One of the reasons that we are watching the progress of Hurricane Isaac closely is our experience with Hurricane Katrina seven years ago this week. Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast on a Monday. The news out of New Orleans on that Monday suggested that things were bad, but not cataclysmic.
The fifth anniversary of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, has led to some great journalism, mostly because there are so many unanswered questions and ongoing issues.
Tonight at 9 on UNC-TV, Frontline presents "Law & Disorder," a year-long investigation with ProPublica and the New Orleans Times-Picayune looking at charges that the city's police inappropriately used lethal force against citizens and then tried to cover it up.
In most other markets, this report aired last week so you may have heard/read the story that reveals police were given the order to shoot looters, but that doesn't mean you don't need to watch this report. There's plenty more to mull over. It's painful, sad and necessary viewing.
Sunday is the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's assault on the Gulf Coast. CNN is featuring live coverage from New Orleans through Monday, August 30, but below are a few of the specials we've found that take a look back at the storm's devastation. If you know of some we missed, add them in the comments section.
Sanjay Gupta, M.D. (7:30am, CNN) - Gupta revisits the now-shuttered Charity Hospital with Dr. Ben Deboisblanc, the last doctor standing at Charity following the storm and learns how the terrible storm has affected his life. Caring for patients during Katrina turned out to be a reprieve of sorts, his 20-year marriage ended shortly before the storm, and living alone and depressed as he battled to rebuild Charity, he discusses with Gupta the challenges many in New Orleans with medical needs have faced five years ago and now. Part one of two. Part two airs Sunday morning.
We depart briefly from the music beat to consider Byron Pitts, a TV reporter who routinely ventures into some of the most dangerous places and situations on earth. And one of the most dangerous was right here in America, when he covered the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"I thought Katrina exposed for some and reaffirmed for others issues of class and race in this country," Pitts said in a recent phone chat. "A lot of people are still struggling. Life can be just as dangerous and difficult for a poor black boy in Durham as for a poor white boy in Appalachia, and Katrina exposed that reality. It also exposed the limitations of how the federal government can respond to a disaster, especially in the first 72 hours -- which people in Eastern North Carolina already understand from all the hurricanes they've lived through. You really need to have a 72-hour plan. What are you going to do for food, power, electricity and security the first 72 hours? Do you have a plan for yourself and your family? You'd better."
A team of students from the UNC Chapel Hill School of Law was honored recently for its pro bono work
helping victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Since the devastating storm of fall 2005, teams of 10 to 15 UNC law students have spent their spring and winter breaks in New Orleans, working with people there.
The students chronicled their adventures on this blog.