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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 28, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm EDT

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trailers particularly, let's put them in place so folks could move into their trailers. david sitting up there for a solid month. we don't know if don't know what the hangup is a new orleans. why are they putting us through too much changes. we've been through enough changes. >> thank you. [applause] hold on. >> thank you. it wasn't too long ago the city didn't waive the requirement to have the electrical inspection done after the trailer was connected. will make sure each and every one of the contract are his notes. sounds like there may be cases where the word hasn't gotten down yet. will make sure that is not an obstacle. if i could go back to the case before that to add something,
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when i said after december december 15th at the hotel bill won't be paid to wreck early by fema and the family pays for it, i need to add if the family is eligible for the rental assistance with given them, that is what they can use to pay for the hotel bill and continue after that recognizing paying for a hotel room is a more expensive option but if they are eligible for housing assistance, they can use that money. >> all right. yes, ma'am. >> i'm going to talk really fast because my two hours on the meter is over and i hope i don't have a ticket when i walk out there. i met clinical social worker. my visits in new orleans. our building is working at the end of canal street i chose new
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orleans as new orleans as my home as an adult. i live in the dental school. both were damaged. even though i have a strong determination to stay in the city and support the city and help all of us feel from the trauma and grief we are going through and have been through, i just want to say there's so many obstacles. i appreciate you having these meetings for us to tell you things. i was sitting here making a list of all the things have gone through trying to address how to rebuild the city and bring my life in the city that. i got information that i wasn't eligible for housing assistance because i had flood insurance. somebody else said that not accurate. i've got misinformation all over the place. today i spoke about transferring their business found to move to a different format building. they said we can hook up your phone service. it will be a pro.
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it is going to take until april for them to do that. i've tried to get information. i'm on the waiting list for a trailer. i applied in early october and first got a call you are not eligible because you had flood insurance. i was told you need to get an electrician. i've been calling around to get an electrician and yesterday paid $50 over the phone to secure an appointment for an estimate for an electrician to do work in one of the houses. it is such a difficult time with so many obstacles to what to look at do i want to raise my house. both are in flood zone eight. the estimate of damage says 30% to 60%. what does that mean? what should i do? if i had a question, it would be is there any place i could go to
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get guidance about how to solve these problems. i have no idea. my house at five feet of water. prc brings people out and say this is a great house to rebuild it. i go to a go to a workshop or the guy says we will have issues for years with mold. just as an individual citizen trying to be educated, is there somebody that can guide me? >> you know, unfortunately there is not. what you are dealing with its agencies through different levels of government. federal government, state government and local government. we try and put out as much information as we get the truth and then they put it out.
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when we put information out, we have experts that come to the table and present counter views and it's causing an incredible amount of confusion. i don't know how to combat bad other than tapes in people's mouths out. but we can't really do that. you have to figure out who you trust and the situation and if you see the city is putting out consistent information and that looks good to you and you trust that, that's the way he should go. if the state is putting out consistent information -- what i'm learning if everyone has an opinion and there are more experts that we need at this moment and it is creating a lot of confusion. so we will try and get you as much accurate information as possible. you can doublecheck as much as you can but at the end of the day you have to make some calls
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because there is no clear roadmap. >> when i looked at the website of the damage of my house is at 30% to 60%. >> if you're a wanted a mac, you're in good shape. >> if i don't raise my house -- >> you don't have to. >> once you are coded as above the floodplain, they are giving you an estimate of how much it will cost to fix your home. that's it. so you are okay. thank you. yes, sir. >> closer to the microphone, please. >> thank you. >> closer. >> i am here and i applied to
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fema and they are supposed to help me. and then they sent an inspector two months later. the time it allows us to calm i clean up the house to leech and everything. we worked in the neighborhood to clean up the place. but the leech, wet mattress. the problem is not that. when they send to inspect their, i came back and opened the house. it was an abandoned house. i had some pictures.
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you have to go to city hall is a lot of papers. and then they denied me. so i don't know what's going to happen. i went to outside a papers and is still three months. that is the problem. >> from what i understand, you could apply to fema to inspect the damage is to come in and help you to restore your home. you've also applied to the spa.
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>> they said i could apply to the spa, that the spa they told me i need to send a bunch of papers they are still there. the men now, they say to appeal because like i told them, they came two months later and everything it contains out of the house. we did clean it up. i should've left everything there. >> to fema guys are shaking their heads say they can help you. we will get somebody to work with you and get you straightened out. thank you. yes, sir. >> hi, how are you doing,
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mr. mayor? >> who is this? whose microphone is that? >> nbc. >> i'm a small business here in new orleans, butler's entertainment. i did not quite match that i'm from the jefferson area two years ago moved to new orleans. i want to commend you. some nights i can't say because i want to be a part of helping you in whatever i can do. my services are free right now, but to bring new orleans back that can offer dj music stuff to you. i left town i am free. i have information i can live with some of you guys and i want to thank you again. >> when i delete your information to this lady right here and we will see if we can take advantage of your services.
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>> yes, ma'am. >> i live onto main street rag off broad. five feet of water was in my house. >> the southern microphone is in the way. we need to get that lowered or removed. they need to lower it so it is not the first microphone somebody is talking and peered in the future when it did not allow microphones to be attached to our primary microphone. it has got to be lower. everybody is doing documentaries . everybody wants to do a documentary. >> thank you. get as close to the microphone is a cancer so they can hear
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you. >> i live off of our land and broaden my house at five feet of water in it. my question is i received money from the city in 2002. the plan is to live in a house between five to 10 years. buy flood insurance i received is not enough to rebuild my house. my question is what do i do because you have to live in the house between five to 10 years of us who owe money back to the city. i don't have money to pay back to the city so i need to know what i need to do. am still waiting waiting on the fema trailer. there's eight of us on top of each other. we have the property to put it on, but they told me was coming and it's still not here. >> we will get you to talk to the people to find out where you are on the list. as it relates to the soft
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seconds, you say he did not have enough flood insurance or money to rebuild. >> it is not enough to rebuild. the actual value is just not enough. >> we need to get your information. maybe you could write a letter. we will work with you as it relates. >> if you could fill out that to get to her house and apartment and give it to that young lady before you head over to the fema guy. >> and don't forget to talk to fema about the situation. find out if there's any other support they can give you in rebuilding your house. >> i am from the gentilly area. i have three houses in the same area between princess and field more. all of them are totaled out and i came here to find out what your specific land far because
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now -- i was participating in the section eight program. i have houses i can't live in. i want to rebuild for right now i don't know what to do because i don't know the plan for my specific area. i have 50% of the damage and the house was already raised. similar to her situation i had enough coverage to cover the house, but the amount it costs me to reveal they can't do it. does the city have any plans as far as helping homeowners rebuild because not only has the cost and outcome of the interest rates have gone up. so now i have to start all over from the beginning.
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i'd estimate it to finish up my house by the time i'm in my 50s and now is part of my retirement money so i can depend on retirement, so i have to start all over 30 years from now. but the time i finish that be probably dead. >> as far as plans for gentilly, we plan to rebuild. >> you hear so many rumors. i live right there by the canal, three houses is a conversation and they say they might buy us out to widen the canal and things like that. i don't know what to do. >> as i started to say, gentilly will be rebuilt. do you have electricity? the >> i have nothing. my house is a mess. >> electric services will be coming to the house and. >> i can't live there so why
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would they put an electricity? >> it will help you should you decide to rebuild. >> who can i talk to about raising the house and things of that nature. how can i rebuild so i can move on with my life? >> all you need to do is go on to our website or city hall and determine and make sure you can just start the gut rehab. the issue with the levees and whether they will be expanded or the corps of engineers will be purchasing some property, that is a possibility and you have to talk to the corps of engineers about that. >> that is what i'm saying. why would i got my house out and do all of this that that's a possibility. i don't have that kind of money. >> i understand.
