tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 18, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT
industry bringing us there. >> we are looking for great characters. you want your viewers to be able to identify with these people we are talking about. >> it is an experiential type of program taking people on the road to places where they can touch things, see things, and learn. it is not just local history. a lot of local history plays into the national story. >> if someone is watching this, it should be enticing enough they can get the idea of the story. but also feel as if this is in our backyard. let's go see it. >> we want viewers to get a sense that i know this place just from watching one of our pieces. >> the c-span mission, as with all of our coverage, believes in what we do on the road. >> it got to be able to communicate the message about this network in order to do this job. it has done the one thing we
wanted it to do, which is billed -- build relationships with the city and cable partners and gather great programming for american history tv and book tv. >> watched the cities to her on the c-span networks to see where we are going next. see our schedule at www.c-span.org/citiestour. >> next, housing and urban development secretary and members of the recovery team present a media briefing on the gulf recovery efforts in the 10 years since hurley -- hurricane katrina. this is just under one hour.
>> good morning. we want to welcome you for the media briefing ahead of the 10-year anniversary of hurricane katrina. today you will hear from secretary castro and senior policy experts who have worked tirelessly on the gulf recovery from day one. before i turn it over to secretary castro, i want to let you know we will be taking questions from the media as well as viewers on the webcast and c-span2. link urge you to send questions via twitter -- we encourage you to send questions via twitter or by e-mail. h.u.d. public affairs at .gov. please join me in welcoming secretary julián castro. [applause]
julian castro: good morning. thank you for the introduction. let me begin by thanking all of the journalists here today at headquarters as well as those i know are joining us over the internet. in the coming days, americans will turn to you as we commemorate the tragedy that the felt our -- befell our nation a decade ago. that forr so terrible all of us, it will be remembered by one word. katrina. they will turn to journalists to account with so many endured and what none of us can forget. amid the devastating numbers, more than 1800 lives lost, more than one million americans displaced, one million homes destroyed across five states, $150 billion in economic damage.
amid all of those numbers, americans will also look for answers. how much progress have we made, particularly in new orleans? what are we doing to support the recovery in the affected communities? today is about providing answers, but it is also about more than that. we are also reaffirming american history tv -- h.u.d.'s commitment to the people of the gulf to continue working with them and for them until the job of recovery is complete. you see, as long as there are people who want to come home and communities that need to be rebuilt, our job is not done. that is the true meaning of commemoration. not to simply mark a date on our
calendars, but to ensure remembering also renews our , ourion to those we lost dedication to support those who to seed, and our resolve the promise of our nation made to new orleans and the gulf fulfilled. 10 years ago, i was proud to live in a community that stepped into support the evacuees the earliest days of katrina. 25,000 35,000 people fleeing the storm came to san antonio. we were just one of many cities whose residents opened their arms to families in need. across the nation, h.u.d. played an important role to help displaced families find housing and get back on their feet. h.u.d. partnered with more than 300 public thousand authorities inpublic housing authorities
39 states to provide housing for nearly 39,000 families. in the gulf coast states, louisiana, mississippi, texas, alabama, and florida, h.u.d. worked closely with disaster recovery leaders to support an ongoing recovery. through our community develop me initiativen, we havet, -- initiative, we have devoted nearly $20 billion. nearly $14 billion of that funding has gone directly to support the region's housing market. h.u.d. has provided compensation for 158,000 affected households. we have also helped nearly 2900 andlies to buy new homes have created almost 36,000 new units of affordable housing while rehabilitating another
13,000 housing units. h.u.d. is also central in the redevelopment of damaged housing throughout the gulf, especially in what were known as new orleans'big for developments. katrina displaced 3000 families living in those public housing buildings. 2015, four new, attractive, mixed income developments are a vital part of community life in new orleans. the new orleans housing authority, which once was the set -- beset by mismanagement and under-receivership by h.u.d. has made an impressive turnaround and was returned to local control in 2014. supportof h.u.d.'s to the broader economic recovery, our agency invested $1.6 billion
to replace and improve streets, utilities, sewer lines, schools, hospitals, and dams. hasew orleans alone, h.u.d. helped build 82 new schools as well as 11 colleges and universities. our agency also helped open more than a dozen hospitals, clinics, and other health care centers. we have helped rehabilitate 20 parks and more than 20 fisheries and completed dozens of water and sewer projects. say thatproud to h.u.d. has played a role to help nearly 5500 businesses, most of them small businesses, three open their doors -- to reopen their doors. this morning, you are going to hear from some of the men and women whose service was essential as h.u.d. supporting
families in the gulf. earl randall is our new orleans field office director, an outstanding leader. and right at the head of our response to katrina. not only did earl and his team work around the clock to rick -- aid the recovery effort, they did so while grappling with their own personal loss. they were among the storm's heroes. i want to personally thank earl for his excellent work in these last few years. he continues to represent the very best of our federal workforce. earl is going to be joined by todd richardson, h.u.d.'s associate deputy assistant secretary in our office of policy development. todd knows more about these issues than just about anyone. but even more importantly, he
cares deeply about getting the policy right for those who count on us. i know he and earl have put together a great presentation for you about the human aspect of this tragedy. following that, they will be joined on stage by three more of our colleagues, mary mcfadden serves as assistant secretary for grant programs in h.u.d.'s office of community planning and development in she oversees a number of programs that were instrumental in the recovery effort. she has also done great work on the long-term hurricane sandy recovery, so be sure to ask her a lot of good and tough questions. lynn's executive director in our fair housing and equal opportunity office of enforcement. lynn brings a wealth of knowledge concerning how we are working to ensure all families, no matter the background,
regardless of what they look like or how much money they make, can take part in the gulf coast's economic future. and finally, they will be joined by the deputy assistant secretary for public housing and voucher programs. milan was central to our work to not only rebuild damaged public housing but also to help turn wantd new orleans' struggling housing authority. that't have to tell you over the last decade, the road to recovery that they are going to discuss has been long and challenging. but i think you would agree with whilehas also shown that that storm was tough, the spirit of the people of the gulf coast has been even tougher. their resilience continues to
inspire us at h.u.d. because as much as we have accomplished in the last decade, all of us are very aware our job is not done. today, the city of new orleans, for example, continues to grow. more than half of the city's neighborhood have recovered 90% of their population from before katrina. and 17 communities are larger than they were before the storm. but there is still so much more work to be done. i am proud to say we have worked with local leaders to build a stronger new orleans and a gulf coast that all can be proud of for future generations. as we mark 10 years, our work continues. we will keep working hard every day until the gulf coast come ack is- come back -- comeb
complete. thank you. with that, i would like to turn things back over to jaime. [applause] >> thank you, mr. secretary. we are going to take a brief artist prepare for the next part of the program and be right back. jaime: next, i would like to welcome will randow -- earl randall and todd richardson.
earl not only responded to the crisis, he lived through it. todd is one of our data experts that when h.u.d. works on something, it is not just about the output of dollars, it is about the impact those dollars make. todd has vast knowledge about our work on the ground. so i will turn it over to them. [applause] the: the dust bowl of 1930's, the chicago fire, the galveston hurricane of 1900 and the 1906 san francisco earthquake. these were catastrophic events that changed lives forever and transform leases. katrina joins these disasters of the last century and our language about transformative events. as the secretary noted, over one million damaged of homes and tens of thousands of lives disrupted for many years.
1833 lives lost. fema can tell at you the story of response. h.u.d.'s story shared with a number of federal, state, and local agencies is about the recovery of the last 10 years for the families and places most impacted by the storm. as noted in the introduction, i'm todd richardson. my role after disaster is to find the data and make sense of it. earl: i'm earl randall, iii. i provide the on the ground perspective behind the data todd presents. todd: the winds of caused damage over a large part of the southern u.s. but the catastrophic damage of katrina was in louisiana and this is a be. same, thewas the disaster manifested differently. for mississippi with the storm surge crushing houses along the
oceanfront, pushing them up against the raised rail bed. earl: in new orleans, it leveled thousands of homes. the flood right -- floodwaters continue to rise until september 1. todd: the word we heard most often by victims and first responders was devastation. isl: the slide you see now the night toward where the levee breached and the floodwaters devastated all the homes in its wake. there were dozens of homes completely washed off of their foundations and people suffered a tremendous loss. efforthe debris removal led by the corps of engineers was massive. this is a transfer station for debris. secretary, more than one million housing units were damaged across five states.
