Project Management

Katrina Revisited (Part 1)

Bob Weinstein is a journalist who covers technology, project management, the workplace and career development.

More than three years ago, Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and wreaked havoc throughout the Gulf Coast. The Big Easy still hasn’t recovered. Even with many studies and extensive reporting after the event, the city’s problems have yet to be solved.
The federal, state and local governmenta all promised aid. Engineering studies were commissioned, driving home the importance of repairing and strengthening the levees; poor neighborhoods (parishes) were reduced to disease-ridden slums earmarked for rebuilding; job creation was promised to reduce the rising unemployment rate.
None of the above took place. Rebuilding efforts and job creation happened on a minor scale, but they were privately (rather than government) funded. And nothing was done to bring back the thousands of residents who left their homes to seek jobs and new lives in other cities. They saw only despair and hopelessness in the city they once called home, and had no recourse but to leave family and friends and abandon a city they loved.
Sadly, Katrina is old news, and New Orleans has been relegated to a back-page, low-priority story. But it is still a hot topic and an unfinished story for crisis project managers, engineers and scientists. There are still important lessons that have yet to ascend to major front-page stories, but that could spur efforts to address …

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