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you have to find out if they plan to expand the levees footprint and i will help you make a decision. if their expanded they will write you a check. if not unique to go to the process of figuring out how to rehab your house and whether you want to use the sba loan money that's available or some other tool. >> you say that, but that is not helping me. >> i can only give you the facts as i know them today. today the issue is we don't know what the corps of engineers is going to do other than building the levees. i don't know if they will buy your home or anybody else's question home. >> i don't have a house. i don't have a computer. >> you can go to city hall in the seventh floor and a half all the information to access that
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information. or you can go to any library and use their computer and gain access to it. you need somebody else to do anything else because we cannot somebody meet you on the side to help you. the young lady behind you. >> the sba gentleman will speak to you. the gentleman over here with sba will speak to you if you can step to the side. >> next to. >> how are you doing? how was your vacation? >> it was fine. >> mine wasn't. now as you said, my village is one of the largest neighborhood in new orleans east and most of the houses -- not most, 99.9% of the houses are at these damaged 50 plus are better.
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most people in the village are just working people. who is going to pay for it? i went through the corps of engineers in all of that. that's only one question. my other question is after the hurricane, and who is the to receive the contract. there is a gentleman. my understanding is they understanding is there the trust is being paid $20 an hour. my other question is what is the population you represent at this present time if you asked me a question in the past, if i was in your shoes i reproduce my salary 25%. i will make an executive order that my people that are nonclassified to receive the
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same thing, to at least help other people. i would not be would go to montego bay jamaica at the present time. at this present time, mr. mayor, we need your help. i need to rebuild. i cannot afford $30,000 they are going to give me. i still have not received that. could you answer some of those questions. a lot of folks, the elderly lady that was here. they mostly are working people. they cannot afford to pay $60,000. i would have to raise my house seven feet. that means i would have to have an escalator to go up that way. that is unfair and improper for folks from washington to come here and determine if we would
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raise that leverage up that high. i went throughout the floods. could you explain that for me. thank you. >> what are you running for? >> excuse me? >> what are you running for? >> i remember when i put that ad and i was there. i'm not running for nothing. i'm just a working person. i just ask a question. >> when they try an answer. >> you don't answer that question. i make it back, let me direct. >> when they try to answer your questions. they are legitimate questions. pine village is an area that really needs electricity and they are working together like this to be in the commitment is
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to have electricity by january. once you get electricity, the world will change out there. as the grizzlies to the elevator in your home, that is a personal decision the homeowner has to make. if you want to elevate your home, elevator. if you choose not, that is your personal decision. all we can do is give people as much information as they possibly can. if you want to talk to the fema representatives, we can get them to talk to you about when you can get a trailer. >> i was not devastated. most people down there does not have 50 plus surrender. it is just a tree that fell in some other things. it is not my fault the levee broke. if the levee broke a should be there fault.
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>> i totally agree with you. based on the current information we have come you have to make decisions on how you want to rebuild and continue to watch the baker act in congress and maybe that will give you some more support for how to rebuild. that is all i can tell you right now. >> yes, sir. >> i'm here to talk about the various strategies for rebuilding. what i would like to say is you have to be very careful who we listen to you because a lot of people from elsewhere don't understand the city who think our problems are what make us unique, and make us in the scene. we need to stop listening to people whom make it sound like we are authentic because we were the murder capital. that didn't make an authentic.
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that made it frightening. we need to stop listening to people from the new york times in some suburb in new york say they missed this to shine scam on canal street. grab your wallet out of your head and went on this tree with it. the city never did anything about that before him. now we don't have that problem anymore. a lot of people now are cynical even though there's only one murder since the mandatory evacuation. they think a lot of the criminals will be coming back. the people who run the city kind of rely on criminals to be elected. we also have to stop thinking all or will be an authentic murder capital or disneyland. why isn't there any middle ground? of course we have high school. we want to host. we said no.
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now i've got millions of police from everywhere and it seems to be helping. we need a category five levee, but we won't get it if we tell washington will go back to be in the same way we were. >> ringer question to the close. >> i don't have any question. are we going to pay attention to making the city a better place. if we try to do anything to make it nicer -- >> thank you, sir for your comments. next step. >> hello, my name is lee mack and i am from lakeview and i've been educated in the orleans parish my entire life. i would like to set the record straight for the media that this is not a poor black issue. katrina had poor white people, poor black people, middle class
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white people and middle-class white people and wealthy white people and wealthy black people who are all involved in this act of congress which was the levee not secured enough to protect our city. it is not a political problem. right now it is our problem and we are living through this nightmare. who is it when you referred to we en masse in contact to get the army corps of engineers to demolish the homes of the homeowners that want their homes demolished. could you answer that one question. >> if you could provide this information on your home and that you would like to have it demolished, you can send the information to the city will forward that to the corps of
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engineers for the demolition order. >> it is my understanding that orleans parish needs to asked the state coordinating office in baton rouge to ask fema to direct the army corps of engineers to demolish. >> you have been doing a little homework. >> yes, sir, i have. i got it from the horses mouth which is the army corps of engineers. i would like to ask you, mr. mayor. to ask the state coordinating officer to direct the army corps of engineers have or we sign the waiver so we do not have to pay for this demolition all on our own because congress allowed my home in lakeview to be demolished or flooded, not god.
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fema now needs to step up to the plate to help me pay to demolish my home so i can rebuild it up to code, to give me the $30,000 to raise mass 15 feet safina does enough to comment again because i won't be flooded anymore. i don't even have to pay for insurance and that is one situation. so i will contact you, sir. i will. >> you stand understand the process. you give us a letter go through the state coordinating office today to somebody who actually do some work. >> on the baker bill -- please, i ask you for one more minute. it doesn't sound like it's very
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advantageous to let us allow the united states corporation and to buy our homes and resell them in the building of the homes by not then market value which is probably double to triple what are homes worth pre-katrina. if there is someone that could clarify the issue would be very grateful. >> it is my understanding the way the bill author has designed it in some modifications to have to come out, first of all they will set up preconstruction price for you to buy back into which won't be the ask you to value after everything is done in the neighborhood. >> that's good to know. >> the second thing is if you do not want to participate in the program, you don't have to.
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>> yes, but if you don't participate many do not rebuild, we will all be in line in lakeview, gentilly. if you don't rebuild than a year, they can force you to sell out to them for force you to start helping. >> it is my understanding they are going to take that language. >> thank you. ..
