The JFP’s Best Hurricane Katrina Coverage, Then and Now | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The JFP’s Best Hurricane Katrina Coverage, Then and Now

A collection of JFP's coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath over the past 10 years.

Editor's Note

‘Blood Sells’ No Excuse to Sell Out Young People

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It's as if struggling media outlets want a quick fix of attention from trotting out young faces accused of bad things more often than they feature kids doing amazing things.


The Story of My Lifetime: Notes on Katrina’s 10th

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As we approached the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I found myself wanting to experience neither.


Hurricane Katrina: Young Mississippians Remember the Storm

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Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, graduate student Ashley Norwood asked Gulf Coast natives at the University of Mississippi, "What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Hurricane Katrina?"

Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Credit'

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By the estimation of many observers, it was the ineptitude primarily of top federal government officials that exacerbated the damage Mother Nature wrought.


Barbour’s True Place in Katrina History

The 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's devastation has understandably come with a deluge of retrospectives and remembrances—what went right and wrong, what lessons were learned, what work remains and how we all pulled together.


Evacuees Face Confusion, Long Lines

Stories are still trickling in from major damage zones across the south. Disturbing tales of personal failures and the greater breakdown of government in the face of unconscionable disaster roll in with the grim faces of the haggard, the beaten—and the progressively more faithless.


Immigrants Left Behind

Many immigrant workers labored in the Gulf Coast's thriving hospitality industry before the wind and water of Hurricane Katrina reduced the industry to matchsticks and filthy shreds of insulation. Three kinds of workers made up the majority of production: native-born, H2B workers (hired directly through the Labor Department with labor certification) and those contracted out—housekeepers, mostly undocumented.


Gone With The Wind

Three weeks after Hurricane Katrina, state Attorney General Jim Hood unleashed a storm of his own. Hood announced a Sept. 15 civil action against some members of the insurance industry last week, declaring that provisions excluding flood damage from the policies of hurricane victims are void and unenforceable.



Capt. Louis Skrmetta didn't know what hit him in late August 2005. That weekend, as he was running a boatload of about 600 people out to Ship Island, The Weather Channel showed footage of a Category 2 hurricane called Katrina hitting the Florida peninsula.


In From The Storm

Ondria Thompson, 38, and her daughter, Tia Johnson, were standing on the balcony of a looted hotel when the floodwaters came raging out of the levee and took St. Bernard Parish.


Paradise Lost: Latinos Caught In Katrina Squeeze

Strangely, it wasn't the hurricane itself that tore down the life and family of Daniel Dotta. It was the clean-up crew that came along behind it.


Hood Threatens Insurance Industry

Attorney General Jim Hood attacked State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.'s decision last week to suspend new home-owners and commercial insurance policies in Mississippi. Hood said the national insurance company was essentially holding policies for ransom in order to influence legislators and judges.


Hood Sues State Farm

Attorney General Jim Hood announced he is suing State Farm Fire and Casualty Company for failing to honor policies covering damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Hood said Monday that State Farm had reneged on terms spelled out in a Jan. 23 settlement agreement.


Insurance ‘Bait And Switch'

State Attorney General Jim Hood said he would be willing to settle a multi-million dollar lawsuit against insurance companies like State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Farm Bureau and USAA if they would come to the table, but blamed the companies for sticking to the courts and delaying a judgment.


A Recovery For The Rich?

Thanks to Gov. Haley Barbour, federal Hurricane Katrina recovery money is benefiting the rich on the Mississippi Gulf Coast more than the poor, advocates for low- and moderate-income housing say. "We're finding that federal disbursements are not balanced among high- and low-income people," said Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP.


The Blind Giant: Insurance Companies Play By Their Own Rules

Hurricane Katrina was a nasty surprise for Mississippi Gulf Coast resident Mike Perronne when it slammed into Mississippi Aug. 29, 2005. Perronne left his Diamondhead, Miss., home that Sunday before the storm expecting the same serious but relatively moderate storm that had rattled Florida. His wife, Barbara, packed their photographs into their car while Mike stowed his valuable carpentry tools in the home elevator and sent it up to the second floor to protect them from water damage. Their $632,000 home got more than wet, however.


Haley's Shadow Money

Barbour's confidence going into his re-election campaign is formidable. But the former Washington lobbyist and former chairman of the Republican National Committee may not be such a "former" lobbyist after all, critics are charging, and he may be using his influence to benefit lobbying clients.


FBI Raids Barbour Niece

Gov. Haley Barbour's niece continues to be the object of federal scrutiny over Hurricane Katrina contracts. Last Thursday, FBI agents raided the Mississippi office of Alcatec LLC, owned by Rosemary Barbour. Rosemary Barbour is married to Hinds County Superintendent Charles Barbour, who is Haley Barbour's nephew.


Playing Disaster Politics

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Mississippi Secretary of State Mike Chaney is disputing that Attorney General Jim Hood does not deserve credit for the recent State Farm settlement with Mississippi. Hood announced last week that his office had settled a breach of contract suit with the insurance giant, which had agreed to pay at least $74 million more to policyholders who had fallen victim to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

Editor's Note

This Is My Fault

Since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and thrust her spotlight on the abhorrent conditions of the poorest Americans, I have been pondering poverty. First, I got angry.