over 278,000 homes suffered major and severe damage. the: you may have heard statistic that 80% of the city of new orleans was underwater. large portions of gulfport and biloxi were inundated with water due to the storm surge that approached. todd: more than 1800 people lost their lives and one million displaced residents. we are now going to pivot from the destruction of katrina to the recovery. these next at a points are made possible by the united states postal service. this slide from "the new york times" shows one year after katrina where folks had relocated to using u.s. postal service data. 270,000 households in the new orleans area filed change of address forms. one year later, 200,000 were still living -- still having their mail forwarded. earl: as a result of katrina,
new orleans residents were spread across the country. in the immediate aftermath, inse residents were placed various modes of transportation and sent out to different parts of the country. what did this mean? this meant lives were changed forever, and stability had to become an essential factor in surviving. the pre-katrina life of everyone affected was temperately frozen on eight/29. going backal note, into the new orleans field office three months later, i went to my desk. the calendar was set on the date we left. people had left coffee mugs in the same position. it was an eerie feeling walking back into the office and seeing it the way you left it three months prior. that was the symbol of what people's lives were. when you left, when you evacuated whether voluntarily or you were involuntarily rescued, your life was frozen at that
moment in time. earl: how long does recovery -- todd: how long does recovery take? the postal service can tell us about active actresses -- addresses. my friends at the data center have been tracking the number of addresses taking mail by zip code. account of active addresses is now 90% of what it was before the storm. when you're after the storm, it had been 50%. two years, 67%. three years, 72%. gradually each year, until 90% at 10 years. recovery has been at a different pace for different neighborhoods. in lakeview, it was 85%. that is the bottom line. in new orleans east, which had the most houses affected of any of the neighborhoods, the top line, the redline, 82% of addresses have returned.
earl: in these two neighborhoods in particular, they both shared something in common. there was a higher rate of home ownership. there was also a higher rate of insurance in those areas. that is what attribute it to 85% and 82% of those residents coming back. todd: these two middle lines are the neighboring communities of st. bernard parish and the lower ninth and bywaters areas. 72% of pre-katrina addresses have returned. in st. bernard parish, 63%. they were the most devastated communities in the city of new orleans. they were inundated with a significant amount of floodwater. their rate of return has been much lower due to the lack insurance as well as the home
ownership ratio and mentors. the was a lower number of homeowners in those areas at a higher proportion of renters. type: the research supports this. the more severe the damage, the greater the concentration of longer it takes to rebuild, the less likely to rebuild. if there is inadequate or no insurance, the recovery process is slowed years. we have a few aerial photos thanks to my colleague, dana. this is a picture of an area in the lower ninth ward. in 2003, it had 95 homes. earl: the aerial shot in october of 2014, there were 47 homes. if you looked at the previous slide and saw the cluster of homes, that was the cultural aspect, a way of living.
my grandparents lived in the lower ninth ward. both sets of my grandparents lived around the corner from each other, so we had cousins, aunts, in almost a commune setting. that was our way of life. that was our culture. once katrina hit, that changed not only for my family but all the families that lived in the same type of environment in the lower ninth ward, all of the neighborhoods affected by katrina. life changed at that moment. things you used to do on a daily basis, you could not do any longer because of the change in the dynamics. parish, at. bernard few blocks away, this lowers -- borders on the lower ninth ward. in 2003, it had 84 homes. earl: 2014 shows only 15 homes returned to that area. todd: h.u.d. is the recovery
funding of last resort. we only provide funding when there is a sense the existing mechanisms, insurance, disaster loans, fema assistance, the corps of engineers, will not be enough recovery. h.u.d. received three rounds of supplemental appropriations through the disaster recovery program to fill those gaps. we had an initial appropriation of $11.5 million -- billion dollars. that was followed by $5.2 billion and a final $3 billion when he realized the homeowner recovery programs in louisiana had more needs than anticipated. as this slide shows, private insurance played a big role. $41 billion, $18 billion for homeowners. the national flood insurance program played a big role for 211,000 claims. philanthropy has been very important to recovery, $6.5 billion. tax credits have been an
important part of rebuilding. as noted, h.u.d.'s program filling the gaps at $20 billion. the slide notes how much of funds went to each state. the majority of the damage and returns went to louisiana followed by mississippi. as todd mentioned, the disaster funds were the funds of last resort. on the ground, those funds were the driving force in recovery. it was with those funds that were flexible and caused the community to think how to meet their specific recovery needs. what it would entail and how we address the plight of homeowners, how we address the plight of renters, filling in the gaps for businesses that were shuttered due to the disaster. our disaster dollars filled major gaps in recovery dealing with housing, economic
development, and critical infrastructure. these funds still had to a tear to requirements that have the funds used had to serve low income. they must follow the environmental, civil rights, and labor laws. one of the most challenging aspects of dealing with disasters cdbg is it does not come with a preset structure. it is inherently incumbent on those communities to design and implement their plan of recovery. it gives them a template to address housing, infrastructure, and economic development. but they must design a criteria for recovery. to simplify a lot of these matters, louisiana and mississippi both adopted a compensation program for homeowners. it was providing substantial grants to homeowners to cover the gap in funding left by insurance and other resources. by accepting these grants, homeowners agreed to rebuild by
a certain date. if homeowners chose not to rebuild, those homes would be deeded over to the state. in louisiana alone, 130,000 families received compensation. this was an average award of $69,224. 92% of those individuals selected the option to rebuild. 8% chose to deed their homes to the state rather than rebuild. todd: again, how long does recovery take? point in july of 2006 of 98,000 active addresses to the 179,000 active addresses today, an increase of 80,000 active addresses over the decade. most of these were likely supported in some form by the community development block grant or low income housing tax credit assistance provided. 42,000 of the grants were in orleans parish.
approximately 15,000 affordable rental units have been developed in orleans parish. many through the tax credit program as well as with small rental repair program using cdbg funds. my read on the arc of recovery through julybump 2007 was likely due to people who had insurance or needed just enough of the rebuild funds to recover relatively quickly. but the rebuild from years 327 was slower as many families struggled to manage construction and others still did not have enough resources. in 2011, we surveyed the property owners who have not rebuilt. their top two reasons for not rebuilding were they did not have enough money to do the work or they were not able to get a loan to get the work done. earl: from the neighborhood standpoint looking at the speed 11,000very, although
chose to sell their homes to the city, the concentration of those that did not choose to rebuild were heavily concentrated in st. bernard parish with 4300 units and the lower ninth ward with 1100 units. that is why we see the lack in recovery. -- lag in recovery. with the property being sold back to the state, it left a void. that void -- we saw that void in the aerial photographs. the resilience of individuals that you choose to come back is evident by their willingness to come back, but also to come back under circumstances that things will be different. things will be different from the way they were. utilizing some of the vacant properties to do green initiatives, to work on drainage and other aspects of the neighborhood to reduce rainwater runoff, so there were some aspects were individuals took
the opportunity to take a more palette to rebuild and recover. this was some evidence in st. bernard parish and the lower ninth ward. todd: from our survey in 2011, we asked movers and those who chose to stay about the satisfaction they had with the current home they were living in. both movers and those who chose to stay had about the same level of satisfaction. in 2011, those who have chosen to move are much more satisfied with their neighborhoods. 70% were very satisfied. those that had chosen to remain and rebuild, only 48% of them were very satisfied. earl: as we look at that data point, when we talk about the satisfaction of the individuals that decided to come back and rebuild, we have to delve into why they came back to rebuild. a lot of those chose to rebuild because they did so with a passion he wanted to rebuild
things like they used to be. 8/29,tated before, as of things totally changed. when you choose to rebuild, you choose to rebuild your plot in life. when you look to your left and right and your neighbor does not come back, that is a difference. that affects your psyche when it comes to rebuilding. if you walk to the corner store that you frequent and it did not reopen, that changes the mindset to rebuild. when you come back to rebuild and your church does not return or anyplace you socially frequent is not return, that add something to your psyche of rebuilding. we can look at this and see the individuals that chose to rebuild were less satisfied. becausee less satisfied the passion with which they approached rebuilding was different. they had to reshape how they
want to rebuild and live in what is called a new normal. gears to's switch another important topic. what happened to the pre-katrina renters displaced by the storm? two years after katrina, fema was still providing rental assistance to more than 40,000 families through temporary housing units and direct payments to landlords. households,those none have been receiving housing assistance prior to katrina. fema asked h.u.d. to use its agencies tore and take over the rental assistance responsibilities for these families. the disaster housing assistance program was funded by fema and h.u.d. coordinated the work with the public housing authority. from august 2000 72 november of 2009, h.u.d. provided assistance to over 32,000 households.