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for $200 more we split the difference because i needed to put my mother in a safe place. the rent gouginguis over the top. and, my mother is on a fixed income. needs help from fema and i can not get even get -- i've gone to the jcc. i'm going back tomorrow morning to talk to them. another thing happening, i paid for $212,000 worth of flood insurance and fema is trying to give me $139,000 worth of flood insurance. so i have quite a lot of issues here. i'm not only one having those issues. >> we'll have to take up some more of your issues at the next town hall meeting, if you don't mind? if we could get you with fema, to talk about your mother's
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issue, we'll see if we can get you some support, all right? >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you. yes, ma'am. >> turn the mic, down, ma'am, step closer to it for me please. >> thank you. good evening mr. mayor and council. my name is altavis davis, resident in the 7th ward on st. anthony street. i've been home since october the 27th. my electricity was on but we have no gas. i fear i'm under the section 8 housing voucher program. i fear when inspectors come out that they're going to tell me that it is not liveable because we don't have any gas. we don't have nowhere to go after that. >> let me get to entergy representative. >> what area city was that? >> 1410 cent anthony street. i don't know if you're familiar -- >> yes, we're in the area dewatering. that is another low pressure
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system area. i'm thinking by mid-december, maybe towards the, a lot of part of december you will have gas service. as far as being requirement for some fema programs, i'm not really sure any gas is -- >> i don't think there is going to be any decertification of any section 8 properties in the short term. i don't think you will be overly concerned about that. if they inspector comes out, get the information to us and we'll advocate on your behalf to washington. >> okay. i have another question on behalf of a friend. >> yes. >> where else do you go for civil cases? >> excuse me? >> where would you go to get civil cases handled? >> it is my understanding the civil district courts in gonzalez? >> they're saying there is one in algiers. >> there is gonzalez and also in
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algiers. we are almost complete with the cleaning out of their courts. so, you know, within the next couple weeks they should be open for business downtown but right now you go to algiers is the closest area to go for civil district court. okay? >> okay. i have another question. >> all right. >> for my friend. she came to new orleans today from houston and i brought her to the housing across the river. and she was looking to try to get some help to find somewhere to stay. in houston they're doing fema vouchers, for 12, to 18 months rent. utilities paid. they told her today they couldn't help her if she wasn't under section 8 in housing. so, is there any kind of help for her? >> this is through hano or hud? that was oak. that best advice i could give your friend right now see if she
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can talk to fema to see if she qualifies for temporary housing through one of their programs. okay? >> okay. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> speak with fema ma'am? >> give her friend that advice. yes, sir? >> hi. my name is john eaton with able tree service. i've been living in this city over 30 years. i had a contract with the city of new orleans for the last 10 years. i have a contract in force right now, signed by you. and, to this day we have not been contacted by fema for any type of tree work, not once. if i got a contract with y'all, what chance does anybody have locally, to get any work? if they won't even contact me with a contract with you nice? i'm disgusted. >> all right. i understand. we've been hearing a lot of
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stories like this, you know. we have turned over our entire authorized contract list to fema and corps of engineers. they gave us assurances that they were going to be contacting you guys. >> fema has never contacted me, mayor. >> let me get, come on the side, let's get your information. we'll advocate on your behalf to break through some of bureaucracy. yes, sir? >> good evening. my name is kim jones. >> yes, ma'am, i'm sorry. >> i in one of the ignored parts of city, new orleans east. we pay a lot of money to live in these homes. cost us a lot to live with family and friends not covered by people marks i want to know how long you think we all can hold on paying these enormous house notes and live elsewhere also? >> you know, it is my understanding that most of the
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mortgage companies have given everyone, kind of a reprieve from paying their mortgages. and, that is going to end at some point. i'm not sure the exact date when it is going to end. it was either 90 or 120 days from that particular point in time. after that, it is, it is my madding that you're going to have to start paying your house notes. e hopefully by that time you will have some type of a support, either from the federal government or have a decent job that can cover those costs, you know, as you move forward. but that is the best information we have to date. >> and also, i understand that you signed a proclamation about the blue roofs. why are they not being put in new orleans east? >> we can help you with that they're supposed to be putting blue roofs everywhere in the city. if you give that young lady your address, we'll see if we can
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get, you know, you expedited and get you moved up on the list to get you a blue roof. >> thank you. >> thank you. yes, sir? >> good afternoon, everyone. i live in algiers. my name is daniel johnson and my area was one of the first areas you invited back to new orleans but yet, it is the end of november and i still don't have any power. my wife is, has an asthmatic condition and grew up in atlanta. she is on breathing machine. now she is back here and nothing but stale air. i mean, electrician come out done his work. tree people come out done their work. i had carpenters in and out doing work but yet, i can't get the city to do their work. this business with the city inspectors. i don't know if somebody is dropping ball, what is going on i don't know.
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>> you need an inspector to come out to get fema, i mean get entergy to okay up the power. >> that's what i'm told. >> we can take care of that for sure. >> you sure. >> give the lady behind you that information. we'll get that expedited. okay? >> okay. >> i've been on the phone, giving you messages. write your address come down and giving to me. >> if you come out there and approve, i will do that.w3 >> give me the address i make sure it gets done. >> i hold you to that. >> i know you will. i know you will. >> this lady here? >> yes, sir. yes, sir. >> good evening. mr. nagin, i am the utmost respect for you. i'm here for a different reason and everything. first off, i'm own fixed income and i'm renting but during the time of the flood and everythings i was out of town.
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when i returned a lot of stuff in my house was missing, to be able to have my house up and functioning again. and, i spent thanksgiving alone without my family and i don't want to go through christmas likes that. and, that's my problem. i guess, if you could say i'm here to ask you for some help and what do i do from here? >> what do you need? you need some help as, do you have a home that you living in. >> yeah. i'm renting. i've been there ever since going on six years. the house didn't get flooded or nothing like that. during the time when there was water around the house and i was out of the city, some way or another, someone left my door wide open, but at same time, a lot of my stuff was taken, like stolen. washing machine, dryer, stuff like that. my house feel empty and, even
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more empty without my family. i refuse to send for my family with my house on that. being on fixed income, it is very hard task for me to deal with. >> so you need assistance with getting things that were stolen out of your home replaced? >> yes, sir. also, fema said no about it, because i went, said my house wasn't flooded, when it wasn't flooded and nothing was taken out of the house and it wasn't flooded. >> i don't know if that equals for fema assistance. >> no. they sent me a letter saying they don't. i can't get help on that. >> so, you're looking -- tell you what. we'll get your information. only thing i can think of is there is a fund that president clinton has raised some money for. and maybe we can help you to apply for that funds, because this fund, the money that they
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raised, is designed to fill in gaps as far as helping people that fema, or the city or the state or feds can't help with. so maybe that is way we can go to get you some assistance. >> i need phone numbers and whatever or stuff. >> there is lady sitting down there, in the blue. if you can give her your information, we'll see if we can get you some help. >> okay. >> thanks. >> all right. that concludes our town hall meeting. we'll see you at next time. ma'am, i got to go to another meeting. >> i have a free fishing camp for people to live in. >> you can make that announcement but i'm moving away from the mic. >> that's fine. [inaudible] >> coming up in about 15 minutes here on c-span2, a remembrance ceremony for first-responders to hurricane katrina 10 years ago.
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former president george w. bush, laura bush and head of fema at the time, mike brown are all expected to speak at the event in gulfport, mississippi. we plan live coverage here at noon eastern time on c-span2. more hurricane katrina anniversary coverage live tomorrow as former president bill clinton, new orleans mayor, mitch landrieu, members of congress and new orleans residents all take part in remembrance ceremony. live coverage on c-span beginning at 6:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow. democratic national committee holding its summer meeting in minneapolis. presidential candidates bernie sanders, lincoln chafee, martin o'malley, and hillary clinton are all scheduled to speak today. governor mark dayton of minnesota on your screen now speaking live. our live coverage on our companion network, c-span, dnc summer meeting in minneapolis. in 2006, a year after hurricane katrina we toured st. bernard parish in louisiana, one of the hard-hit areas in the
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new orleans area and talked to some residents and local officials about damage. we'll show you that now while we await the ceremony in gulfport, mississippi. [background sounds] >> you can't describe it. that is your whole life gone completely. got nothing but cement left and rubble. not only your house but your whole community. all of your friends, family, everybody is gone. now it is going to be a year later and you're still, family and friends you don't see
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anymore. and, hell of a feeling. >> st. bernard parish is directly adjacent to orleans parish and the city of new orleans. in the days after hurricane katrina the entire parish stretching from its urban areas near new orleans to its rural areas to the south and east were underwater. >> it has been a year, you know. i think it would have been different the first couple months but after a year, you are sort of numb, don't even feel it every more. i used to cry every week, every other day, for months on end. it gets to point where you have to move on. >> there is nowhere to shop down here. you know. they keep saying stories about walmart's going to reopen but then you talk to walmart and they said they're not reopening. they said it will take a good, i've heard 10 years before everything gets semiback to normal. 25 years before it is actually back to normal.
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who would want to come back and have to see this every day? >> i had my own house, me and my kids, my mom. but all that's gone. lost the job. not a little bit, everything. >> it is tough decisions people have to make in terms of what's best for themselves and their families and i think this, the extent of this disaster is just unprecedented. not like they have a lot of experience to draw from. even people in other communities, i don't think we've seen anything like this in this country. >> coming up a look at recovery efforts in st. bernard parish almost one year after hurricane katrina. as c-span video journalist travels there to talk with residents and local officials about their personal experiences and the role that the federal, state and local governments are playing in the area. first we travel to the chalmette area of the st. bernard parish.
