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Hurricane Katrina Legal Roundup
A by-no-means-exhaustive recap of recent Katrina-related legal activity
News Story  August 24, 2007, by Cheryl Smith
"...Two years after possibly the worst natural disaster this country has ever faced, the extent of its litigation fallout is still open-ended. Hurricane Katrina hit land in New Orleans on Aug..."

Hurricane Housing Censorship News
Housing Authority of New Orleans asks attorney helping Katrina-evacuee tenants to stop talking to media about contentous government plan to demolish public housing deemed too damaged by Katrina to fix
DAILY News  February 2, 2007, by Cheryl Smith
"...The Housing Authority of New Orleans recently sent a letter to nervy New Orleans attorney Bill Quigley requesting that he stop sharing with the equally nervy media his opinions about the plan of the housing authority, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to demolish public-housing complexes the government has deemed too damaged by Hurricane Katrina to fix..."

Senate Approves More Benefits for Hurricane Evacuees
Thirteen-week unemployment aid extension for both Katrina and Rita evacuees just in time
News Story  March 3, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...The Senate voted Friday to extend by 13 weeks the amount of time evacuees of both hurricanes Katrina and Rita can receive federal unemployment benefits. About 90,000 Katrina evacuees from the state of Louisiana alone will receive extended benefits, said Louisiana Department of Labor Press Secretary Ed Pratt, about 19,500 of whom currently have Texas addresses..."

Standing in a Hurricane
Just a little late for the Katrina anniversary, Gustav barrels in toward New Orleans, and Austin girds for relief efforts.
DAILY News  August 31, 2008, by Kate X Messer
"...It's a cruel irony to be commemorating the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with preparations for what may be as devastating a storm to the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Gustav. We're watching closely; our own guests, originally slated to visit Central Texas this weekend for fun and frolic, have officially been upgraded to evacuees...."

Katrina Past, Katrina Present, Katrina's Future
UN scientists warn that Katrina-style weather disasters will become more common. Is Texas (or anyone) ready for more storms or the refugees that come with them?
DAILY News  February 2, 2007, by Richard Whittaker
"...Regular pedestrians and bus passengers around town have probably seen the rambling, incoherent, and unnerving handwritten “signs” taped to bus shelters, seats, and signs telling the half a million refugees from Hurricane Katrina that there’s some new housing opened in New Orleans. So go home..."

Katrina Survivors Reflect 10 Years Later
Jamar Jefferson and Donna Bonner are just two of many who relocated to Austin
News Story  August 27, 2015, by Kahron Spearman
"...As we approach the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it's hard to remember how much 2005 was dominated by the events immediately surrounding the storm's landfall. Decisions were made, some of which New Orleanians never truly believed they'd have to consider – similar to some of those made during the Austin area's recent Memorial Day weekend flooding..."

Katrina Evacuees Falling Through Housing Cracks
Federal and city aid maze difficult to navigate
News Story  November 4, 2005, by Cheryl Smith
"...They may not be living on the streets, but the thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees in temporary housing setups throughout the U.S. are essentially homeless, living month to month and hand to mouth in hotels, apartments, and other locales they can hardly call home..."

Katrina Evacuees: Precarious Times at La Quinta
FEMA's new Dec. 1 cutoff deadline for picking up the tab of hurricane evacuees living in Texas hotels and motels leaves thousands of people in housing limbo
News Story  November 25, 2005, by Cheryl Smith
"...11th start trudging into the breakfast room for complimentary chow around 6am on weekdays, 7am at the earliest on Saturdays and Sundays. Among those trickling in last Saturday was 14-year-old Jaren Diaz, one of several Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans occupying 30 rooms at the hotel..."

No End in Sight for Hurricane-Housing Limbo
FEMA once again extends cutoff deadline for hurricane evacuees still receiving housing assistance in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas
News Story  January 26, 2007, by Cheryl Smith
"...OK, put your cigarette lighters away now, because it's time to get down to evacuee housing assistance business … again. That's right, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended anew its cutoff deadline for the 100,000-plus Hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuee families still getting federal housing assistance in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas..."

