What Lessons from 11 Years of Louisiana’s Losses?

Add another name to the litany of disasters that we’ve experienced in the past 11 years.

Katrina. Rita. Gustav. Ike. BP Gulf Gusher. Isaac. Now, add the Great 2×7 Flood of 2016Two days, seven trillion gallons of rain.

But, like a boxer or an entrepreneur, your real story is not how many times you got knocked down, but how many times you get up.

In disaster recovery and planning parlance, it’s called resilience.

Here’s how Webster’s defines it:

a  :  capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture

b  :  tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

DanielsBroomeResilWe’ve been getting a lot of practice dealing with disaster. A warming climate, resulting in warmer seas, higher humidity (not to mention rising sea levels) means we are likely to have more of this in our future than not.

There have already been federal disaster declarations for nearly every part of Louisiana this year.

If there is good news in any of this, it is that we learn lessons with every disaster. Or, at least that’s the claim. On this week’s edition of Where The Alligators Roam, I’ll interview two people who have lived and worked through each disaster in our 11-Year Litany.

Flozell Daniels, Jr., is the President and CEO of the Foundation for Louisiana. The foundation itself was created in the wake of the 2005 storms by then-Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. It was called the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation at the time.

Camille Manning-Broome is a senior Vice President with the Center for Planning Excellence in Baton Rouge. Daniels and Manning-Broome actually worked together in the wake of the 2005 storms. They believe that there were some hard lessons learned then that have been applied — they cite the levee board reforms, the creation of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, changes in the state building code, and the recognition of the need for improved intergovernmental communications and coordination. But, as we learn with each disaster, more work needs to be done.

Because of the scope of the storm last weekend — extending from Tangipahoa parish to the Texas state line — the impact was huge. It is likely Louisiana will experience a surge of recovery dollars from the public and private sectors in the form of federal disaster relief, insurance company damage claims, and money from foundations seeking to identify just what lessons can be learned from the disaster and the recovery process.

We’ll discuss what we’ve learned since 2005 and what we might learn from this latest disaster. This Sunday at 5 p.m. on Where The Alligators Roam. KPEL 96.5 FM. Radio. Web. Mobile app.

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