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moist of the flooding came from over top levee and canal walls and the breach of the industrial canal in the new orleans loyer ninth ward. we look at the pair like from shall -- shall melt high school. one of only four schools opened in st. bernard parish. >> prior to katrina we were community of 68,000 people. we had 14,000 public schools where we had 8800 students. more of a blue-collar, hard-working community. not entitlement community, people used to working very hard and making a way for themselves. when the storm hit, we were completely underwater, 100%. there was not a home, a school, a church or a building or business that was inhabitable after the storm. so with the entire infrastructure destroyed, we had quite a way to go to at least
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provide essential services for our residents. >> what is the population now compared to pre-katrina? >> pre-katrina it was about 68,000. now, it depends. you know, some people say 8 to 10,000. some people say 15 to 20,000. i think if you're here in the day time, you're somewhere in between those two figures. in the evening, you know a lot of people will come to work on their homes, rebuild, work on their businesses. in the evening maybe driving back to temporary housing somewhere else as they try to ready their own properties. we're seeing people coming back, you know, gutting and renovating different subdivisions, especially those south of judge perez, closer to the river. those people in areas that may be a little more exposed i think are waiting until we get some answers from our federal government in terms of the height and strength of the
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levees, in terms of the base flood elevations and how high they're going to have to elevate homes. can they get insurance on their homes. that's another big issue. so until all of those questions are answered, and the i guess in tandem with that, with the louisiana recovery program, to help them out financially as well, until all of these things fall into place there is a lot of uncertainty. we have no major grocery stores open. in fact we still don't have major grocery store is open. we have a few convenience stores and one full service store which was opened by a small business owner. so all the major chains, none of them are back yet. >> why is that? >> well i think they look at it from a marketing standpoint. from the size of the community, at this point. how many people are actually back. and does it, i guess, is it, is
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it financially feasible for them to do it this quickly. so they're keeping an eye on the redevelopment and repopulation. as you can see with the recovery, i mean we're coming back slowly. we're seeing progress. it is not as fast as we would like it to be but there is slow and steady progress. >> can you paint a picture, just even in this neighborhood across the street from this school what it's like when you drive back in there? >> well the first thing you see when you drive across the street is we have an elementary school we have not yet brought back into service but in the parking lot you will see another small trailer community. and those are trailers that we have brought in for our teachers and staff to live in. >> they're not fema trailers? >> well, we're, hoping to get reimbursed from fema but we brought them in. >> okay. >> and when you begin to compare costs in terms of what it took us to bring it in, for $20,000 a unit and we purchased them and
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set them up. you can do comparisons what happened through the other sector, put it that way. but anyway, so we purchased a total of 107 trailers and i have them at four different sites but when you walk across the street here you see 42 of them set up for our teachers and our staff members. that was the only way back, especially in november, that i could get a staff at the school to teach the children because there was no place to live. so anyway, you see that little trailer community adjacent or in the parking lot of one of our elementary schools. if you go further behind it into that subdivision you will see complete and tter devastation. you will see very few people actually living there. gutted homes. some not gutted as of yet. some totally destroyed. you will see some trailers in front of the homes where people are working on them. you will not see the vibrant
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community it once was. [inaudible] >> lutheran recovery team is helping me clean up my house since last august. they are a group of volunteers from michigan. they're coming to help me clean up. doing a great job. >> now it's, august of '06. this happened at end of august '05. >> a year this month. >> why a year later are you doing the cleanup? what is going on? >> i've been working in texas, out of the state. nobody to help me clean up is the main part. we're not really sure what is going on in the parish. not sure the levees are going to hold up.
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not sure if levees will hold up. not sure what will happen in st. bernard parish. we'll see when we have another hurricane season. until this hurricane season passes i'm not sure what we'll do. >> you're staying in texas for the time-being. >> i moved back to madisonville, louisiana. >> where is that. >> across the lake across the causeway. about an hour's drive. >> what is status of the home? do you still own the home? >> yes i own the home. >> what type of interaction have you had with fema, the federal government? >> fema, they are slow, needless to say. right now we have, we got about as much as we can. they are providing some assistance to us, return tall assistance. that's about it. >> could you give me an idea what it was like last august? >> i'm not sure if you put that into words. you had to be here. we left before the storm. day before the storm. we saw most of it on television as we were leaving. got to see house and water on the news.
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so, it is hard to put into words, yes. >> when did you come back to see this? >> i came back in late september for the first time. i came back again in december. then i came back last week. i'm here this week, with these good people helping to clean up. >> what are things in life been for the past couple months for you? >> just trying to get everything back to normal. get the kids back in school. go to work. stay focused. trying to go back to a normal life. [inaudible] >> here on the walkway. >> wow. [inaudible] >> hope carpeting, doesn't -- >> unbelievable.
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so this is your first house? >> yes. >> what do you think? >> well, it is just amazing how much damage is in here. unbelievable. when you saw on the news, that it was this bad. [inaudible] >> yeah. [inaudible] >> excuse me. i'm sorry. get out of your way. wayne, how long have you been living here? >> lived here for 12 years. >> any children? >> yeah, two children, a girl and a boy. 10 and seven.
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tell you the truth, real story is young people came here from michigan to help me. i don't really have to be here at all. i could have said, here is the house and leave. after i to the here, saw them working and helping them. makes me feel better. they are helping me so i'm really helping them. that is what is really going on here. >> is that part of the bigger story in st. bernard, volunteer groups that are coming in? >> it is. it is. a lot of young people came in to help. they really have. we need a lot of help down here, i really do. i'm glad these guys are helping me. that's what i'm doing here today, i'm helping them. >> i guess, i see personal items around the place. what is it like? >> it has been a year, you know. i think it would have been different the first couple months, but after a year, you are sort of numb. don't even feel it anymore. i used to cry every week, every other day for months on end. not anymore. gets to the point where you have to move on. so. so far feel good. guys helping me out.
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i'm helping them. it's fine. >> what is it like for your kids to move? >> trying to put positive out look on it. getting them to make new friends. everybody that was in st. bernard is basically displaced. so everybody has to learn something new. have to find new friends. that what they will do and find new friends and make new friends. same thing i had to do. >> what what the hardest part about the whole thing? >> hardest part of the whole thing? >> beginning, middle or this part? >> just very beginning. knowing when we left here we thought webe back in two days. that's what we actually thought. we had no idea this would happen. hardest part, everybody in st. bernard parish is basically displaced. everybody we knew, friend, family. most of my family here, my wife's family. everybody is in different place. knowing it won't ever be the same of that is hardest part. everybody is safe. but i think that is the hardest part. everything has changed.
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all of st. bernard has changed. it will never be like it was again. >> that's hard. i may have asked you this outside, but is insurance paying for any of this? >> i mean i had flood insurance. i was one of the few people in st. bernard had flood insurance. i did have flood insurance. from what i'm happening, one out of four people in st. bernard had flood insurance. i didn't have enough but i did have some. are they paying for what we're doing right here? no. these kids are taking care of it. i'm helping them. other than nobody is paying for this at all. this strictly out of kindness of their hearts. that's what they're doing. >> have you talked to any neighbors that will stay in the neighborhood. >> talked to a friend of mine earlier. first time i saw him in the year. he moved downed road, about a mile from here. there are no neighbors here. there is not loot going on. there are no stores. infrastructure is not set up yet. very few neighbors. >> you drive around, see supermarkets are closed still. >> you have only one or two.
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not even supermarket. small convenience store we call it. they have all, supposed to be, convenience store opening up. it will be a while i believe. it will be several years before st. bernard gets back where it should be. maybe five years, 10 years. i'm not sure. i'm hoping to clean up see what happens next hurricane season. >> let me ask you, when you drive around you see some small trailer park villages. what are they? >> that is the little fema trailer parks that they set up. handful of them. i really don't ride around too much. i pretty much come down here and come to my house and leave. there are a few others. if you go down the street, you see trailers in front of houses. that is people either coming on the weekend to clean up their house or living here. . .