306 public housing authorities in 49 states participated. in addition to providing housing, h.u.d.'s partners also provided case management assistance. the average income of participants was $18,500. the transition for some was fairly easy. for others, it was quite difficult. this difficulty lead to more than half of the participants eventually to transition from the fema-funded dental assistance to h.u.d. rental assistance, primarily vouchers. in 2010, 50 5% of the participating families were receiving h.u.d. rental assistance. we looked at this for 2015. only 35% of those folks are still receiving rental assistance from h.u.d., so they have been gradually transitioning off the rental assistance. but it has taken 10 years. of those nearly 13,000
participants still receiving assistance, we can tell a story about where they are today. we can see today that of those 13,000 still receiving housing assistance from h.u.d., 38% are in orleans parish. 21% are in other parts of louisiana. 6% are in mississippi. 22% are in texas. 13% are in other states. dehab, a lotte on of times we miss the true story of what it did for individuals assisted -- previously assisted with public housing. get stepped up to the plate and assisted individuals that were not assisted with public housing before the storm. individuals that lost everything in the storm, did not have a job, they were able to lean on h.u.d. for assistance in the aftermath of katrina. it not only took care of all of assisted individuals
affected, but it also stepped up to take care of individuals that had no place to go with nothing left. h.u.d. also worked with privately owned multifamily housing as well. in alabama, all 225 impacted properties have been fully restored. in mississippi, 420 of the 422 impacted have been fully restored. in louisiana, 387 have been fully restored. us into a longer conversation about the journey h.u.d. has taken with new orleans over the past 10 years. the symbol of that journey has been the redevelopment of the big four housing developments. approximately 3000 units of occupied public housing for
katrina was demolished. approximately 1500 unoccupied units was also demolished in the redevelopment. of the redevelopment called upon express developers to redevelop these sites. the funding sources ranged from credits investment, tax $29.59, fema's but significantly cdbg kicked in an additional 15 million dollars at a critical time in the financial crisis to get a lot of these developments over the finish line. that, it had over 7000 total public housing units. only about 4000 occupied. families who had wanted to return to orleans -- new orleans have generally retarded been housed. of the -- generally returned and been housed. 2015,e data that shows in
3303 are still living in housing assistance. i-71 1% of those are in orleans parish. 13% are in texas. 10% are in another state. parish st. bernard before katrina. this is the new st. bernard parish called columbia park today. earl: these are mixed income developments. they are both public housing and non-public housing units. residents of mixed income levels, they are built with public and private funds. they include a mix of uses such as retail, recreation, education, technology. they are attractively designed built with green requirements. they are accessible unlivable units to all.
we showed the before picture of st. bernard. we saw what was there after. to put some perspective in place, the st. bernard housing development was the largest in the city of new orleans. but it was also one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city of new orleans. prior to katrina, the year before katrina, in the st. bernard neighborhood and surrounding neighborhood, there were 479 attempted felonies. one year after the development of columbia park, there were only two. we are not only changing the bricks and mortar of public housing, that we are elevating the lifestyle. we are elevating life. where elevating the quality of life for families living in public housing. get went from one of the most notorious neighborhoods in new orleans to one of the most desirable. atyou vacated new orleans the time of katrina and came back now, you would not know
where you were if you have not been back. that is a testament to change. that is a testament to changing lives and redevelopment. todd: post-katrina we have invested in the choice neighborhoods program. this is a picture of the transformation here. 2005, a combined 9000 households lived in public housing or received vouchers. are approximately 20,000 families as a result of the recovery act. todd: we are helping more families today in new orleans than 10 years ago. new orleans is a smaller city. it is growing, but it is a smaller city. in 2000, the population was nearly 485,000. in 2015, 300 79,000.
the metro area is also smaller. it is 93% of that, 1.2 million. more than half of new orleans neighborhoods have recovered 90% of their june 2005 population. 17 neighborhoods have more than they did in june of 2005. what about the next 10 years? over the next 10 years, h.u.d. will work with new orleans and the mississippi gulf coast, as we do with communities across the country, we will continue to focus on affordable housing, decent neighborhoods, ending homelessness. and on that last point, one recent victory in new orleans, region effective zero at ending veterans homelessness. irl: over the last 10 years, have been extremely proud to represent this agency on the ground in new orleans because new orleans is my home. i was born and raised in new orleans.
my wife says i will probably never leave new orleans. i am proud to say h.u.d. stepped up to the plate. the recovery of not only new orleans but the entire gulf coast and portfolio of disaster affected communities we reached across this country are heavily dependent upon the resources h.u.d. provides. if you look at a community without h.u.d.'s presence, you're probably looking at a blank canvas because everything we touch is an agency helps to sustain those communities over the long haul. in the 10 years to come, i am proud to say the department is reevaluating every pledging its commitment to moving forward with the gulf coast because it is needed. we have done a lot of great things over 10 years. but we still have a lot of hard work to do. committedoward is --i'm glad h.u.d. is committed to doing that work. todd: thank you for taking the
time to hear our story. [applause] thank you, todd and earl. before we turn to the final part of the program, let me reintroduce the folks who have not spoken yet. milan, and lynn. for the assembled media, if you're going to ask a question, go to the microphone for the t.v. audience watching. folks can still submit questions @hudgov and #katrina. for folks that might ask a question at the mic, we have questions that have come in.
this is from national public radio. maybe if we start with todd and anybody else feel free to jump in. has the shifts, from public housing to vouchers after katrina had the desired result of moving low-income families to more mixed income neighborhoods and opportunity? it seems to have just shifted people to other high poverty neighborhoods, some which are less convenient for poor families and the housing projects in new orleans. todd: one thing that is important is the statistic i gave for the participants still in the voucher program. they are not just in one place. they have moved to lots of places. they are not limited in their choices. the voucher has given them that flexibility. that has changed where people can choose to live. it is hard to find housing in new orleans and other parts of the country. rents are high in many places
limiting choices about the neighborhoods you can live in. it is not a perfect story. many families are still in high poverty neighborhoods. but the voucher has given more choice to many families than they had prior to katrina. jaime: anybody else? to russ zimmer and might start with marion on this one. nearly $1 billion was unaccounted for in louisiana. has that shaped how h.u.d. interacts with new jersey's program? is h.u.d. more involved in rulemaking or more hands-on in general and do these measures result in a slower distribution of grant funds? >> we learned the importance of being hands-on with communities as soon as possible after a major disaster. when the obama administration
came in, immediately h.u.d. and fema set to work creating a framework to make sure the entire federal government is there for communities. we were able to work much more closely with new jersey and new louisianawe were with post-disaster, post-katrina. we have been part of designing their programs. i would say in terms of the missing $1 billion, i'm not sure exactly what that refers to, but i assume it is reference to an evaluation done by the inspector general that proved to be about half $1 billion which was provided for elevation for homeowners who did not have enough funds to get their homes elevated. one of the things we learned in katrina is it is much more effective when the state or local government providing assistance is hands-on with ameowners in doing
reconstruction program as opposed to handing funds over to homeowners and letting them manage the recovery process on their own. jaime: great. the next question, let me find it. how is the sandy recovery progressing in comparison to the gulf coast at this point, about three years after the hurricane? >> it is always difficult to compare disasters. statistics,he hurricane sandy damaged or destroyed about 650,000 homes up and down the eastern seaboard. there were 650,000 homes damaged or destroyed in louisiana alone. you cannot compare them side by side. but i would say the design in louisiana of giving money to homeowners allowed them to push a lot of money into homeowners' hand said about the two-year mark.
but that does not mean the recovery is moving more quickly or that it did move more quickly on the gulf coast than we are seeing in sandy. we are seeing in sandy is each of the grantees is doing a real reconstruction program and managing the process. new york state and new jersey are moving at a good clip. that said for families waiting to have their homes repaired, it is never fast enough. lines, areg the same there any lessons learned from katrina that have informed how h.u.d. handles disbursement of sandy recovery money? we could go on all day about the many lessons we have learned. that first one is to ensure the grantees are doing real thatwner rehab programs, homeowners are not left to their own devices to try to manage their recovery. cdbgse when we get
disaster funding it is because the scale of the disaster has been so large. it is too much to ask all homeowners to manage their own contractors and dealing with the process. that is one of the most critical points for us. earl: one of the most critical lessons learned is the lesson of preparation. i think katrina, rita, ike, gustav, the oil spill, and other dusters -- disasters have taught us to be prepared, has taught grantees to share information they would not have shared if not for those events before. it has taught us as a department to reach out to those grantees and encourage them to share across state lines, across boundaries. one of the jewels that came out of the golf course recovery -- gulf coast recovery is you have created a college of knowledge between texas, mississippi, alabama, and florida.
that knowledge has been shared with our friends on the east coast with new jersey, new york state, new york city. is lessons we have learned the critical lesson that you don't start from scratch when a disaster hits. you have resources you can t ap. you also have an agency in h.u.d. that will step up to the plate and recover with you. >> at the federal government, we have learned to do that as well, to work better across the federal government. the president set up the task force a couple of months after hurricane sandy to ensure that we were coordinating, not just on housing, but all aspects of recovery, particularly infrastructure work. we saw a lot of frustration in the gulf coast about the pace of infrastructure projects because of the need to do permitting and coordinate across the federal government. we wanted to make sure we had a forum for that which has proven
effective on sandy that we did not have after katrina. jaime: we have a question from a webcast fewer, a freelancer. is h.u.d. tracking where katrina evacuees live? largely, no. but we do know where folks with were still receiving housing assistance. in the charts as part of the presentation, there are two numbers i gave for the housing assistant program and what happened to the former residents of public housing. for those still receiving housing assistance, we can see the have chosen to live in multiple places. for the former public housing residents still receiving housing assistance, the vast majority have returned to orleans parish. many of those folks were not from orleans parish. they were for other parts of louisiana or mississippi. many have chosen to stay in
texas, which received a lot of families, or other states. a lot of families chose to go to other states. we do see folks have moved. we have seen new orleans is a smaller place. jaime: i just want to remind folks in the room we only have three or four minutes left. if you want to go to the mic, go with it. >> i am with fox business. new i.g. ask about the report that just came out stating more than 25,000 over-income families are in public housing now, some making hundreds of thousands of dollars. we have been talking about texas today. that was where this happened, it was in the top three of where this happens. talkwondering if you can to us about how the department would justify spending taxpayer money on this, as well as if
there will be any changes made. >> their question is specifically about over-income families -- your question is specifically about over-income families? >> yes, in public housing. >> it is important to note the law allows for housing authorities to serve over-income families if upon admittance they were under the income limits. , having over-income families help to do -- helps to diversify incomes. the families living in public housing developments. support the programs we in terms of redevelopment have that component to it in large measure trying to mix incomes as well as uses to create diverse neighborhoods. while there is some disagreement between the oig and department about the benefits to having a
diverse income group living in a particular development, we will continue to follow the law and reach some accommodation with the i.g. about following up with recommendations about how to identify and address their concerns. change tohe law did change the flat rent policy for public housing. for those families living in public housing that are over-income paying flatlands, their rents will go up in accordance with the law. no more than 35% in any of three successive years. the rents for those families will be paid more than less had -- had more to fair market rents than incomes. >> my name is robert garcia. better prepared for natural disasters after katrina.