Katrina's Aftermath
As the end of the primary federal housing program keeping roofs over the heads of area hurricane evacuees gets closer, local homeless advocates and social service providers try to prevent evacuees from falling through affordable housing cracks
News Story  June 30, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...Robert Jones, one of a handful of evacuees at the meeting, can testify to being in housing limbo. Not only was his New Orleans house flooded by Katrina, he also went through Hurricane Rita; his Katrina evacuation path ultimately led him to a FEMA-paid-for room at La Quinta Inn in Beaumont, just in time for Rita's storm, which brought him to another La Quinta – this time in Austin..."

More Unemployment Benefits for Hurricane Evacuees
Thirteen-week unemployment aid extension for both Katrina and Rita evacuees
News Story  March 10, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...President George W. Bush signed legislation Monday that prolongs by 13 weeks the amount of time evacuees of both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita can receive federal unemployment benefits...."

Hurricane Housing Limbo
Evacuees get rent assistance deadline extension
News Story  January 27, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...Although only a select few Austinites knew it at the time, the butts of thousands of hurricane evacuees in the area were saved – albeit temporarily – from an uncertain housing fate Friday. That's when the Federal Emergency Management Agency notified nervous state and local governments across the country that FEMA will continue reimbursing them for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita evacuees' rent and utility bills beyond the end of February..."

Hurricane Housing Censorship
Housing Authority of New Orleans sends letter to attorney representing former public housing tenants, requesting that he stop talking to media about government's plan to demolish complexes deemed too damaged by Katrina to fix
News Story  February 9, 2007, by Cheryl Smith
"...The Housing Authority of New Orleans recently sent a letter to New Orleans attorney Bill Quigley, requesting that he stop sharing with the media his opinions about the plan of the housing authority – overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – to demolish public housing complexes the government has deemed too damaged by Hurricane Katrina to fix..."

Hurricane Housing Update
Federal housing assistance 'recertification' deadline for hurricane evacuees looms for both landlords and their tenants
News Story  September 29, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...3 forum in Houston on housing for hurricane survivors. Among other things, the letter urges the federal government to reclassify "Katrina evacuees in Texas as refugees" and to transfer "them to an 18-month resettlement program."..."

Still No Long-Term Housing Plan for Hurricane Evacuees
Only a small fraction of families qualify for mortgage assistance
News Story  December 16, 2005, by Cheryl Smith
"...Washington made its latest short-term housing promise to battered Gulf Coast hurricane evacuees when the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced last week that some families displaced from federally designated disaster areas by Katrina, Rita, and Wilma might qualify for mortgage payment assistance for up to one year under the department's new Mortgage Assistance Initiative plan. HUD's MAI is for evacuees with Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages whose homes are repairable and located in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida..."

Hurricane Hindsight
Learning from our hurricanes' past
News Story  October 12, 2007, by Cheryl Smith
"...One year after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the population of the city "was smaller, older, more educated, less poor, with fewer renters, and [had] fewer households with children," reports the Brookings Institution in a recent compilation of research comparing 2006 American Community Survey stats from the U.S. Census Bureau with data from the 2000 census..."

Hurricane Housing Limbo Update
FEMA's newest housing assistance extensions buy Texas' more than 100,000 hurricane evacuee families a little more time
News Story  August 4, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...Although it's impossible to gauge how many Katrina and Rita evacuees' brains responded to the latest housing aid news from the Federal Emergency Management Agency by repeating a cacophony of lyrics from Chubby Checker's "Limbo Rock," one thing is certain: FEMA's newest housing assistance extensions buy Texas' more than 100,000 hurricane evacuee households a little more time. FEMA issued a press release Friday, July 28, announcing that it has postponed until Oct..."

Texas Left Holding Short HUD Hurricane Aid Stick
State gets a sliver of total it requested from Congress
News Story  February 3, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...She also said HUD gave priority to areas it determined to have the greatest unmet housing needs – in other words, regions with housing problems that were unlikely to draw funding from some other source. For example, lots of homes in New Orleans have been passed down for generations, and many of them were uninsured when Katrina hit because their mortgages, which require flood insurance, were paid off, she said...."

