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Published: Winter, 2006; Vol 8, Num 1

 

Katrina’s Devastation

On August 29, Hurricane Katrina struck a devastating blow on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. The storm was the fifth deadliest to ever strike the United States and the most costly.

Six months later, southern Louisiana, New Orleans and the Mississippi panhandle are still digging out.

Pictures tell the story better than anything else, but New Orleans officials add these startling facts: before the storm, the city generated about 1,000 tons of garbage per day, or about 350,000 tons per year. Katrina created 12 million tons of trash in the city – 34 years worth!

The debris, of course, is matched by the destruction of homes, offices, schools, hospitals, cars, boats, roads, bridges, trolley lines and other basic facilities and community infrastructure.

Katrina dislocated many Laborers and their families. LIUNA Vice President and OV&SS Regional Manager James Hale made several trips to the region to assess the situation, the needs of Laborers and the prospects for clean-up and reconstruction. LIUNA raised money for its dislocated members and is working closely with signatory employers to sustain a well-trained construction workforce. Laborers-AGC helped step up training at the South Central Laborers’ Training Center in Livonia (LA), and the LHSFNA prepared 22 specially-designed hurricane health alerts to review the most likely hazards expected during the long recovery phase.

Katrina’s tragic devastation may be the worst in American history. Here at the LHSFNA, we responded with our best effort. We remain ready to do whatever we can to help ease suffering and hardship throughout the region.