what would be the biggest take --four h.u.d. from katrina? todd: i will start with that. we all have different roles. i think we are better prepared. we continue to try to improve each year with the things we need to do better. i don't think we can say we are 100% fully prepared for another disaster on the scale of katrina. that was very significant. but we did learn a lot from katrina, and we are making improvements each year based on those lessons so that we can be more prepared for a big disaster. >> i think one of the big takeaways for me is how we work with other federal partners, specifically for me, it was fema and taking over the rental assistance efforts.
that was critical. i am with ear rep. john lewis: -- i am with earl. we have thrown a lot of statistics at you. we knew folks were traumatized. not just the folks who had to evacuate, but those there to help as part of the recovery. we insisted as part of the dehab process that there was strong case management. we knew families, especially families most vulnerable who had to get on the bus and go to houston, arrived with a close -- the clothes on their back. it was not just about paying rental assistance. it was about furniture, pots and pans, reading glasses left in the home that needed to be replaced. withations, doctors, help wraparound things that affect so many of the families that had to
leave new orleans and surrounding areas. to me, that is one of the biggest takeaways from our work in terms of that recovery part. making sure we are treating evacuees as real human beings going through trauma and giving them that level of comfort and service necessary. for me, that was the big takeaway. question.ou for the for me civil rights and equal opportunity perspective, i think one of the biggest lessons we have learned is the importance of working closely with states in developing their plans and implicationsthe and consequence of policies that might seem neutral but can have very adverse impacts on communities of color. i think we have learned to not
focus strictly on the needs of homeowners to rebuild, but also to focus on the rebuilding of rental housing stock, particularly low income rental housing stock, so that low income renters that tend to be people of color have an equal opportunity to return and that we replenish the community as closely as we can to the weight used to beef or everybody -- the way it used to be for everybody. that is one thing we have learned to do quickly and anticipate. earl: one note on that. another takeaway we have learned as an agency is there is no cookie-cutter approach to disaster recovery. what may happen in louisiana will be different from what happens on the east coast or west coast with wildfires and other disasters. we know that now, we are better
able to address the needs of those communities where they are and what they are dealing with. it gives us a better approach to working with those communities where they are at the time of disaster. >> in terms of our responsibility as stewards of the taxpayer dollar, i think what we have learned from katrina and sandy as well as some of the 2008 disasters is we have a role in encouraging communities to use the federal dollars we provide to them every year to ensure their communities are more resilient. and to use our experiences around the country to educate communities about what they can be doing with their own dollars as well. every time they are building, they should be thinking about the current and future risks their communities face. jaime: we are just about out of time. if there are any final thoughts from our panel, we will wrap it up. all right. thanks, everybody, for tuning in and being here in person. [applause]
>> we have more about the 10th anniversary of hurricane katrina on monday when "atlantic magazine" hosts a symposium evaluating recovery, disaster preparedness. environment and race expected to be discussed. that will be live monday starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern right here on c-span. the road to the white house continues to wind through iowa. join us later today for remarks from governor john kasich. he will address voters at the state fair. you can see that live starting at 5:00 eastern on c-span. tonight, liberal activists at the annual left forum in new
york city. the final day of the event featured speakers discussing the goals and people of leftist movements. among speakers were hip-hop artists and community organizers. here is a preview. >> of the democratic party for me is a set of interest groups that cooperate during election time. they represent different groups with different interests. some represent corporations fighting for things like t.p.p., and they fight for imperialism and many things we would disagree with. but other parts of the democratic party fighting to have more rights for unions and increased wages for low income workers and more rights for people who work so families can be better off. those other parts of the democratic party, in my opinion, should not be conflated with the other parts. called davidson talks about -- carl davidson talks about there being a six-party wisdom.
within that theory, there are cultural elements of the democratic party. i feel i am part of one of those elements and bernie sanders is the champion of that faction. i'm going to do what i can to support him because i would like to make that faction victorious over the corporations. >> that is a brief portion of tonight's program from the left forum. you can see it in its entirety right here on c-span. senate in its august break, we will feature book tv break, starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern. here are a few book tv special programs. saturday we're live from jackson, mississippi for the inaugural mississippi book festival beginning at 11:30 a.m. eastern with discussions on harp he lee, civil rights, and the civil war. on saturday, september 5, we're live from our nation's capital
for the 15th annual national book festival followed on sunday with our live in-depth program with former second lady and senior fellow at the american enterprise institute lynn chaney. book tv on c-span 2. elevision for serious readers. >> now it's new orleans mayor mitch landrieu. he appeared at the national press club here in washington, d.c. earlier today to talk about the tenth anniversary of hurricane katrina. this is about an hour. >> welcome to the national press club. my name is john husein editor for bloomberg first word, our
breaking news desk here in washington, and i am president of the club. our guest today is new orleans mayor mitch landrieu, who joins us near the tenth anniversary of hurricane katrina. first i want to introduce our distinguished head table, which includes club members and guests of the speaker. from the audience's right, adam shapiro, c.e.o. of adam shapiro, public relations. pat mcgrath, former national correspondent for wttg-tv. and a former national press club board member. bill lovelace, energy columnist for "usa today." dr. karen desalvo, acting assistant secretary for health in the u.s. department of health and human services and a former health commissioner for the city of new orleans. she is a guest of our speaker.
marilyn g. wax, senior business editor for national public radio and a national prep club board member. donna brazyll, a political strategist and syndicated columnist, a guest of the speaker and a new orleans native, and she served on the louisiana recovery authority. tommy burr, a reporter for the salt lake tribune and vice president of the national press club. skipping over our speaker for a moment, rod cuke row, a reporter with energy wire and a member of the club speakers committee who organized today's lunch. we thank you, rod. i also want to mention that rod kukrow organized the national press club's katrina rebuilding trip in 2008. betsy fisher martin, washington editor of "more" magazine and a new orleans native. peter harkness, founder and
publisher emeritus of "governing" magazine. glen marcus a freelance documentary film maker and member of the press club's press freedom committee. [applause] i also want to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences and you can follow today's lunch on twitter. use the hashtag npc live. that's npc live. hurricane katrina was the costliest natural disaster in the history of the united states. it forced the evacuation of nearly 90% of the residents of new orleans. nearly 1,500 of them lost their lives. 15 feet of water covered many neighborhoods. five years later, the city's recovery was steady but slow. thousands of houses were vacant
or uninhabitable. the pre-katrina economy had yet to reappear. that's when our speaker stepped up. he was louisiana's lieutenant governor at that time. he said he wanted to take over the recovery effort as the city's next mayor. this was a job that his father, moon landrieu, had held in the 1970's. when mitch landrieu was elected in 2010, he became the first white mayor of a black majority city in the united states since his father held office. he enjoyed broad support across racial and demographic lines. when he was re-elected in 2014, he nearly matched the 66% winning percentage he had posted four years earlier. now as we near the tenth anniversary of katrina, data on tourism and the economy show
new orleans in many respects is as strong as it was. a recent poll by the kaiser family foundation and national public radio found that many residents feel the city has made significant headway. at the same time the poll exposed deep racial disparities in the recovery. it also showed concern that the rich, cultural gumbo that makes the city special is changing. so where do we go from here? let's leave it for our speaker to tell us. ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm national press club welcome to new orleans mayor mitch landrieu. [applause] mayor landrieu: thank you. thank you all, to the folks in the room and thank you to the head table. i thank you so much for having me. 10 years ago hurricane katrina
hit the gulf coast and in the blink of an eye everything changed. american citizens, 1800 of our brothers and sisters, were killed. 1 million were displaced. 1 million homes were damaged. 250,000 were destroyed. communities were torn apart. and, in fact, scattered to the winds. in new orleans, the federal levees broke. infrastructure, man made failure of epic proportions that resulted in flood waters surging over the roof tops of a great american city. 80% of our city was under water. $150 billion in damages. in a moment everything -- everything was gone. homes, roads, schools, hospitals. police and fire stations. grocery stores. parks. playgrounds. our lives as we knew them were gone. and as the flood water swallowed our neighborhoods, it became a life-or-death struggle for thousands who are still stuck in the cities.