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>> hopefully, everything's going to work out okay. >> what parts of the house are we in right now? >> this is actually the kitchen. i was in renovation during the storm. this was kitchen. over there was the living room or dining -- den, if you want to call it. and then right behind you was the dining room. and there were hallways, the three bedrooms that we had. >> how old are your kids? >> the girl is 10 years old, my son is 7. >> and their bedrooms were back in there? >> right. and my wife was a schoolteacher, first grade schoolteacher -- [inaudible]
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she hasn't found one yet, but she is looking. >> would you mind walking me over there real quick? >> no, that's fine. [inaudible conversations] >> tell me what's what. >> this way, we're going down the hallway to my daughter's bedroom. this is the half a bath that we had here. and this was my daughter's bedroom. actually did a pretty good job of cleaning it out already, they got the biggest tough out. as you can see, we had about 10 inches of mud here. when i first came back, you know, your boots would get stuck in it. there was about 10 inches of mud here. the water got high enough to take the sheet rock into the mud -- >> so the water went how high? >> about 2 inches above ceiling, so about 8 foot, 2 inches. yes. >> wow. >> it pulled down the sheet rock
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and the insulation came down. and it stayed here for about eight days, from what i understand. >> do you think this house will ever be lived in again, i mean, with all the mold? what has to happen? >> you clean everything out, you pressure wash it, you steam clean it, and they have people who remove mold, and they give you certificates. so it's going to be fine. i think it's going to be fine. we're out more several months. >> but, again, you guys might want to sell this depending on -- >> probably so, yes. possibly sell, rent. not really sure. probably sell, yes. some people are selling their houses, i think they're selling 'em too cheap right now. i mean, they just sell 'em too cheap. i'm not going to give my house away for $30,000. i'm not going to do that. that's what they're selling there. i think it's going to come back. >> again, you've also said you don't think st. bernard's will ever be the same. >> no. not the way i remember it being
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here 40 years. it will never be the same like. that i think it's going to come back, i think it will. property values will go back up. i'm not sure what the property value is right now. >> are can you describe a little bit, i guess, the one thing the camera doesn't pick up is the smell. >> that's true. actually, it doesn't smell as bad as it did months ago. right now it's a drier smell. i think it's because of all the mud dried up. so really it's not that bad, actually. it really isn't that bad. i was in here, and it was a lot worse than this. i had a different respirator on. there is a smell. people call it the katrina smell. the smell of the dirt in everything. so the camera won't pick that up. >> so we're walking down the hallway -- >> yes, walking down the hallway, and my son's bedroom is off to this side. [inaudible conversations] >> smell it a little bit more here. >> yes. because if you don't open up to
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windows, the dirt doesn't have a chance to dry out, so you have to open the windows, so you're going to smell it her where the window wasn't open. >> and this bedroom here? >> that was the master bedroom, my wife's and i bedroom. and they have a lot out of it already. you can actually move around now. don't ask he how i got this in there. [laughter] >> i was going to say. okay, i won't. >> yes. >> i -- wow. this is -- >> very unusual things floating around. we had a garbage can this our bedroom. it was in the backyard. how it floated inside, i just don't know. very strange things. >> how was your wife when you guys came back for the first time? >> she actually didn't come back until december. we came back in december for a
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family reunion, so they didn't come until months later. she looked at videos, i had taken 200 pictures of the house. you sort of get desensitized, is the best way to describe it. i think they were okay. we all cried together for the first time and after that we're moving on. you've got to move on with your life. >> right. >> that's what you have to do. >> have your kids came babb and looked -- came back and looked at it? >> yes. i thought it was a good thing to do, so they did come back. they're okay. they were trying to help me find something for them that we could salvage. >> do you feel like you're stronger because of this? >> oh, there's no doubt. i think we all are. i know i am, the wife, i think kids are too. i went through hurricane betsy 40 years ago. this is my second time, so hopefully my kids just have to go through it one time, that's all. >> right. >> that's all i'm hoping for. [inaudible conversations]
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>> for the most part, you're seeing scatterings of people, a few on this street, one or two on that street. and that, i think, is going to be one of the major challenges for people. as you come back to redevelop your home, you have to look at the home to the right of you, to the left of you and down the block. and unless we all begin to develop those sections at the same time, it's going to be very difficult to provide services to people and to help them feel that the quality of life is there for them to bring their families back. >> now, it's the beginning of
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august which means school is starting soon. what is the situation here now with the thurm of schools, the number of students you expect? >> >> we ended the school year with 2,360 students on this one campus. we were bursting at the seams. so we have a second school that we have totally repaired, are ready to accept students. and we're going to the split the school into two. we're going to have pre-k through sixth grade at andrew jackson and keep seventh through 12th here at chalmette high school, and we're expect in excess of over 3,000 students which is a third of what we had prior to the storm and i think a very good indicator of the numbers of people who are coming back. they wouldn't have their children here if if they didn't intend to come back. >> and how many teachers do you have now compared to before the storm? >> righter the storm we had --
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prior to the storm we were the largest employer in st. bernard parish, we employed the 00 -- 1200 people of which 750 were teachers. now after the storm we have fewer of 400 people of which 300 are are teachers. so we're down to a third of our work force. and what we're trying to do is to make sure, it's so critical to put, to keep those class sizes smaller and to get the teachers in there. because a lot of our children, their educational experiences last year were all over the map. >> uh-huh. >> once that storm hit, we were only in school ten days when it hit. then we reopened 11 weeks late e and kids kept coming in drips and drabs all year long. one day we'd get 10, the next day we'd get 20 more. and those children might have been in two, three, four, five different schools between the time they left us and the time they came back, and some hadn't been to any school if they had been moving from place to place.
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so it was difficult on teachers as they planned lessons, because each day you were getting new students in with a different set of educational experiences. so it almost became an individualized program at that point. hopefully, we're going to be a little bit more stable this year in that regard, and we're trying to keep the class sizes small enough so that the teachers can work with them on an individual basis and make sure that everyone is brought up to where they need to be. >> many of the students and their families in st. bernard are currently living this fema trailer parks that dot the landscape of the parish. >> well, those trailers are 8x29 campers, and if you've ever lived in them -- and i have the last ten months -- they're not meant to be long-term homes for people. and it's tough when you have a family in such a small, crowded space. just something as simple as taking a shower is challenging,
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because these areas are very cramped, and you don't have unlimited hot water. so just daily living in those, in those trailers is quite challenging. and our children are living in those with their families. so it begins to have a complete different dynamic even within our school system. what we would normally have expected of children in terms of homework and outside prompts we've had to totally readjust. so their living conditions really directly affects what they and be cannot do in terms of their educational program. >> uh-huh. >> so they live in close quarters, i finally put in a trailer where at least for our people with washers and dryers in it because just think, there's no place to wash clothes. that was a big issue back in november when we opened 'em for our people to live in. if you wanted to wash a load of clothes, you had to drive 30 miles to find a place to do it
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because there was nothing in the parish, and you had to go to an offshore or through new orleans somewhere into jefferson parish which is the parish on the other side of new orleans. so at that point living, day-to-day living is definitely a challenge for people who have to make those adjustments. and i guess what you have to understand is people were not used to that. they were used to having actual homes which they had spent their whole lives building and making -- making a life for themselves and then with those wiped out, an 8x29 camper for their entire family. so it's rough going. >> so it's coming back. it's coming back. doing a good job bringing it back and stuff. like, this is where people are going to be for a nice little while. >> how long have you been living here? >> man, i'm just visiting. i live in baton rouge, but i'm just visiting right now, seeing
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some people that i know. >> oh, is that right? >> yeah. >> you can watch all our katrina coverage at we leave this program to take you live now to gulfport, mississippi, for a remembrance ceremony for first responders to hurricane katrina ten years ago. coming up former president george w. bush, laura bush and the head of fema at the time, mike brown, will be speaking. right now some musical entertainment as the ceremony just got underway a few moments ago. live coverage. ♪ ♪ washed away, washed away. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ -- we said our last good-bye. ♪ ♪ out of nowhere came an island with roots so deep and wide -- ♪ anchored to the branches -- [inaudible] ♪ and washed away, washed away. ♪ washed away, washed away.