Katrina Aftermath Radio: A Brief, Dysfunctional Life
Attempts to set up a low-power FM for Astrodome residents killed by bureaucracy
News Story  September 30, 2005, by Wells Dunbar
"..."The first radio license I got from the FCC, for KOOP radio, took 11 years," said Austin airwave activist (and former Chronicle writer) Jim Ellinger, whose interest in community media extends back to KOOP's founding. "The next three licenses took two hours over the Labor Day weekend." The atypical speed with which the feds moved on those three was in response to the proposal of a low-power FM radio station for the benefit of Hurricane Katrina evacuees in the Houston Astrodome, a short-term station with which Ellinger and Houston activists sought to disseminate "rudimentary, life-saving information." Thanks to professional legal assistance, the FCC moved quickly in granting the licenses for radio broadcast inside the Astrodome..."

Katrina's Price Tag
Reimbursement is promised, but will it be delivered?
News Story  September 23, 2005, by Kimberly Reeves
"...Austin is looking at a preliminary price tag of at least $3 million for the city's Hurricane Katrina response efforts – and Mayor Will Wynn is counting on our representatives in Washington, D.C., to help square up the tab with federal dollars...."

City Hammers Out Budget, Crosses Fingers for Katrina Evacuee Reimbursements
2005-06 money is ready to spend
News Story  September 16, 2005, by Wells Dunbar
"...With a minimum of fireworks, the City Council banged out the 2005-06 budget with yeoman efficiency Monday, keeping the same property tax rate as last year. Any thoughts of a protracted budget battle were dashed last week, in the wake of Austin's adoption of thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees..."

Hurricane Evacuees Take a Legal Blow
Emergency housing class-action suit against FEMA dismissed
News Story  June 23, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...The Stafford Act obligates the federal government to provide housing aid for 18 months to victims of natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina struck Aug..."

It Wasn't Katrina That Damaged New Orleans
Postmarks  November 12, 2013
"...8]. While I enjoyed the review, and the descriptions of the food made my mouth water (I am a NOLA girl, after all), I was dismayed to once again see the destruction of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina blamed on the storm itself. Hurricane Katrina did not damage New Orleans..."

Katrina Through the Eyes of an EMT
Philipp Meyer, a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at UT and an EMT, drove to New Orleans and spent 24 hours working with a local police department as an EMT.
News Story  September 2, 2005, by Philipp Meyer
"...Last Sunday, Philipp Meyer, a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at UT and an EMT, drove all night to New Orleans, arriving there Monday morning during hurricane Katrina. He spent the next 24 hours working with a local police department as an EMT..."

Katrina's Collateral Damage (Think Four-Legged and Furry)
AFS Documentary Tour presents Mine
Screens Story  April 9, 2010, by Nora Ankrum
"...Since Geralyn Pezanoski's documentary Mine won the Documentary Feature Audience Award at the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival, the film has won Best Feature at the San Francisco DocFest and has been picked up by the PBS Independent Lens series. It's doing pretty well for a tear-jerker about pets left behind during Hurricane Katrina, but it still meets resistance, both from animal lovers who don't want to see pets suffer and from skeptics who ask, "Why make a movie about the animals when you could make a movie about the people?" The story of New Orleans' pets, however, is the story of the people..."

Katrina and the Lessons Not Learned
New documentary about Hurricane Katrina uses old footage to teach the same lessons.
DAILY News  July 19, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...In January, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina stood in front of conservative think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin and said, "(Hurricane) Katrina did not unearth poverty but something more unsettling, particularly as a conservative, and that’s dependency.” Those people stuck on roofs, he implied, were in a mental boating recession...."

Congress Using Katrina as Cover to Promote Vouchers
Postmarks  January 11, 2006
"...Dear Editor, Congress' provision of millions of dollars for vouchers for faith-based schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, and possibly Texas in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is a slap at the constitutions of all three states, which prohibit such aid. In 2004 the Baton Rouge Advocate found Louisianians opposed to vouchers 60% to 34%, and right after the Jan. 5 Florida Supreme Court ruling against vouchers in that state, the AOL poll registered opposition to vouchers nationwide at 57% to 37%..."

Hurricane Relief Efforts Under Way in Austin
An estimated 5,000 hurricane evacuees are expected to arrive in Austin this weekend
News Story  September 2, 2005, by Amy Smith


Two Years Since Katrina Hit
It's been two years since Katrina. Where is our heart?
DAILY Qmmunity  August 30, 2007, by Kate Getty
"...It's hard to believe, but yesterday marked the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Two years have passed, and still, to this day, there are tens of thousands of families without homes..."