those stories are seared in our souls forever. the rushing flood pulling people under, survivors trapped for days with little or no help, hundreds on the roof tops, people trying to keep their heads above water, the blazing louisiana sun. american citizens crowded in front of the super dome in huddled masses at the convention center. more stranded in the port of st. bernard. floating, bloated bodies on the streets of america. our nation sat, jaw dropped, gaping at the images, considering the possibility that an entire city could be gone, and wondering how in the world this happened in our beloved country. but in the midst of all of this death and all of this destruction, something else happened. the sun came up.
and in the hours, days, and weeks that followed, another flood came. this time it was a torrent of people. louisiana state, department of wildlife and fisheries agent, and the u.s. coast guard, with our friends and our neighbors pulling thousands of people out of the water. at their side the cajun armada, a small navy of private vessels from all across coastal louisiana, recreational boaters of all kinds saving lives on the flooded streets of new orleans. and backing them up, a whole legion of people coming, literally, from everywhere. in came the national guard, the military, along with our policemen, our fire, e.m.s., medics, and other elite volunteers from coast to coast. literally within days, canadian mounties had boots on the ground in the small city of gretna outside of new orleans. israeli relief workers followed, and countries from australia to qatar to the u.a.e. gave millions and sent supplies. the red cross, second harvest, salvation army, catholic
charities, united way, habitat for humanity, and so many others united by faith, united by civic purpose rushed to our side and to our aid. and then together, together we started to clean up, sweating the heat, clearing away the devastation, and putting our lives back together. together, crying over photos that somehow escaped the deluge. together sleeping on church floors in tents. a mostly still dark city lit by camp fires, midwest and northeast accents blending in real nice with the southern drawl. from sea to shining sea americans helping americans, citizens helping citizens, neighbors lifting up neighbors. it was a teacher in baton rouge showing kindness to a scared child on her first ever day of school outside of her city of new orleans, a nurse in atlanta who helped an evacuee get the medication, a landlord in shreveport who found places for
families to stay. as former houston mayor bill white said, quote, people saw this as an opportunity for us to do something that was right for our country as well as for our fellow americans. it was one of our country's darkes moments but we found salvation, light, and hope from the angels among us. those angels made real for us the psalm of david that joy cometh in the morning. so now as we approach our tenth anniversary of katrina, we in new orleans want to remember all of those that we lost and we want to again count our blessings and, again, say thank you to those of you that helped us survive. over the last 10 years new orleans has been through hell and high water. not just katrina but hurricane katrinas rita, ike, gustav, the bp oil spill, and the national recession, all of it. but here's the thing. we won't bow down, because we don't know how. by our nature we are resilient.
we are a hopeful people. in fact, even after all we've been through, a recent poll of new orleans residents done by the kaiser family foundation with n.p.r. found a whopping 78% of residents are optimistic about new orleans' future. so new orleans has gone from literally being under water to being one of the fastest growing major cities in america. with thousands of new jobs, new industries rapidly improving schools, rising property values, and a new, stronger flood protection that will reduce the risk from future hurricanes. our city has stood back up and this comeback is one of the world's most remarkable stories of tragedy and triumph, resurrection and redemption in one word resilience. we are america's comeback city. in new orleans, necessity you see really was the mother of invention, and after katrina, it was do or die. the storm laid down a gauntlet and with this huge tragedy came a huge responsibility to make it right.
during katrina many died and for many more the storm was a near death experience. it changed us and those who have endured such pain will tell you that when everything is slipping away, the natural instinct is to tighten your grip on that which used to be secure, struggling to hold on to just what was. but here's the thing. the people of new orleans took up the challenge that fate had laid at our feet, resolving not just to rebuild the city we once were but to create the city that we always dreamed she could be. to do it, we had to fight through the agony that comes with disaster and change. there's no doubt that our progress has been anything, anything but a straight line. and, lord knows, we have a very, very long way to go. after all, the storm did not create all of our problems. our issues are generations in the making and shared by every other part of america. but after katrina i've often told an old cajun joke my dad
used to tell me. budrow and thibodeau got a pilot to take them all the way to canada to shoot moose. they bagged six big old moose. as they were loading it on the plane to return the pilot said hey, men, you can't put all six of those moose on the plane. they're too heavy. we're going to crash. they said hey, pa, last year we shot six. the pilot let us take us in the same plane that you're flying right now. the pilot gave up, got in the plane, took off. but even on full power the little plane couldn't handle the load and went down and crashed. miraculously, thibodeau and budrow survived the crash. they're lying in a pile of rubble. budrow sees thibodeau and says, hey, t., you have any idea where we are? thibodeau says, yeah. we're in the same place we was last year when we crashed. [laughter] that's just a little home cooking from the south. the point is obvious. it's especially clear after katrina. if we continue to do the same
thing over and over again we should expect the same outcome. so after years of anxiety, after years of fits and starts, we made the decision to change. and what has yee merged on the other side is the premier example of urban innovation in america. because we had to. because we had to, new orleans has taken on the toughest challenges, showing the whole nation what it takes to make progress. forever proving that where there are new solutions to all of the old problems that we have. for example, 10 years ago new orleans schools were considered some of the worst in the country. two-thirds of our kids were in failing schools. now we've moved past what was a broken, top down system, and created a new way defined by choice, defined by equity, defined by accountability. i hope we can join together to celebrate the remarkable progress that's been made for our kids. i want to thank all of our parents, our students, our teachers, our administrators. both those from new orleans and those who have moved in to help more recently.
they've worked tirelessly on behalf of our kids. today nearly every student attends a public charter school and families use today have only one choice for their kids can now apply to nearly every school in the city. in new orleans, geography is no longer a kid's destiny and we've raised the bar insisting schools serve every child because in new orleans we know every child can learn and every child has the right to a great education. in addition, we said our kids need clean, healthy, safe school buildings. so now $1.8 billion of federal funds is being invested to rebuild, renovate, and refurbish nearly every school in the city. that means outstanding new learning spaces to help our kids thrive and realize their god given potential. before katrina the achievement gap between the kids in new orleans and the rest of the state was over 25 points. now that gap has nearly closed. before katrina the graduation rate hovered around 50%. now 73% are graduating on time.
fewer kids are dropping out. more kids enrolling in college. all told, this year's hundreds of new orleans seniors have earned over $75 million in scholarships at over 300 different colleges and universities. one of these high school graduates is a kid named jiron. a few years ago he wasn't going to pass the tenth grade let alone go to college. his mom and dad sold drugs. unfortunately they both went to prison. as you can imagine he struggled. then he enrolled in one of the new schools with a special focus on college. for him and for us it has made all the difference. jiron said and i quote, "in life you have two choices, to be defeated or to conquer." he said, "i choose to cong oiu" and he did. this fall he'll be a freshman at morehouse college and a great shoutout for this historically black college and university who this year graduated 400 new leaders for the rest of america and i say go maroon tigers. i'm really proud of them. thank you.