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♪ ♪ [inaudible] ♪ when i look into his eyes, saw the pain -- ♪ washed away, washed away. ♪ washed away, washed away. ♪ washed away --
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>> in other words, sing along. ♪ washed away. >> this is about resilience. we've come back. ♪ washed away, washed away. ♪ washed away >> thank you, david gray. good job. [applause] thanks, y'all. i tried not to cry, okay? [laughter] [applause] so as mayor hughes mentioned, this is, this is sponsored, of
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course, these events cost, cost money. we have amazing food coming up for y'all. so we want to thank one of our biggest sponsors, and this is someone who has a can connection to south mississippi. he's a vice president of global for a little company called walmart. and he is here. come on up, steve dozier. give him a hand and thank you for this beautiful day. [applause] >> welcome, everyone. again, my name is steve dozier, and i am very proud and honored to be part of your ceremony here today. so i'm here representing walmart corporate offices in bentonville, and when they, when they asked me was i interested in traveling to the gulf coast to take part in this ceremony, i was just thrilled because i have to tell you that my path to walmart was one that relates very closely with each and every one of you.
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so i joined walmart in 2007. at the time of hurricane katrina, i led the arkansas state police, and i had had a lengthy law enforcement career. previously to working as a state trooper, i worked as a deputy sheriff, and prior to that i worked as an emergency medical technician. so i feel like i've earned the right to understand and appreciate what you do for the communities that you serve. i'll just tell you that our company is elated with how the mississippi gulf coast has recovered itself. we are so proud of what you've accomplished, and we want to be here for you -- [applause] give yourself a hand. we are proud of what you've accomplished, and we hope to be here with you for many, many more years to come as you continue down your path of recovery. so let me just talk for just a minute about the first
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responders and how i, how walmart feel about you. so i want to just say thank you. and it doesn't really seem like that's enough, but we really do thank you for everything that you did. so ten years ago you left your home, you left your families, your loved ones, and you went out into the devastation searching for your neighbors, neighbors who had been injured, many had lost everything and many were finding themself in a place where they were unable to help themselves. and so by doing that, i think america realizes that you worked very long days and nights. and those long days and nights turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months. but you persevered and you continued.
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and you gave it everything you had as you went about the work of recovering the gulf coast. so i would be remiss if i didn't mention another very important aspect of this, and ask that -- and that's each of the first responders' family, friend, loved ones. because i know exactly how important it is for you to do your job and to do it well, you need that support. you need that love and you need that reassurance that everything is okay at home while you're out helping your neighbors. so thank you to the families. [applause] so we know a lot happened to walmart stores along the gulf coast. and i want to say thank you for what you did to help us recover those stores, for without your help we would have been much slower being able to reopen
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those stores so that we can serve you and serve your neighbors and serve the recovery process. so walmart thank thanks you fort you did to help us. i want to mention brian thomas. brian's with us here today, and i know many of you know brian. he is the walmart market manager here in the mississippi gulf coast region and is responsible for quite a few stores along the mississippi gulf coast. and brian was here and experienced katrina, and this was his home, and this is where he had chose to raise his family. and he knows firsthand exactly what you did for us as well. so, again, walmart sincerely appreciates each is and every one of you for what you did for us. so let me just briefly mention something else. so i told you walmart would be here for you for years to come, and we really mean that. after katrina i think our
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company realized that we're a lot better when we're at our best. our ceo, our chief executive at the time was lee scott. and lee scott asked our company, the leaders of our company after katrina what would it take for walmart or to be that company -- walmart to be that company, that company that responded so well to katrina and did so much for the communities. and that has really changed our thinking, it has changed how we respond, and to a large extent that's why i'm with the company today. i work primarily with a lot of security-related areas, and i have the opportunity and the honor to work with many first responders or around the country. so let me just tell you that last week our current ceo, doug mcmillan, announced that walmart was committing $25 million over the next five years in an effort to help insure
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resiliency around the global and the ability for those suffering from disasters to be prepared to recover themselves. [applause] additionally, we announced $2.9 million that are being, it's being dedicated for nonprofit organizations who will take on much of the challenge around the country and around the globe of working directly this helping prepare community -- in helping prepare communities to be more resilient. and certainly of interest to the gulf coast area, we committed $500,000 to a couple of nonprofits who will work directly this developing programs to serve you along the gulf coates in the event you ever -- gulf coast in the event you ever have anything to compare with katrina.
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[applause] so let me close by just telling you that america appreciates what you do for us. you are among our finest heroes, and what you do does not go unnoticed, and we are forever grateful for what you do. so thank you for allowing walmart to be part of this very special and historic ceremony today. god bless you and thank you for everything you do can. [applause] >> thank you, steve! you know, we live this an america where some folks look for reasons for outrage, right? an america where some folks criticize those who are the first responders. they just take you for granted. well, we saw a period with katrina of selfless sacrifice. there are stories, again untold, that people would give up and give of their time. but i choose to live this america, and i think we all do
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for the most part, where we appreciate what you do. we love and respect and honor the work that you do. [applause] because you are not just heroes, you don't just rise to the occasion at times of calamity. it is every single day that you're out there making a difference and keeping our community safe and our world sane, and we thank you. and we thank god for this blessing on america. y'all are in the trenches every day with folks who you work, you know who you can trust who have got your back, and we all have are roles to play. and i see a lot of folks who serve this community faces every one of them i could tell their story, they could come up, and we'd enjoy every single one. and thank you, elected officials, folks in the legislature, i found out real quickly it happens on the local level. the supervisors, the mayors, the emergency responders. and we're very fortunate there. but i've been blessed to serve with a lot of leaders, and one of them i'm going to have the privilege to introduce now who you see in the public a lot, but you take the measure of a man
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when the lights go down, when the crowds are gone and when the work is done when you do roll up your sleeves and find out what you need to get done. governor phil bryant has been a friend to this coast for as long as he's been in public service which is over 20 years. he has an affinity for us. but he talks a real good game, but he lives by example. just as this community does. we had example after example that we followed, and one led to the other. it's about paying it forward. so i'd like to call to the stage our dear friend, governor phil bryant and first lady deborah bryant, who have toiled alongside us time and again and done the necessary work to help us enjoy the lifestyle and the community and the great state that we have. governor? [applause] >> thank you, first responders!
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[applause] thank you, our men and women in uniform! thank you to our firefighters, thank our police officers, our medics! our volunteerings. volunteers. when i was a deputy sheriff, it was so difficult for me to understand at times how people wanted to say just thank you. you would go and do something, maybe recover something from a burglary that was so sentimental of them or help get someone to the hospital, and they would say thank you. say, no, no, ma'am, that's my job. that's what i do. you see, this is my life, and i've dedicated it to serving others. to serve and protect. those of you that are here today, that were here ten years ago are ten years strong. you're ten years better. you're ten years more determined. we have done a remarkable job in
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mississippi. you have done a remarkable job. now, the man i'm going to introduce in just a moment helped this leading that effort. but it was really the people, the men and women on the mississippi gulf coast, the first responders that were here before the storm had ended. going into harm's way. some of you had lost your own homes, had nothing but the uniform that you wore. all had been washed away, as the song says so beautifully. but you came back strong, determined. you see, everywhere that someone needed help, you were there. they were lost and lonely, crying out. you were there. their home and all that they owned were gone, and they were
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reaching out for someone. you were there. you have always been there, and you always will be there. it has been so since the beginning of time. it is innate within us to render aid and support. those of us that believe we can help others and that that is the best work of life. so we're here today to say thank you in our own special way. now, as i thought about it all year as we created the commission to come down and remember this terrible storm, i thought thought about the loved and the lost, the 238 mississippians that are gone and their families and how we mourn for them and we always will. but i also looked to the future and saw what you have done.
