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August 26th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

5 years after Katrina, what to learn from New Orleans?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

This weekend marks five years since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and all but destroyed the city of New Orleans.

The horrible images that came in the days and weeks following Katrina are unforgettable - a major American city literally underwater. People stranded on rooftops and in the Superdome, wading in floodwater with their belongings and families in tow in the sweltering heat.

The dismal response from the Bush administration only made matters worse - and left many wondering what was wrong with our federal government.

Five years later, despite the death and destruction, in some ways New Orleans is better than ever. There are more hotels and restaurants there than before Katrina... and much of the city's major infrastructure has new or rebuilt facilities. Lots of federal money has also poured into the schools, which were dysfunctional before Katrina and the public health system is also getting better.

As for the levees and water control systems, work still continues - but they're improving. Nonetheless, some worry that even the best levees won't be enough to withstand another storm like Katrina. Also, crime remains a huge problem. Several police officers are on trial for shooting unarmed civilians in the days following Katrina and allegedly covering it up.

Housing is a major concern too - especially in the poor neighborhoods where many lots remain empty.

As for what Katrina and the fate of New Orleans means for the rest of us, a new Pew poll shows 57 percent of Americans say the nation is no better prepared for hurricanes and other natural disasters than it was five years ago.

Here’s my question to you: Five years after Katrina, what can the rest of us learn from New Orleans?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: New Orleans
July 15th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

How should the Gulf oil spill affect this country's energy policy going forward?

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Oil covered brown pelicans found off the Louisiana coast wait in a holding pen for cleaning at the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. (PHOTO CREDIT: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There are thousands of oil wells under the ocean. We have seen the effects of one going terribly wrong.

The economy of the Gulf Coast decimated… the fishing and tourism industries crushed.

If the administration's moratorium on offshore drilling is upheld by the courts this time around, thousands of additional people will lose their jobs in an economy already overrun with folks who can't find work.

Drilling for oil at these depths is risky at best and can be disastrous at worst - as we have seen.

But we need the oil… because for almost 40 years, since the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, this country has failed to develop a coherent energy policy.

We just keep whistling past the graveyard of dependence on the Middle East and deep water drilling… waiting for the next crisis… whether it's another blown well, ruptured pipeline, or war in the Middle East that will interrupt the flow of oil and drive prices through the ceiling.

And it's not a question of whether there will be another crisis… it's a question of when the next one comes and how serious it will be.

But just like with so many of the other challenges confronting our country, the government and by extension we, the people seem content to live in a world of denial… unwilling to make the tough decisions necessary to make our energy future safer and more secure.

Here’s my question to you: How should the Gulf oil spill affect this country’s energy policy going forward?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: BP oil spill • Gulf oil spill • New Orleans • Offshore Drilling • Oil spill
February 9th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

How important is Saints' Super Bowl victory for New Orleans?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Four and half years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the city finally has something to celebrate in its Super Bowl victory.

Some people say the Saints' first championship win in the team's 42-year history is the greatest thing that could ever happen to New Orleans. The city's spirits have been lifted... and it promises to be a Mardi Gras season the likes of which even New Orleans has never seen before.

It's been a long time coming - a very long four years since that awful day when Katrina roared ashore and tore the life out of one of the really special cities in this country. Katrina flooded 80 percent of the city, killed 1,500 people, drove thousands more from their homes never to return, and destroyed the economy. But it didn't kill The Big Easy's spirit.

Today renewal is breaking out all over New Orleans.

The day before the Super Bowl, they elected a new mayor - the first white mayor in 30 years. He's promising to bridge a racial divide that grew wider under Mayor Ray Nagin. Mitch Landrieu won 66 percent of the vote in an 11-candidate field. A huge win in a city that is more than 60 percent African-American.

Landrieu has his work cut out for him - including lowering one of the highest crime rates in the country, rebuilding the schools; and of course, the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina - including houses, infrastructure, hospitals, etc.

But today New Orleans is a very happy place. And the rest of us are happy for them.

Here’s my question to you: How important is the Saints' Super Bowl victory for New Orleans?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: New Orleans