[applause] mayor landrieu: his story is inspiring but it's just one example of a very real impact of our new system of schools. however, that is not to say we are anywhere close to perfect. anyone that comes to new orleans can see that we have a long way to go. but we're improving faster than anywhere else in america. besides schools we've tackled improving health care delivery system as well. 10 years ago if a kid got an earache his mama had to take him to the emergency room at charity hospital, sit there for 13 hours just to get him checked out. now in new orleans we say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and a network of neighborhood health clinics initially funded by a federal grant after katrina have endured. i am so happy to see one of the principal architects of this new system with us today, dr. desalvo, a former health commissioner of new orleans and now president obama's acting assistant secretary for health nd human services. [applause]
mayor landrieu: because of karen's hard work and a lot of other folks and so many people today new orleans has the st. thomas health, community health center. prevention is the name of the game. soup-to-nuts health care in the noobhood from chronic disease management to pediatrics with a focus on women's health. that means thousands of mammograms done every year at st. thomas. lives being saved through prevention. all told, neighborhood health centers like st. thomas serve 59,000 patients across the region every year who would otherwise get much more expensive health care at emergency rooms. add this to the billions we're investing right now. we're building two world class hospitals right downtown in the heart of new orleans. one for our veterans at the new va hospital and the other our new university medical center. for generations to come our honored veteran warriors will get the care they need and deserve. taken all together ours is a real model for the rest of the country. you know what? it works. 10 years ago katrina was the
last straw which broke the back of an economy that had been struggling for 40 years. now we're creating thousands of new jobs and spurring promising new industries like water management, digital media, and bioscience. plus world class companies like g.e. capital are expanding in new orleans. here's the thing. we can't leave anybody behind. we have to create prosperity that anyone can follow. so in new orleans we help entrepreneurs like a young man with a dream to open his own business, a grocery store in the lower ninth ward. he got support from the city and now you know what? he's done it. this is the exact spot where 12 feet of water sat for weeks following the levee breach. and at our hub entrepreneurs called the idea village new vibrant ecosystems have yee merged where talented people can get the training to support what they do to turn big ideas into new businesses with new jobs. plus, in new orleans, we're in
the midst of a retail and restaurant boom. now, no other place in the world would lose 100,000 people and gain 600 more restaurants than we had before katrina but we did. and only in new orleans. these businesses are opening and thriving neighborhoods where top of the new private investment more than $1 billion in affordable housing is available or coming online. 14,000 300 units for low income families there. new orleans's notorious big four public housing developments which were run down and dangerous did not give the people what they needed or deserved so we converted the public housing into mixed income communities with amenities like schools, health care, and transit. we can see this at the old st. bernard development. it's now known as columbia park. the st. bernard was one of the oldest public housing developments in new orleans first built by the roosevelt administration during the depression. over the years it had fallen on
hard times and by the time katrina hit, 25% of the 1300 units were empty and the area was known for its violence. then the levees broke. and as the sun rose the day after the storm passed, the st. bernard development was 10 feet under water. like everything else, we resolved to build back st. bernard not as it was but like it always should have been and the way people deserved. now columbia park is a world class example of mixed income public housing that embraces public/private partnerships and true development. the master plan for the neighborhood includes newly built schools and early childhood learning center, a recreation facility, library, playgrounds, retail, and green space. plus crime is now way down in columbia park. in fact, since katrina we've made tremendous progress citywide on crime reduction, and this is good. our murder office
rate topped the nation. now we've changed our approach and put special focus on prevention paired with tough enforcement. last year new orleans hit a 43-year low for murder. but we still have a very, very long way to go on this issue. this year, unfortunately, across the nation and in new orleans murder is picking up. and with nearly 15,000 americans lost every year to murder in this nation, a disproportionate number, young african-american men, is clear that this crisis goes well beyond new orleans. it is a national disgrace and a moral outrage that so many american citizens are killed on the streets of america every day. stopping murder should be a national priority. black lives do matter. and we should act like it in america. [applause] >> but of course across the board fighting crime and preventing murder is just one part of the criminal justice system. 10 years ago when katrina hit there were about 6,000 inmates
in new orleans parish prison. it was a prime example of mass incarceration at its worst. we were the most incarcerated city in the most incarcerated state in the most incarcerated world in the country and now we are pushing back against mass incarceration like nowhere else in the country. we've cut our daily prison population down to about 1800 inmates a two-thirds reduction. and e sought to be tough at the same time lock up the violent bad guys who threaten everybody but make fewer unnecessary arrests. provide alternatives to incarceration, pretrial services, improve case processing times. create wrap around services for those citizens returning home so they don't go back. there must be peace. black lives matter whether lost to shootings or to years in prison. we're also making tremendous progress on combating homelessness in the city of new orleans. in the years after the storm new orleans had 11,600 people
on the streets. now we are down to just over 1700. this year we became the first city in america to officially end veteran homelessness. we have a long way to go but are making great progress. finally and importantly, new orleans has become a global leader in emergency preparedness. 10 years ago none of us were prepared for a storm like katrina and we suffered the terrible consequences. now everyone is on the same age. in partnership with a local not for profit we developed a city assisted evacuation plan. now due to mandatory evacuation officials along with the faith based community and community organizations are seamlessly coordinated. we provide transportation to residents and to those why unable to self-evacuate and have extensive registries so we can take care of the bedridden and the sick. since katrina, we had a broader cultural shift and now emergency preparedness has
become ingrained in our daily life. you will see landmarks across the city called evacu spots, our physical symbols of our preparedness. then there are other physical manifestations of our continued renaissance. $1.63 billion being invested to reinvigorate neighborhoods with new roads, new parks, new playgrounds, new community centers. $320 million for public transit infrastructure and we're about to break ground on our new airport. new orleans is on a roll. like 78% of our residents i am optimistic about our future. but we have big-time unfinished business and throughout the last 10 years our ongoing future efforts will be supported by our partners. one of the key partners is with us today. he rockefeller foundation.
through the 100 cities initiative next week we'll unveil a new strategy to ensure new orleans is a global model for resilience in the 21st century. we are already on our way with new modern infrastructure and levees with the bp oil spill settlement and new revenue sharing taking effect we finally have partial payment . r hardening our assets they helped break it and they need to help fix it. really all americans have a stake in the future of our coast because contrary to popular belief gas does not come from the pump. it comes from us and every year the gulf coast via louisiana provides america with more oil and gas than we import from saudi arabia. we are the tip of the spear when it comes to energy independence and as we protect louisiana's coast, we also
protect america, our economic security, and our national security. but here's the thing. to be truly resilient we can't just build up levees or change how we live with water to protect our wetlands as important as they are. we need to do all those things but to be truly resilient as a ciety it means combating other stressors like poverty, inequality, violence, racism. to be truly resilient we must create a city that can adapt and change no matter what may happen with climate change or the global economy. that means a government with a regional mindset which can both respond to a shock like hurricane katrina and prepare our people for the future. that means a 21st century education system, broad base economy, so nobody is left behind, being inclusive of everyone in the community, breaking down the walls that divide us and coming together in unity.
our goal is nothing less than to create a city of peace, opportunity, and responsible for -- responsibility for all. a city for the ages. we're not there yet and we're far from perfect. but the people of new orleans are committed to their city. and know we are on the right path. indeed, this is what we do as americans. we work hard. we dream of something more, something better. we should always remember our history in its totality and remember how far we as a people have come. in 1776, the aspirational words found in our declaration of independence that all men are created equal certainly ring hollow to many and must have been especially ironic to the slave for them neither liberty nor equality were in reach at that time. through more than two centuries of tumultuous change we have made progress in a million of ways. but, still, this is the big message the nation should take from what we saw 10 years ago at the super dome and the more recent unrest on the streets of
baltimore, ferguson, and across america. we have still fallen short. we still have not fulfilled the promise of being one nation, indwizzibble with liberty and justice for all. but here's the thing. we can get there. as we turn the corner on the tenth anniversary of katrina and look forward to new orleans's 300th anniversary as a city in 2018 our challenge is to continue to move forward because we have a long way to go. it is critical to understand where we are in the broader context sitting in the deepest of the deep south states once called this nation's back water. well, that back water has changed. and now new orleans has become a beacon of light. the capital of what some have called the new south. so i believe that the south will rise again but not the old south. the old south of slavery, civil war, confederate flags, monuments that revere the confederacy, separate but equal, i'll go my way you go yours, that south is gone.
the new south led by new orleans is a place where diversity is our greatest strength not a weakness. where our collective wisdom and energy is combined to be something that will benefit everyone. a place that understands the totality of our history and the importance of our culture. faith, family, or friends. a place which combines old and new into something truly special that people want to be a part of. a place that understands what it means to come together in unity and wrestle with the good, the bad, and, yes, everything in between. at the mouth of the mighty mississippi river, we in new orleans lie at the heart of this ongoing struggle. but we've shown what's possible. that from the worst disaster that can be rebirthed, out of despair there can be hope. out of darkness there can be light. out of destruction, beauty. hope must bring eternal faith. the motivator of all that seems lost. and with your help, we have changed. so on behalf of the people of new orleans, i say thank you.
thank you to the american taxpayer. thank you to the federal government. thank you to presidents obama, presidents bush 41 and 43 and president clinton and president carter for their work. thank you all for your support and for your prayers when we needed them most. thank you for caring for us during our time of need. thank you for your donations and thank you for your support. thank you for caring about a city that care forgot. but we are unbowed and unbroken. we in new orleans will press on one step at a time. we are one team, one fight, we are one city. we are one united states of america. thank you very much. [applause] john: thank you, mr. mayor. we invite you to come back up now for some question and answer.