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i see what you've saved. i see what god has inspired here on mississippi gulf coast. i see these wonderful people that have forward with their money and their treasures to say thank you. walmart, what a remarkable sponsor. island view -- yeah, give these guys a hand. all of 'em you see here, hancock bank. [applause] team waste. when people come forward and say i will give what i have earned so that you can recognize those first responders, it comes from their heart. it is not an easy thing to do. but i thought now that we're looking towards the future, let's see if we can't celebrate the victories, celebrate the successes, celebrate the survival and determination of a remarkable people here in this
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remarkable state on this mississippi gulf coast. deborah and i came down a couple of days ago. i remember, i thought back to that first day i came down here like so many in our truck with water and bug spray and medical supplies, and i drove up to the gulfport fire department. pat was there, and deborah had cooked a batch of brownies, and she had put 'em in a bag and put some pink ribbon on the top of it. i said, baby, i can't full that pink ribbon now. you know, i'm going down there where guys are men and they're struggling and they've been working, and you've got this cute little pink ribbon, take that off. she said, i want 'em to have it. some of you, i hope, may have been there that day as we unloaded all of truck, and then i brought out that big bag of homemade brownies. and believe me, to those first responders it was a's of home -- a piece of home, something simple the first lady had done to let you know how much we care. [applause] she's done a remarkable job.
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and i'm very proud of her. now, we've got one of the world's best entertainers, my friend marty stewart. he's going to be here this just a few minutes, so i'm not going to make any long speeches. we've got another guy coming in that used to have a pretty important job, president of the united states. he'll be here in a little bit to honor you. but the man and the woman i'm about to introduce should also be honored. he was our commander in chief. general? he was the first responder. he was our responder-in-chief. this man that helped lead the remarkable effort that people around this world still look to and is an example of how to respond and how to be, how to rebuild. and renew an entire area. haley barerer was there -- haley
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barbour was there day and night. he was the face and the voice and the leadership of mississippi and all of us who wanted to express our desire to make sure they knew we were coming back. this would not keep us down. but if haley barbour was the heart and the face, the face and the voice, marsha barbour was the heart. they're here today to say thank you, and we should honor them for what they have been able to do during the most difficult of times and what they have done since. ladies and gentlemen, the 63rd governor of the state of mississippi, governor haley barbour and first lady marsha. [applause]
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[applause] >> i'm not really on your program -- [laughter] [applause] but i have to say something. i thought i always knew what you did to protect our country and our land. and i, i think i was just stupid, because not until i was allowed to come down with y'all and really see the dedication, the courage on the convoy coming down the night of the storm. everybody, 800, 1,000 people when we were sopped cutting the way down -- stopped cutting the way down behind mdot, what were y'all doing? trying to find out how your homes and your families were. so a thank you goes to your families too for allowing us to keep us safe.
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i can't tell you what i learned firsthand -- [applause] the treasures and the moments that we've shared will be in our hearts forever. and i just thank you for allowing me to serve with you and serve people of mississippi and thank the lord haley would give me both ears every night. [applause] >> that's a hard act to follow. and i've been trying to follow her for 44 years. you know, when you've beared the
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brunt of the worst natural disaster in american history as you all on the mississippi gulf coast and south mississippi did, when you suffered the utter obliteration that katrina carried with it all across the gulf coast from pearlington to pascagoula, every community devastated. hurricane force winds more than almost 200 miles north, north of meridian. 47 of our counties were major disaster areas as far north as columbus and starville. you know, you don't celebrate a terrible calamity like this. we commemorate it, we remember it, but i'm here to tell you there are things about katrina
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that we should celebrate every day. celebrate the strong, self-reliant people of mississippi who got knocked flat by this awful disaster. and yet they got right back up and hitched up their britches and went to work. importantly, they went to work helping themselves, but also they went to work helping their neighbors and their communities. but i can tell you those strong, resilient people could not have done it without you. they could not have done it without you. and it is altogether fitting and proper that we would be here today to thank you and, indeed, to celebrate the fact that there
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were thousands, thousands of first responders like you who did everything that could be done and sometimes it seemed like more. i'll never forget tuesday after the storm, we were flying over the coast in a helicopter, and i see some people in a room, and we were in that hospital. and when you looked out the windows and saw the devastation, it looked like an atomic weapon had gone off in the sound, and the hand of god had wiped away the coast from some places were blocked some places for miles. if somebody had told me sitting in that helicopter there would only be 238 people the die in the wake of katrina, i would have said that's the most
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optimistic, pollyannaish, goofy idea i ever heard. 1600 people died in new orleans and, of course, they didn't have -- they had a terrible tragedy over there when the levees broke, but we're the ones that had the biggest storm surge ever recorded in the history of meteorology. 47 million cubic yards of debris left in the wake, and that just counts the amount the federal government helped us pay to remove. there was no way it would be that few in my mind. but thanks to people in this room and others like you, the search and rescue, the security, the fast reaction saved lives. and i look around and i think about first responders that were policemen and firemen and emergency medical technicians
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and the then 11 incorporated towns on the gulf coast and the three counties. but i also remember the people that came in from the rest of mississippi. nineteen search and rescue teams came in from around the state that robert latham had put together. we brought a thousand national guard, 200 of whom who were prepositioned in the coast counties and 800 -- marsha rode down with 'em from camp shelby along with another 120 highway patrol. and you remember what highway 49 looked like. totally covered, timber and other debris, and mdot crews had to clear out one lane for them to come down. it took about six or seven hours to go less than 60 miles. but they were here, and they were on duty that night.
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the first responders, people who were involved in the health with doctors' offices who immediately joined you to try to provide care and saved a lot of lives. i think about all the state first responders as well as the local first responders, and i thank god for you. i'm glad to get to thank you to your face. i also think about how our sister states helped us. i'm looking at general leon collins. when katrina hit, he was the commander of the 155th combat brigade in iraq. 3,000 mississippi national guard. we had other national guard we brought in, but we brought in more than 10,000 national guard from other states.
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brought that system here and, god bless them and thanks to them. the governor of alabama who was up for re-election the next year, and there had been 10 feet of water that morning in downtown mobile. sent two companies of alabama national guard military police straight to mississippi monday afternoon. said he thought we needed 'em worse over here than they needed 'em in alabama because of the devastation. jeb bush had prepositioned his first responders in the panhandle, because we thought the storm might do like the previous two big storms, ivan and dennis, which right at the last jogged to the east and hit in alabama and florida. he sent them, and they got here before our people at camp shelby
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could get here, because the roads were generally more clear. there are a lot of guys and gals just like you who came from other states. 46 states sent resources to mississippi. and lot of those resources were people, people who were first responders, people who saved lives, people who made sure that we never lost civil order in mississippi, and we did not in any county. [applause] my mama raised my two older brothers and me, and she used to tell us that crisis and catastrophe brings out the best in most people. boy, did i see that time and time and time again in
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mississippi. our people weren't looking for a handout, they weren't looking for anybody to blame. they wanted to help themselves. but they could have never gotten to that point or made do the way they did without you. so this is a wonderful and appropriate event. i can't help but mention, though this is for our first responders and rightly so, we also need to remember the 954,000 volunteers who came to mississippi to try to help our people. [applause] they came from all over america, and that number, by the way, is not pulled out of a hat. we had 954,000 people who over a period of five years registered with a charity or a church that they came to work with. and they were, they were
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phenomenal. and, you know, the first year they got to do the glamorous work of cleaning up, or being down on their knees scraping away the muck, of ripping sheetrock off the walls and tearing out floors, of washing mold off the studs before you could get started trying to rebuild. because the first year we weren't doing much but cleaning up in most places on the coast. and do you know what their attitude was? the most common thing i had said to me by volunteers -- and i met thousands of 'em over five years -- they would say, governor, your people are so nice, and they're so grateful. but, you know, i feel like i got more out of this for myself than the good i've done for the people i came here to help.