State Diverting Katrina Funds Away from Housing

With 6,000 people still living in FEMA trailers on the Coast, Mississippi officials are diverting Katrina funds away from needed housing, the Associated Press reports:


Death Trailers

Recent Environmental Protection Agency testing of FEMA trailers reveals higher average levels of formaldehyde than was originally found by Sierra Club testing last year. EPA testing showed unventilated trailers were 12 times the EPA limit, and that even if the trailers were fully ventilated, toxic levels in the trailers would still be three times the EPA limits.


Stiffing the Help

The Hattiesburg American reported last week that the Department of Labor is investigating a Jackson business owned by Rosemary Barbour, wife of Hinds County Supervisor Charles Barbour, a nephew of Gov. Haley Barbour.


Barbour and HUD Under Fire

The Mississippi Conference of the NAACP and the Gulf Coast Fair Housing Center are suing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for allowing Gov. Haley Barbour to divert nearly $600 million in federal funding away from affordable housing recovery after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and into a pet port project that Congress had refused to fund earlier.

FEMA Wants Immunity for Poison Trailers

The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt for immunity from lawsuits over what plaintiffs' lawyers and the Sierra Club called "hazardous levels" of formaldehyde in government-issued trailers. Engelhardt is presiding over a lawsuit against FEMA. Plaintiffs claim the government knew about the dangerous toxicity of plywood used in trailer construction but continued to allow hurricane victims to inhabit the structures, despite independent toxicology tests revealing five times the tolerable amount of formaldehyde in the structures.


The Katrina Effect: Politics After the Storm

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Nobody had ever seen anything like Katrina. "When Katrina came, we knew we were in for an entirely different kind of animal," said Capt. Louis Skrmetta of Gulfport.

FEMA Trailers 12 Times Formaldehyde Limit

Recent Environmental Protection Agency testing of FEMA trailers reveals higher average levels of formaldehyde than was originally found by Sierra Club testing last year. EPA testing showed unventilated trailers were 12 times the EPA limit of the dangerous preservative, and that even if the trailers were fully ventilated toxic levels in the trailers would still be three times the limit of EPA-approved levels.


Testimony of Gov. Haley Barbour about Katrina - March 7

Testimony of Governor Haley Barbour to U. S. Senate Committee on Appropriations

Thank you for this opportunity to join you today to discuss the worst natural disaster in our nation's history, Hurricane Katrina. First, we in Mississippi greatly need and genuinely appreciate the generous Katrina appropriations package you passed and the President signed in December. Thank you.

Barbour Announces New Coast Housing Effort

Under fire for diverting federal funds away from low- and middle-income housing for Katrina survivors, Gov. Haley Barbour today announced a new housing plan for public-sector employees on the Gulf Coast. Per a verbatim statement from his office:


Hurricane-Hit Hancock Losing Out

Only a fraction of federal money reserved for re-construction in Hurricane Katrina-damaged areas actually went to the county with some of the most egregious damage, a Government Accountability Office report revealed.


GAO: FEMA Favored Mississippi Over Louisiana

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office has confirmed that FEMA favored Mississippi over Louisiana after Katrina, concurring with the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general who criticized FEMA for awarding "the vast majority of the available funds (about 71 percent) to one project in one state." Associated Press:

Fraud, Katrina Contracts Could Waste $2 Billion

The Associated Press is reporting on staggering waste and loss of funds due to no-bid and fraudulent contracts, especially to Republican supporters, after Katrina, as well as how few minority-owned firms got contracts due to Bush's initial waiver of contracting requirements:


Katrina Victims to Receive $132 million

The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development settled a $132 million lawsuit last week allowing individual Gulf Coast renters to claim up to $75,000 for Katrina-related destruction.

Editor's Note

An Inconvenient Joke

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If there is anything we now know here in Mississippi and in neighboring states, rising (or surging) oceans are nothing to belittle or use to score cheap political points.


Disaster in the Making: Will the Next Hurricane Be the Big One?

Here's a story we ran in Oct. 7, 2004, questioning whether federal policy and budget changes—and homeland security concerns—are trumping protection from natural diasters. We're pulling it back to the top of the site due to Hurricane Katrina.

Baria: Barbour's Wind Pool Veto Raises Rates

Sen. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, successfully added an amendment to a bill by voice vote yesterday that continues the state's annual $20 million payment to the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association Reinsurance Assistance Fund, also called the wind pool. The measure passed the Senate unanimously, reports The Sun Herald and is on its way to the House.


Destruction and Hot Tempers

"They said I needed to get out, and that's what I did," said Tony Porter, who says he owned a photo and camera repair shop not too far off the northeast section of Magazine Street in New Orleans. Porter, who was passing through Jackson on the way to a friend's house in Memphis, speaks of his small, young business in the past tense as he sits at a Phillips 66 gas station in North Jackson.


God's Country: Katrina Sows Uncertainty In The Eye of The Storm

<i>This story appeared five years ago in the days after Hurricane Katrina as many Gulf Coast residents sat waiting for help</i>


With A Little Help From My Friends: Waveland's Getting By

In Waveland, Miss., the little town that arguably received the worst punishment Katrina could mete out, those credited with the swiftest response are not disaster-relief groups or government agencies, but a bunch of hippies and a rock band.