noted the ou progress made and also mentioned challenges remain. of the things you're still working on, of the things that haven't come back yet, what are the one or two things that bother you the most, the biggest challenges that you still face do you think? mayor landrieu: well, more than one or two. i would just say that one of the things that we've spent a lot of time on the last five years is structurally changing and institutionally changing the way new orleans addresses long-term, chronic problems. there was a great article written about detroit that said detroit didn't go bankrupt overnight. it took 40 or 50 years. one of the things we really concentrate a lot of time on when i became mayor was changing the institutions in government, changing our relationship with the public/private sector. digging down deep and tearing out the foundations that created bad results. as a consequence, we are now much better at being able to resolve the issues that were
with us before the storm. and we share the same issues with every other major city in america. in the city of new orleans, crime continues to be a problem. we have too much of it. we need to get better at it. blight reduction continues to be a tremendous challenge though we've taken down more blight than any city in america. i think only detroit had more than we did. we've taken down about 15,000 properties in three years. we now have a system moving in the right direction. because of the new system we've set up we now have people complying. blight, primarily, are private citizens who did not come back to take care of their property that left with everybody else. we have challenges in that issue as well. the economy, though it continues to do better, you have to continually be vigilant. finally, within that framework that i mentioned and the npr polls show this, not with standing the fact that 78% of the people are optimistic about the future of new orleans, that doesn't mean everybody is happy about the situation that they're in today. and there continues to be in
new orleans like there is all over america, and this is now being discussed in the presidential campaign under the guise of income and equality, opportunity and equality, different people talk about it different ways. i think it is clear some americans are doing better than others and my best guess is the numbers you see in new orleans would be almost identically reflected in some of the other major cities in america. we have continue as redesigned the city of new orleans to be prepared for the same kind of difficulties we're seeing all across america. i would put them in generally the same category. our education system, though we have made tremendous progress and are moving in the right direction, is not perfect. there are some holes in it. we have to continue to work on that and we will do so in the same way and with the same amount of intensity and aggressive leaning forward that were done in the past couple years. thank you. john: is it your sense that the npr kaiser poll that you just referenced was accurate in finding the large disparities between whites and
african-americans in their view of the recovery and another questioner says, i notice on a recent visit to new orleans extensive gentrification of many formerly black neighborhoods. is this good for the city in the long run? mayor landrieu: well, you know, polls have a lot of good information in them. i think this is a well done poll and i think the poll is an accurate reflection of the way people in new orleans feel. it is very good to get a poll that says 78% of the public thinks you're heading in the right direction. and -- or 73%, you know, feel good about the recovery. that is a very positive thing. but that poll, again, revealed difficulties that we not only have in new orleans but all across the country about the way, the difference between poor people and wealthy people, african-americans who don't have and african-americans who do have. y sister, donna, will tell you
a lie and remind you maybe the best quote was the one who said when it gets hot the poor get hotter and when it gets cold the poor get colder. that is universally true and certainly in the city of new orleans. though the damage was $150 billion the amount of reimbursement after the levees work was less so there is a gap and consequently what we found in rebuilding the city is those who had got back faster than those who had not. that does cut across racial lines in some way but it really has as much to do with class. so we have 73 neighborhoods in the city of new orleans and you will see that a good manny of them, black and white, have come back and done well, but some have not most particularly the lower ninth ward though we've invested $500 million in with new schools, new community centers, new fire stations, continues really to struggle. that is going to be an issue that we mayors across the country really have to think about in terms of rebuilding our relationship with the
federal and state government because we believe we're partners in that. that partnership is frayed over the last years. so as congress continues to fight about the things they fight about and hopefully pass an infrastructure bill quickly because we need it, we have to get to the next big issue about how to integrate cities into the lifeblood of the relationship between the federal, state, and local governments. 85% of people in america now are living in cities. the demographic trends have completely reversed and people are moving back into the cities. we'll have the same challenges as the rest of the nation. i just think we're in a much better position to deal with those things. you have to earn this every day. if you let it go or stop being vigilant or stop showing up it can go back and is not going to be as good. we just got to keep at it. john: how prepared is new orleans to respond to another storm like katrina if there is one? is the hurricane protection infrastructure strong enough? mayor landrieu: okay. i'll put my parochial hat on.
the levees broke. this was not a man made, this was not a natural disaster. this was a man made disaster. if a category five rolling in at 12 miles per hour of speed that has winds of 150 miles an hour hits any city in america, you should hope you would have gone by then. i think hurricane sandy demonstrated to us that we have many, many vulnerable cities. guess what? on the scale of new orleans isn't even on the top. i think miami is number one. charleston is up there. new york is up there. i have said many times in defense of our great city that has had ridiculous things said about it by the way by seemingly educated people that the storm did not just hit us because we were bad people. it just didn't. inthere is this modern myth about that. you can get a gold cup on bourbon street for 24 hours somehow hurricane katrina came in and wanted to smack you. that is really not what
happened. we have lots of hurricanes that come in and oust the southern part of the country, come in, go out, a wind event. i don't want to out anybody but sometimes people have wine arties on their porch. [laughter] mayor landrieu: and the wind comes in and goes out. catastrophe did not occur in this instance until the federal levees owned and operated by the federal government broke. new orleans is a canary in a coal mine for this country. for those of you too long to understand that please ask your parents. but on infrastructure investments, on income inequality, on housing, all of that stuff, the rest of the country can learn from the things that new orleans suffered through and then learn hopefully from the ways that we have learned to fix them as we have paid the debt back to you over time. the third thing is this. the city is much safer than it was in terms of hurricane protection before. because we have spent $14.6 billion federal dollars on fortifying the levees to what they call category three standards.
and if another event came in just like this one, at the same speed and the same time, we have really good reason to believe that we would be fine. now, having said that, that is not an invitation. when the mayor calls for a mandatory evacuation in new orleans or in new york, right, or in south carolina, to just think we're going to beat mother nature. you're not. so our hurricane evacuation plans are better. our building plans are better. this is where the coast comes in, too. the coast that you hear us talk so much about that protects the oil and gas infrastructure, that protects the nation's national security and energy security, also protects the physical space of new orleans because as the storms come in, if that coast retreats the storm surge is higher and that storm is not only the protector of the cultures and people that live there but also the buffer for new orleans, so the coast is important, the levees are important. rebuilding is important. having a plan is important. all of those things. that's why the corps of engineers calls it a risk reduction strategy. you can't ever guarantee that you're not going to get hurt
but today new orleans is much better prepared and we're much stronger. >> do you believe that the bp oil spill is still having a negative effect on the bayous and coastal environment of louisiana and, if so, what is being done to counter any long-term effects of this spill? >> well, again, as i started the speech, tried to remind everybody that the city of new orleans, because at the time we were a massive tourism destination, had suffered dramatically after the attacks of 9/11. that the whole tourism economy went to nothing. we were in a weak state but we had just gotten back up after three years of devastation. then katrina hit us. then three weeks later rita hit us. then ike. gustav. then the national recession. then the bp oil spill. a lot of lives lost in the bp oil spill. an untold amount of more physical damage that was done. i would say our relationship
with bp had been somewhat strained since then. i do think that there is residual damage from that storm. do think that recently bp and the state of louisiana and most of the litigants have now resolved their differences. i think we are on path to cleaning up and making sure that not only does that never happen again but that the money that is coming down through the amount of money that bp has to pay in fines through the restore act that senator landrieu passed, or the fair share act, that we have now accumulated, are accumulating a portion of money that is necessary to fund the master plan for restoring the coast and for cleaning up the coast. we have a very long way to go on both of these things and there's not enough money in it to actually make it happen. louisiana has been in an historic fight led my sister senator landrieu on the shoulders of those going back forever to make sure that in
louisiana if we offer ourselves to the rest of the country as a place that is going to provide oil and gas that we have to get revenues back to restore that which we bust up. this may seem really common sense we've kind of lost. you can drill but you've got to restore. that is called being a good steward of our national resources. we are not in the debate of drill, don't drill. we've found a way to do that and trying to find a way for the fisheries and authentic cultures and the oil and gas industry -- everybody has to be doing it for the purpose of helping the people of louisiana and the people of the country. if it's just to benefit other folks and share holders and you don't put money back in to fix it you are going to basically give away the possibility of future energy independence for the country. we don't want to do that. i don't believe that yet we have had a complete communion between the private sector and the public sector, washington, the state, and new orleans about how to come up with the complete solution. i think we're well on our way. i believe that our relationship
with bp has gotten much better. i think now folks are starting to come to the table. i don't think we're there yet. i do think at the end of the day what it has to be about is preserving the livelihoods of the people that live in louisiana, work in the industry, protect the land so that the nation can be energy secure and economically secure. john: you have something called the nolan patrol, a group of civilian officers who handle quality of life issues and crimes and was created in 2014. it was touted by you and others as a way to help make the streets safer for residents and tourists alike. the first patrols have been on the streets for some months now. have they had any real effect on crime do you think? mayor landrieu: well, first of all, they are not police officers. they were never meant to splant police officers. what they were meant to do was take away from police officers the need to do mundane things that enforcement folks could do so the police officers could actually fight crime.
yes i think they have made a great difference. one thing that continues to be a challenge in the french quarter which is a residential neighborhood, business neighborhood, and receives a lot of tourists is to make sure laws get enforced so there can be safety on the streets and civility on the streets and that traffic can keep moving. many of you have seen this in new york. you may not notice the difference in the colors of the uniforms but some of the officers are in police uniforms and actually have a traffic division just like the one we have just created designed to make sure that the quality of life issues are taken care of, traffic keeps moving so the police officers themselves can work on violent crime. we've made great success in the french quarter. we continue to do that. we continue to have challenges in the city of new orleans relating to crime just like we do all over america. in this instance, protecting the french quarter is critically important. guess what? so is protecting every neighborhood in the city. we have 73 of them. and i want to protect all the tourists that come in town and i want to protect every
resident there. we're making great progress. we've been under federal consent decree for five years. the city has been forced by the justice department to pay most of that by ourselves. we continue to work with the judge and our federal monitors retrain, supervise, and hire more police officers and we will continue to do that. that is like fixing the plane while it's flying in mid air. it is not an easy proposition. i feel pretty good about the progress made but like anything else i would say it's a work in progress and we have a way to go. john: what are you doing to improve police-community relations, particularly in the african-american community? mayor landrieu: first of all, that is a great question. in new orleans we have always spent a lot of time on this. you see this manifesting itself all across the country. when there is an event that takes place between a police officer and a citizen. there is a fraying that is evident all over america. in new orleans we spend a lot of time with community leaders. we have in each police district
something called cokeo officers quality of life coordinating officers. we have liaisons with the community, advisory boards in every police district that we have. we have regular meetings with the faith-based community to make sure they know who the captain of their district is, who the commander is. the police chief, himself, is a n elder in his church who spends a huge amount of time across the community and staying in touch makes a big difference. the people of new orleans have demonstrated time and time again that they are amazingly resilient and thoughtful and reasonable. we have had a couple of police involved shootings. one of them resulted in the arrest of a police officer and he is serving time because he did a bad thing. one of them did not because the circumstances indicated that there were guns drawn. the police officer was trying to defend himself.