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[applause] what a, what a great, what a great comment about america. what a great comment about our people. but also a powerful comment about the religious foundation upon which our country was built, because by and large -- not exclusively, but by and large these were people who came out of religious service. they went to their church and said we want to go help, or their church said we're going to get a bus and go to mississippi. who wants to go? and they came by the hundreds of thousands. and what became clear to me, it was their service to their god. and we had every denomination; property stabilities, catholics,
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muslims, jews. you name it, they all came, and they came to serve. they came to serve. i have to tell you a little story. it's hard to be a politician without at least having one story. there was a mormon group in salt lake city called the morrell corporation, and they called me because they had built most of the temporary housing in salt lake city for the 2002 winter olympics. and they wanted to put that, put that skill to work, 'cuz they knew that we didn't have anything like the kind of housing and that the federal government doesn't allow you to use fema money to house workers. much less to house volunteers. so we found 'em a place at buccaneer state park, and they came in and, man, they knew their business. those of you who saw it, they built a tent really about the
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size of a football field or bigger. it slept 700 people. they put in the bathrooms, the showers, the air-conditioning, the electricity. wouldn't take a penny. they would not take any money from the state or from the federal government. it was their religious service. they were doing this for their church, and the company paid part of it, the foundation paid part of it, and the church of jesus christ of latter day saints, the mormon church, paid part of it. they got me and marsha to come down for the grand opening which we were thrilled to do, over near waveland. drove up and there's a tent, it's just a whole lot bigger than this building we're this right now. and i got out and one end of it was open like this, had a roof that didn't have any walls, and that's where they were going to serve the lunch. i took about four steps out of the car and looked up, and there
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was a great big motor home on the side of it had written in letters about this tall "adventists in action." here's this mormon event, and they were cooking lunch. i thought that was pretty funny myself, actually. so i got up to speak, and i said how many of y'all are mormons? about 225 people, maybe 250 people, maybe 20. how many of you are seven-day adventists? about six. so you've got 220 some people who are neither of the things, and i was too dumb to realize what that meant. and i said, well, what are you? well, they were all baptists and methodists and catholics, presbyterians, pentacostal -- they were all of the same denominations as our churches. 'cuz that's how they got here. i'm a methodist from min minneapolis, and they send me, i want to volunteer, they send few down to the methodist church in
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ocean springs or bay st. louis or wherever. so all these people are here out of religious service. out of service to their god. and the differences of theology are absolutely irrelevant to them, because they're united in one thing. i thought, what a great testimonial about our country. and then as marsha and i walked back to the car a little man walked up to me, about 75, i'd say, in late october. he said, governor, my name's harold, and i'm from new york city. i said, harold, thank you so much for coming. then harold said, last night i called my son who is a rabbi, and i said to my son, should i come home for the high holy days? the most sacred days on the jewish calendar which were about to start. and harold told me, no, dad -- i mean, harold's son told me --
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harold said his son told him, no, dad, you should not come home because you are probably closer to god where you are now. [applause] what a -- [applause] so as we salute you, i hope we always will remember those volunteers. let me close by saying ma that used to only punning -- mama used to always punctuate the sentence about crisis brings the best out in most people with this following sentence: but crisis does not create character. crisis reveals character. the spirit and character that we saw of the people in mississippi after katrina was there before katrina, it was there before
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haley barbour, it was there all along. we only got to see it in the greatest crisis this the history of our state -- in the history of our state and what i hope will a hundred and a thousand years from now still be the greatest crisis in the history of our state. but i know if if a worse one comes along, the good people of mississippi are up to it with your help. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, haley barbour, marsha barbour! [applause] now, when i -- we formed the katrina remembrance commission, i said the only thing i really want to be in charge of is the first responders. and i want 'em to have some good things to eat, and i want 'em to have some fun. i know we have remembered those
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that was lost in the tragedies, but are y'all ready to have a little fun? [applause] so i called a good friend of mine, a guy from philadelphia, mississippi. i hope you like country music, 'cuz you gonna get some. you gonna get some of the best. called him, i said, marty, i need your help. going to have an event for the first responders. he said, i'm in. i said, i got some money, i can pay you, he said, don't need any. i got a guy who can send a bus -- don't need one. he said, phil, i'm going to be there. just get ready for it, because we are coming. ladies and gentlemen, they are getting ready now to come out and entertain ya. ing -- now, we've heard a great presentation by the governor, we've done all we can to thank you. i think the to do is -- the food is, we've thanked our sponsors, kllm, if you've seen these beautiful trucks behind us, are
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going to put about a half a dozen or more of those across america and advertise mississippi and how great it is. when the storm, kllm was here time and time again with water and ice and supplies. they just kept coming. we need to thank them. we -- [applause] we want to thank simmons catfish. you're about to get some great catfish. sanderson farms, joe sanderson and the guys always send us some chicken. i hope we got some shrimp back there somewhere. just a minute. my friend, marty stewart, five-time grammy award winner, entertainment, is going to be up here, and he's going to country rock ya. let's have some fun, first responders, and god bless ya. we'll be back in a little bit with another friend of mine. [applause] ♪ ♪
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[applause] [cheers and applause] ♪ here comes the mississippi down in alabama sweeping like a fever all across the land. ♪ -- people gotta have it, they want to hear some more. ♪ it's a hill billy rock -- play them guitars like shooting from a gun. ♪ keeping up the rhythm, steady as a clock, doing a little thing called the hillbilly rock. >> hey! ♪ ♪ some say it came from memphis down in the tennessee, or it drifted in from georgia by 1953. ♪ long as it's -- long as it's
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fast, long as it's pumping, honey, it's going to last. ♪ it's the hillbilly rock, beat it with a drum, playing them guitars like shooting from a gun. ♪ keeping up the rhythm steady as a clock, doing a little thing called the hillbilly rock. >> yeah! ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ by back in old kentucky where the bluegrass grows, through the carolinas on a dirt red road. ♪ burning like a fire -- ♪ it's a hillbilly rock, beat it with the drum, playing guitars like shooting from a gun. ♪ keeping up the rhythm steady
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as a clock, doing a little thing called the hillbilly rock. ♪ ♪ when the heat starts to rising and you gotta blow some steam -- ♪ ride it down the river, see just what i heene. ♪ juke joints jumping when the cat goes on, whole place is shaking, something's going on -- ♪ it's a hillbilly rock -- playing them guitars like shooting from a gun. ♪ keeping up the rhythm steady as a clock, doing a little thing called the hillbilly rock are. ♪ doing a little thing called the hillbilly rock. ♪ well, doing a little thing called the hillbilly rock. ♪ >> yeah! somebody say howdy! [cheers and applause]
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hello, mississippi. thanks for having us come be a part of this. i heard who it was for, and i would have walked down here to play for you. we're honored to be here. we're honored to be here, all right? [cheers and applause] yes. you're the heroes. somebody say -- ♪ well -- >> come on. i said -- ♪ well, well, well, well, well. >> oh, that's right. ♪ there was a time i could drink my cares away and drown out all the little heart aches that hurt me night and day. ♪ well, the thought of you came crashing through, well, i'd have one more. ♪ but now the whiskey ain't working anymore. ♪ i need a one good honky tonk
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angel to turn my life around. ♪ that's the reason enough for he to lay this old bottle down. ♪ a woman warm and willing, yeah, that's what i'm looking for. ♪ 'cuz the whiskey ain't working anymore. >> somebody say ow! many. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ they knew my name at every bar in town, they knew all of the
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reasons why i was coming round. ♪ in my mind -- when they'd start to pour, but that old whiskey, it ain't working anymore. ♪ i need one good honky tonk angel to turn my life around. ♪ that's the reason enough for me to lay this old bottle down. ♪ a woman warm and willing, yeah, that's what i'm looking for. ♪ 'cuz the whiskey ain't working anymore.
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♪ no, the whiskey, it ain't working anymore ♪ >> go ahead and let it go! [cheers and applause] >> yeah! >> what do you think about the band so far? the fabulous superlatives. ..


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