Hurricane Kids Hit Austin Schools
AISD promises to meet evacuees' needs
News Story  September 16, 2005, by Rachel Proctor May


Katrina Benefit Tomorrow at 311
DAILY Music  August 28, 2007, by Audra Schroeder
"...Tomorrow night, Club 311 (311 E. Sixth St.) hosts a two-year Hurricane Katrina anniversary show and benefit with a stellar lineup of performers, including East 35, V.I.P., the Culprit, Vice & Mic Trey, Goliath, SoBlaqq, Mike Money, Sincere, Two Brothers, Stacy Russell, Philliez Beatz, and D-Ray, among others..."

Katrina Relief in Austin
Where to get help, how to give help, and events to ease the burden and heal the heart
News Story  September 9, 2005, by Kate X Messer, Wells Dunbar, Julie Ruff and Max Wynn
"...This past weekend, Austin leapt into action and opened her arms. The trauma of Hurricane Katrina is now woven into our social fabric..."

New Orleans Music After Katrina
SXSW panels
Music Review  March 24, 2006, by David Lynch
"...New Orleans Music After Katrina..."

Comic Relief, Katrina-Style
Ron 'Tater Salad' White will headline an all-star comedy concert to benefit the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund
Arts Story  September 16, 2005, by Robert Faires


Is It Fair That Hurricane Victims Will Get So Much Aid?
Postmarks  October 11, 2005
"...Dear Editor, If you heard Bush promising the billions dog-eared for flights to the moon by 2012, you would have heard history in the making: While tens of thousands are still suffering after Katrina & Rita, Bush tries to make positive for space workers at NASA and their subcontractors, such as Halliburton, Bell Helicopter, and others. www.jasonleigh.org/vetissues.htm. Ninety percent of those people who stayed, but were later rescued in New Orleans, were the poorest of the poor. Some will get FEMA mobile homes for 15 years to life, with no payback. Couldn't a homeless veteran lose everything as well, devoid of a hurricane, still have nothing, while those who lived on welfare in New Orleans will continue to collect, but who are now “given” extra perks that veterans will never realize with what little life they may have left? And who picks up the tab for higher interest rates? The poorest of the poor‚ that's who..."

Smoking Ban Kicks Off as Katrina Kicks In
Cigarettes are out at Austin’s clubs, but New Orleans musicians could be in
News Story  September 9, 2005, by Daniel Mottola


For the Sick: An Interview With Michael D. Williams
A post-jail interview with Eyehategod's frontman.
DAILY Music  June 20, 2007, by Austin Powell
"...In “Last City Zero,” the opening poem from Cancer as a Social Activity: Affirmations of World’s End, Michael D. Williams, the volatile frontman for NOLA sludge pioneers Eyehategod, asks, “If New Orleans is the Big Easy, why is life so fucking hard?” The murky memoir was published in May of 2005, just months before Hurricane Katrina..."

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Nic Cage delivers one of his best and most outrageous performances in Werner Herzog's cops-and-iguanas drama.
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Film Review  December 11, 2009, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Finkelstein’s “bad lieutenant” is bad in many of the same ways as Ferrara’s (rampant cocaine and narcotics use, gambling addiction, and flagrant abuse of the badge), but gone are the Catholic guilt, the New York City streets, and the naked, howling Keitel. The new film is set in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina..."

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
F. Scott Fitzgerald's slender, unsentimental curio has been stretched by David Fincher into a nearly three-hour-long motion picture about a man (played by Brad Pitt) who ages in reverse.
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Film Review  December 26, 2008, by Kimberley Jones
"...Everything that was sharp in the original text has been rounded and buffed; Benjamin is no longer a "case," he's a cause, and Fitzgerald's cynical eye toward humans' fleeting attractions, and attractiveness, has been junked for a love story – you know the kind – that spans decades of rising hemlines and missed opportunities. Screenwriter Eric Roth transposes the action from antebellum Baltimore to Armistice Day in New Orleans (which accommodates an ineffective framing story involving Hurricane Katrina)..."

