Friday 20 November 2015

Kathleen Blanco's Address to the Louisiana State Legislature

"I want the world to know what I know:  We are brave.  We are resilient.  We will prevail." 
(Kathleen Blanco)

In the days, weeks and months after Hurricane Katrina, the nation was in a state of shock.  Over 1800 people died in the Category 5 storm which pounded New Orleans on August 29, 2005.  The Louisiana government scrambled to gather resources to aid the victims of the tragedy.  FEMA trailers were temporarily set up to house more than a million displaced persons.  Wards had to be drained.  Levees had to be reconstructed.  Roads had to be rebuilt.  Governor Kathleen Blanco, a somber look on her face, stood before the Louisiana Legislature on September 14 with this message:

"Nearly two weeks ago, Katrina tore across Southeast Louisiana leaving a path of physical destruction and human tragedy unprecedented in our nation's history.  Tonight, foremost in our thoughts are the families who were literally ripped apart by the storm.  Over the past few days, I have met brothers separated from sisters, mothers and fathers searching for children, and children who have seen things no child should have to witness.

As a mother, a sister and a daughter, my heart goes out to every family.  And we all know that family stretches beyond blood to embrace the neighbourhoods and communities that form the fabric of our lives.

...I must offer thanks on behalf of a grateful state.  When I called on the people of Louisiana to respond they rallied in overwhelming numbers.  First responders and ordinary citizens put aside concerns for their own safety and demonstrated a heroic courage...They were joined by an unprecedented brigade of ordinary citizens who drove a fleet of school buses we commandeered , and they steered hundreds of private boats down flooded streets and toiled without pause to rescue at least 70,000 people...I want the world to know that:  We are brave.  We are resilient.  We will prevail.  

...To anyone who even suggests that this great city should not be rebuilt, hear this and hear it well:  We will rebuild.  Americans rebuilt Washington after the British burned it to the ground.  We rebuilt Chicago after the Great Fire.  We rebuilt San Francisco after the earthquake.  And we are rebuilding New York City after 9/11.  We will rebuild New Orleans and the surrounding parishes, because that is what Americans do."  

Dear God, please bless the people of the state of Louisiana, and bring all of our sons and daughters safely home. (

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina circa 2005 courtesy

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