in both instances, after the shootings, the justice system worked. the independent police monitor showed up. the federal police monitor showed up. there was an open, transparent analysis of what happened. there was due process and then justice was done. those circumstances, when you have that everybody is fair minded about it. i'm not saying in all instances the families are always happy or the police are always happy. but the system of making sure that there are equality and fair justice is something that i think we've gotten right in new orleans in the last five years. everybody knows about the event that took place during katrina, which were awful. those matters have been winding through the court system and in some instances because of reversals and other things are still pending. there is dramatic difference now in the new police department and the work that we're doing. again, this issue is not just about policing the community. it lays on top of economics.
it lays on top of geography. it lays on top of housing, historical inequities, blight. when we start talking about crime in america, this is not just about the police showing up after the fact and whether or not they arrest appropriately or secure appropriately though that is important. there is a much deeper dive the united states has to do as it relates to how are we going to make sure that everybody in america has an opportunity to do well? and i don't think we really scratched the surface on this. quite frankly i don't think we talk about it easily in this country. race is really something that scares us. race is really something that's hard. and so the way we like to say this in new orleans is you can't go over it. you can't go under it, you can't go around it. you really got to go through this. you have to be very sober about it and very thoughtful and give each other a lot of room if we're going to get there. i think it's really clear that in this country as much as we have aspired to be in a post racial world, i think it's pretty clear that we're not there yet. i think we could get there.
and i think there's demonstrable evidence given what's gone on in south carolina, what's gone on across the south that people really are ready, although it's really hard and it hurts and there are histrionics on both sides to have a discussion. finally i would say this. this is not an either/or between the community and the police. we've got to get back to where the community and the police are one, whether they're on the same time. i think a lot of police officers feel under assault in this country. in many instances there are bad police officers that have done bad things. by and large most of them do the right thing for the right reason. the same thing is true of the community. i think a really sober discussion that has been taking place through the u.s. cop ference of mayors, all across this country, are things we have to move to not away from because it's a problem we know we can solve because it hasn't always been this way. john: do you have any authority to pardon or commute sentences of nonviolent drug offenders? if not, would you support any such legislation or approach for a mayor? mayor landrieu: i don't have
any authority to do that. most of all of the -- well, a lot of things are settled in the, in baton rouge at the state house rather than on the local level. but i will say this. when i was lieutenant governor i led something called the juvenile justice reform commission designed to look at the juvenile justice system and determine whether or not we were arresting the wrong people and not arresting the right people, whether we were spending our money the right way, spending too much or too little. we looked at the state of missouri and found in missouri they really started thinking about it right. what they found was that we were arresting the wrong kids for the wrong reasons and putting them in a wrong place and not arresting the right kids. as a consequence we were spending way too much money. we weren't getting a good result. the recidivism rate was higher. it turns out that exact l thing is happening in the adult prison system in america as well. as a consequence, i'm really heartened by the work i see on the federal level. this is one area where actually the feds are out pacing the
states. and you got a bipartisan coalition funded by the koch brothers of all folks and some other folks that have come together and decided we kind of have it upside down. a lot of this has nothing to do with violent criminals that are committing violent crimes. this has to do with people committing nonviolent crimes that for a whole bunch of reasons did not get appropriate mental health or appropriate substance abuse treatment. the consequences are fairly dramatic. significant. i have a federal judge basically ordering the people of the city to become the hospital for mental care for prisoners. we are about to spend more money by a lot on a few people that are incarcerated where if we spent one-half of it on the outside of the jail house door the circumstance would be a thousand percent better. and so as a consequence of those kinds of policies that are not really lining up with each other you find a huge number of people that are in prison.
a huge number of people cost just on a cost per day for taxpayers a lot of money and if there is a better, smarter way to do it that's cheaper that makes them get healthy and makes the streets safer and reduces the resid sism rate why in the world wouldn't you want to have a serious discussion about that? this is one thing i think we are ready to talk about in this country and i'm very hopeful that the state of louisiana on the state level will participate and not just let the feds talk about 20% of folks that are in the country in jail because most of them are in state prisons. i am very encouraged by it. would like to participate. at the evend the day streets have to be safe but woo very to be smart, too, and make sure when folks come out of jail we don't put them in jail so they can go right back. it doesn't seem to be fiscally prudent and isn't good for the streetseer either. thank you. john: this questioner says residents and mayors alike regularly lose hubcaps or front end alignments driving over new orleans's notoriously crumbling streets. is there any plan to
systematically tackle this problem? [laughter] mayor landrieu: i'm tempted to tell you a story. on the night before i was sworn in i went to my father who had been the mayor, secretary of hud, smart guy. been around a long time. i was looking for some fatherly advice, maybe a hug. i love you. something. i said tomorrow i'm taking the oath of office. you got anything you want to tell me? he says, yeah. tomorrow at 12:00 you own every pothole in the city. [laughter] mayor landrieu: never was a more prescient thing said by one man to another. we have literally repaved more streets in new orleans in the last three years than most mayors have in the history of the city. the city was wiped out. if you go down any major street in the city and by the way it costs $7 million a mile to repave the city. we got a lot of miles. it would equal $9 billion if we were going to fix all of them.
because we had limited resources and the reimburse the didn't match the damage that's what we focused on. almost every major city, every street in the city has been done. but this is like the issue of blight. i can tell you we've taken down more blight than anywhere else in america and it is true and i hope maybe we'll get an award or something. but it doesn't really matter. it might matter to somebody, in "governing" magazine that we did that, but not to the person still next door to the house, one house that's blighted. same thing is true about pot holes. the city of new orleans as you know was built on a swamp. we have terrible what we call interior streets. the truth of the matter is as we have been rebuilding all of the stuff in the city from schools to airports to all of the things we need, we've got a major problem with our interior streets which, by the way, are sitting on top of a sewer system that was destroyed by katrina that's bleeding 40% of its water. and i am still in a fight with the federal government about making sure that they reimburse
us adequately so we can actually put that plan together that you asked me about that will allow us to impart, begin to put the interior streets back together. that negotiations not yet done. fema has been a really good partner but they don't give you anything. you got to wrestle and make your case because the american public has a right to make sure we don't get reimbursed for anything we don't have a right to and do get reimbursed to everything we do have a right to. when that is done we will put together a long-term plan because that is the next big infrastructure piece. it goes and finally to something that the u.s. cop ference of mayors has talked a lot to congress about, every mayor in america says this, every congressman says it but nobody will vote for it. infrastructure in this country and lack of investment is making us noncalumet tiff with other major countries that are going to eat our lunch. that's true about airports, ports, roads, bridges, interior streets, exterior streets, way behind. this is something that we really have got to work on in this country that is going to
require a national conversation and a federal partnership. not necessarily the same thing but both have to matter. this has been a call in the u.s. conference of mayors across ideology. republican mayors, democratic mayors, big mayors, small mayors on the ground living this reality are actually yelling out to congress the one thing we all agree on is massive infrastructure investments so we can compete on a global level. john: i have some house keeping. the national press club is the world's leading organization for journalists. to learn more about the club visit our website press.org and to donate to our nonprofit journalism institute visit press.org/institute. i'd also like to remind you about upcoming speakers. this thursday, august 20, republican presidential candidate rick santorum will
discuss his immigration plan. on september 2, south carolina governor nikki haley will address a luncheon and the topic, mr. mayor, is the new south. and on september 5, the press club will hold its annual 5-k to raise money for journalism scholarships, training, and press freedom. i now would like to present our guest with the traditional national press club mug. [applause] i think there are many suitable beverages in new orleans you could enjoy in that mug. we will not even list them all because it will take too long. louisiana is well known for its colorful politicians. in your opinion, how does donald trump compare with the governor
huey long and former governor edwin edwards? [laughter] >> first of all, let me say this -- i'm really looking forward to nikki haley's speech. i think she did something really in south carolina. i think elected officials put that behind us and look forward and do it in a way that makes the south really strong. the south has a lot to offer the united dates of america, and we think that -- without getting into competition with our folks from the north east and west, we can lead the nation, but we got to put down this issue of race. we got to make sure everybody in this country feels included, and i thank her for leading that effort and look or to partnering our friends all of across the south to talk about what the new south looks like across the country. donald trump would fit in real good with s