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Books of Excellence: Heroes of Katrina Discussion

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Bonnie Kaye

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Heroes of Katrina Featuring: Wynde Saddy and Gretchen Meyers St. Bernard Parish suffered a direct hit from the rage of Katrina: Wind and water. Pre-Katrina St. Bernard Parish (the word Parish being the equivalent to the word county), had many small communities with a population of over 70,000 folks. There were approximately 26000 households and 3000 businesses. Unlike New Orleans to the west, the communities of the Parish were in the eye-wall of Katrina for about 20 minutes. The eye-wall holds the strongest winds. As the Category 5 storm surge blasted its way up from the Gulf, St. Bernard Parish took the hit. Overtopping of the Mississippi River levees from the East, the waterways of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet to the south and the surge from the Industrial Canal in the Lower Ninth Ward in the west…brought the surge in from three directions. Water levels reached over 27 feet in some places. St. Bernard Parish is the only “county” in the United States to ever suffer complete annihilation. 99% of the structures were destroyed or damaged. The community before Katrina was family centered. Generations of families lived on the same blocks and areas. There was a strong sense of community and belonging within these communities. Thursday’s show features two survivors of the storm from St. Bernard Parish. They will tell their stories of the pathos and destruction. They will discuss their concerns, the psychological impact and the path to reconstruction. Wynde and Gretchen are our guests...Lovely Gretchen is a co-host of this show...but thursday will shift gears to tell her story...Chapter 34 of the book

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