org

Tangipahoa Dawson Primes (985) 748-3211 (985) 748-7050 Email: daws...@tangipahoa.org

Tensas William ‘Rick” Foster (318) 766-3992 (318) 766-4391 Email: tpo...@bellsouth.net

Terrebonne Earl Eues (985) 873-6357 (985) 850-4643 Email: eeu...@tpcg.org

Union Brian Halley (318) 368-3124 (318) 368-2728 Email: hall...@aol.com

Vermilion Rebecca Broussard (337) 898-4308 (337) 898-4309 Email: vpo...@cox-internet.com

Vernon Howard Hudgens (337) 238-0815 (337) 238-9025 Email: jhud...@vpso.org

Washington Tommy Thiebaud (985) 839-0434 (985) 839-0435 Email: tthi...@wpgov.org

Webster John Stanley (318) 846-2454 (318) 846-2446 Email: webs...@wildblue.net

West Baton Rouge Deano Moran (225) 346-1577 (225) 346-0284 Email: dean...@wbrcouncil.org

West Carroll Peggy Robinson (318) 428-8020 (318) 428-8025 Email: wcp...@bellsouth.net

West Feliciana Chief Tommy Boyett (225) 635-6428 (225) 635-6996 Email: tboy...@wfpso.org

Winn Harry Foster (318) 628-1160 (318) 727-3112 Email: winn...@winnparish.org

New Predictions: Busy Hurricane Season


This year’s Atlantic hurricane season got off to a busy start, with 6 named storms to date, and may have a busy second half, according to the updated hurricane season outlook issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The updated outlook still indicates a 50 percent chance of a near-normal season, but increases the chance of an above-normal season to 35 percent and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent from the initial outlook issued in May.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the season – June 1 to November 30 – NOAA’s updated seasonal outlook projects a total (which includes the activity-to-date of tropical storms Alberto, Beryl, Debbie, Florence and hurricanes Chris and Ernesto) of:
•12 to 17 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
•5 to 8 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
•2 to 3 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

The numbers are higher from the initial outlook in May, which called for 9-15 named storms, 4-8 hurricanes and 1-3 major hurricanes. Based on a 30-year average, a normal Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

“We are increasing the likelihood of an above-normal season because storm-conducive wind patterns and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures are now in place in the Atlantic,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. “These conditions are linked to the ongoing high activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995. Also, strong early-season activity is generally indicative of a more active season.”

However, NOAA seasonal climate forecasters also announced that El Niño will likely develop in August or September.

“El Niño is a competing factor, because it strengthens the vertical wind shear over the Atlantic, which suppresses storm development. However, we don’t expect El Niño’s influence until later in the season,” Bell said.

“We have a long way to go until the end of the season, and we shouldn’t let our guard down,” said Laura Furgione, acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Hurricanes often bring dangerous inland flooding as we saw a year ago in the Northeast with Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Even people who live hundreds of miles from the coast need to remain vigilant through the remainder of the season.”

“It is never too early to prepare for a hurricane,” said Tim Manning, FEMA’s deputy administrator for protection and national preparedness. “We are in the middle of hurricane season and now is the time to get ready. There are easy steps you can take to get yourself and your family prepared. Visit www.ready.gov to learn more.”

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.

Are Seniors At Risk In Hurricane Season?

Are seniors at risk in hurricane season?.

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.

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.

Good Morning America Looking For Katrina Hero

Where y’at, Larry? The morning show on ABC has an APB out for a young man named Larry Thomas, who they say rescued people and saved lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, after the levees broke. According to Good Morning America, he even delivered a baby on a bridge. Check him out in this clip (courtesy Ochsner Medical Center “Team Katrina” DVD):

If you know Larry or have information about him, CLICK HERE to tell “GMA.”

Ida Thought You Were Leaving

As Hurricane Ida reminds us, where we choose to work, pray, play and to call home can be a perilous area, even in November.

Along the awe-inspiring coast of the Gulf of Mexico, millions of Americans enjoy pleasures like coastal breezes, outstanding food, fishing, boating, and many other unique amenities of life.

But (the word that’s always in the back of our minds), no matter where you choose to live, there always will loom the possibility of disaster albiet catastrophe.

The unexpected fire, unprecedented blizzard, unparalelled earthquake, or the monumental flood just hasn’t happened yet.

Emergency experts say the key to survival is preparation. And, as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and others before have taught us, prayer, vigilance, preserverance, and resilency are just as important. Some folks have it, and some don’t.

I’m not knocking those waiting for the next disaster so that they can give up on the place they were born, or who no longer want to call the Gulf Coast home. But (the word again), for some of us – NO, we’re not leaving – at least not until the next mandatory evacuation followed by the predicted doomsday scenario, when the forces of nature force us out.