The Forgotten Storm
One year later, Rita's invisible evacuees still wait in the shadow of Katrina
News Story  September 22, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...Many of Texas and Louisiana's Hurricane Rita evacuees are experiencing a similar if more disastrous brand of bureaucratic frustration. In this unlikely academic analogy, Hurricane Katrina, making landfall less than a month before Rita, was the Harvard of modern-day hurricanes..."

FEMA's Flood Tide
One stroke forward, two strokes back – hurricane victims tread rising bureaucratic waters
News Story  February 24, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...Now multiply that feeling by 2,000. That's about how many families of Hurricane Katrina evacuees moved from the temporary shelters at the Austin Convention Center and the Toney Burger Center into rental properties throughout town, and up until Wednesday, March 1, the city of Austin was paying their rent – at least indirectly..."

Second Wind
As the Katrina crisis subsides, the small victories and the larger questions persist
News Story  September 16, 2005, by Amy Smith
"...With their biggest test of crisis management behind them – the arrival of several thousand Gulf Coast hurricane survivors in Austin over the Labor Day weekend – city officials this week returned to the mundane job of final approval of a new $480 million budget. Most of the detail work had been completed in advance of Monday's final vote, but the task has now taken on a wholly different perspective, born of Hurricane Katrina...."

Trouble the Water
This film about the human toll of Hurricane Katrina is one of the best and most inspirational things to come out of the disaster.
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Film Review  October 31, 2008, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Miracles can occur, even in the face of disaster. Hurricane Katrina, a compound catastrophe caused by natural forces and human error, has so far provided subject matter for two great documentaries: Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts and this, the 2008 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Documentary winner, Trouble the Water..."

Art Aid
In the wake of Katrina, Austin artists do their part to help
Arts Story  September 23, 2005, by Heather Barfield Cole
"...Even as Austinites have made astounding efforts to meet the critical needs of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, Austin arts organizations and individual artists, musicians, comedians, puppeteers, drama educators, and a rainbow of performers have been donating time, effort, and energy to entertain, share stories, sing songs, play music, make jokes, and enjoy the company of accidental strangers and neighbors. The exchange goes both ways as artists from New Orleans share their unique spirit and style with the Austin community...."

Unnatural Disaster
Harry Shearer gets serious about how bad engineering flooded Nola
DAILY Screens  April 16, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...For most of the world, what happened to New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster. If you ask New Orleanians, many blame the US Army Corps of Engineers..."

To The 'Lighthouse'
Susan Cowsill's new CD illuminates loss and growth
DAILY Music  November 17, 2010, by Margaret Moser
"...As I collected my bits and pieces and scraps of paper, I said to myself, ‘Oh, great. You have a Katrina record.'It wasn't something I meant to do but there it was.”..."

Austin Arts Give Harvey Relief
Comedy and classical music benefits raise $280K for Houston
DAILY Arts  September 14, 2017, by Robert Faires
"...Two nights later, it was the punch line masters' turn, taking over the Paramount Theatre for Harvey Relief Benefit: Comedy Helps. The evening was spearheaded by a couple of Austin comedy vets, Turk Pipkin and John O’Connell – who had engineered a similar event following Hurricane Katrina – in partnership with the historic venue..."

Who Dat Indeed
DAILY Sports  October 2, 2006, by Robert Gabriel
"...The New Orleans Saints couldn’t have looked any better beating the Atlanta Falcons in the first game to be played in the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina. New Head Coach Sean Payton must be some sort of genius, leading a traditionally underachieving team to three straight wins and for the time being, the pole position in the NFC South..."

Home From Home
Austin opens arms to New Orleans 'guests,' longing to return
News Story  September 9, 2005, by Amy Smith
"...Three days after a helicopter plucked them from the balcony of their New Orleans apartment, Lester Sampson and Irma Louis found themselves wandering around Downtown Austin in the grip of one of Katrina's side effects. They had stepped outside the Austin Convention Center for some fresh air and sunshine, when the sudden jolt of a strange, new environment – miles from their quiet Canal Street neighborhood – proved too much, too soon, for the couple's frazzled nerves..."

After the Storm
Austin's Louisiana exiles remain suspended between before and after
News Story  August 25, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...When she went back a month later with a U-Haul to see what she could salvage, the rottweilers were still rotting in the sunshine, but this time garbage was piled high on top of them. Her neighbors had heaped their pre-Katrina lives over the dogs in a desperate attempt to cover up the smell..."

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