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Sister Storms: Revisited – 10th Anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Hurricane-Damaged-DockAugust 29 and September 24 mark the tenth anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, respectively. A short film by Louisiana Sea Grant (LSG) examines recovery efforts and accomplishments following the two storms and what work remains.

“The Cameron community is better prepared and more resilient since Hurricane Rita,” said Kevin Savoie, LSG and LSU AgCenter Marine Extension agent in Cameron Parish. “The community adopted the International Building Code and implemented storm mitigation practices. Those who followed the new codes when rebuilding made it through Hurricane Ike (in 2008).”

However, Savoie notes that the commercial fishing industry in Cameron is still recovering from Rita. “The resource is still stable,” Savoie said. “What we don’t have are these larger offshore vessels.” Dock and wharf infrastructure also hasn’t returned, nor have the service companies that provide fuel, ice and other supplies.

Hurricane-Damaged-Boats“Overall, the fisheries recovery has been really strong,” said Mark Schexnayder, a biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in New Orleans. When Hurricane Katrina struck, Schexnayder was a Marine Extension agent with LSG and the LSU AgCenter and was tasked as one of the recovery leads in the Orleans and Jefferson parish areas. “It took a long time because the destruction was so great, but communities like Shell Beach, Yscloskey, Venice and Port Sulphur – where you saw just bundles of boats on the water – they’re all back.”

Savoie, Schexnayder and LSG/AgCenter Marine Extension agent Rusty Gaude’ – all storm responders – provide their insights on the state of the commercial fishing industry and the resiliency of the coastal communities in which they live and work in Sister Storms: Revisited. The 13-minute video is available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG2VRsVAtTg.

Shortly after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana Sea Grant and the LSU AgCenter produced a video about the storm recovery challenges the trio faced. Sister Storms: A Louisiana Sea Grant Response can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPGPPy_Z7T8.

Louisiana Sea Grant, based at Louisiana State University, is part of the National Sea Grant Program, a network made up of 33 programs located in each of the coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico. Sea Grant Programs work individually and in partnership to address major marine and coastal challenges. LSU was designated the nation’s 13th Sea Grant College in 1978.