Water Still Troubled

Just a reminder that the Academy Award-nominated, Sundance Film Festival Best Documentary “Trouble The Water” was released on DVD a few weeks ago, on August 25.

This remarkable piece of work is unlike any other Katrina-themed documentary ever made, and is raw, inspiring, surrealistic, and subtly sensational, but that’s only a part of what makes it one of the best documentaries of any kind produced in recent memory. It’s so good, I watched it twice already.

Anyone connected through Hurricanes Katrina and Rita should make it a point to see this movie, if you haven’t already (apologies to Kim, Scott, Tia, Carl and even Brian for taking so long to spread the word). Register and leave your opinions below.

The DVD is on sale at most major disc outlets. It’s also available for rent or sale from New Orleans DVD at its DVD machines in Laplace and Harvey, LA. Watch the trailer here:

Obama, Where Art Thou?

Even though the President didn’t make it to the Gulf Coast for Katrina’s anniversary this year, we all know he deserves a vacation. And even during vacation, he sent a message. Watch it here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/32607347#32607347

Galveston Greed

Certain guests at Daniel Yeh’s hotel in Galveston after Hurricane Katrina had rooms paid for by FEMA, and Yeh probably thought he’d latched onto an easy way to guaranteed guests and payments. Problem was, the guests weren’t really guests or Katrina evacuees, or the rooms were unoccupied, or were even occupied with paying guests.

Flagship Hotel in Galveston Texas

Yeh, 55, of Sugarland, Texas, an owner of the Flagship Hotel (a Galveston landmark which sits on piers over Gulf of Mexico waters and suffered damages from Hurricane Ike) was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $30,000 in fines on September 26 because of his scheme.

Yeh has already repaid about $232,000 to the government in restitution, not long after search warrants were served on him in December, 2005. He had faced a maximum of five years in prison without parole and fines of up to $250,000. His sentencing originally had been set for Feb. 1, 2008.

His attorneys had filed a defense motion for a lower sentence because of a claim that diminished mental capacity due to a brain tumor caused him to hatch the scheme. The federal judge rightfully called the medical testimony comparable to “Alice in Wonderland”.

A 39-count 2006 indictment alleged that between October 1, 2005, and December 15, 2005, Yeh knowingly devised a scheme to defraud the federal disaster relief programs of at least $232,000.

In October 2005, Yeh gave a desk clerk about 30 names to put into the hotel’s reservation system at the “FEMA rate” of $84.99 a night. He then picked up the room cards for the rooms and started billing FEMA. An investigation found a number of those people were Yeh’s employees, relatives and friends and were not hurricane evacuees

Yeh pled guilty in 2007 and admitted he submitted a false claim to FEMA for Room 701 at the Flagship from Oct. 28 through Nov. 11, 2005. Based on that claim, FEMA paid the hotel $1,189.

The investigation started when agents got a tip saying the hotel records showed it as full when, in fact, a significant number of rooms were unoccupied. Federal agents say they interviewed a man whose name was listed on Yeh’s claims as the guest, but the man (a contractor who submitted bids in 2004 and 2005 for remodeling jobs at the Flagship and another hotel Yeh is associated with) said he didn’t have a room at the Flagship then.

As part of the alleged scheme, Yeh took over the job of billing the federal lodging programs online after Hurricane Rita, filing false claims for reimbursement for rooms in the names of hotel employees who had stayed at the Flagship free as part of their employment arrangement; rooms in the name of supposed hurricane evacuees on dates when the rooms were occupied by paying hotel guests with different names; rooms occupied by friends, relatives, and employees of his wife’s business, who were recruited to stay at the hotel, but were not evacuees; rooms in the names of supposed hurricane evacuees who never had rooms; rooms in the name of supposed hurricane evacuees on dates when those rooms were unoccupied; and for multiple rooms in the names of a single guest when, in fact, the guest didn’t occupy as many rooms.

Yeh has been free on bond and a date hasn’t yet been set for him to report to prison.

You have to wonder how many other hotels took advantage of the system back then. And that corruption is shamefully greater than that done by any Katrina evacuee or undeserving individual.

Anyone suspecting criminal activity involving disaster assistance programs can make an anonymous report by calling the toll-free Hurricane Relief Fraud Hotline, 1-866-720-5721 or 1-800-CALL-FBI, 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.

Information can also be emailed to the inspector general at dhso...@dhs.gov or sent by snail mail, with as many details as possible, to:
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC. 20528
Attn: Office of Inspector General, Hotline