First Day of Hurricane Season Used to Illustrate Lack of Congressional Interest in Post-Katrina New Orleans and Increased Threat Caused by Loss of America’s WETLAND
New Orleans, LA – On the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, Women of the Storm and America’s WETLAND: Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana launched Storm Warnings II, a series of events in New Orleans to dramatize the increased danger caused by the continuing loss of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands and illustrate which U.S. states have sent Members of Congress to visit New Orleans post-Katrina and which have not.
Featuring, scientists, jazz musicians and school kids joined by leaders of business, government and the environment, Storm Warnings II kicked off in Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans’ City Park, which was flooded by hurricane Katrina.
“As hurricane season begins, Women of the Storm is renewing its call to our nation’s leaders to travel to Louisiana and view firsthand the destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” said Anne Milling, Founder of Women of the Storm. “While we thank the Members of Congress who have visited and gained an understanding of our plight, we remain shocked that 400 U.S. Senators and Representatives have not found the time to visit the site of the worst natural disaster ever to strike our nation.”
To date, seven states have yet to send a single member of their Congressional delegations to the devastated region, while 21 states have not sent a senator and 19 states have not sent a member of the House of Representatives.
“With another hurricane season upon us, the time for action is now,” said Sidney Coffee, Chairwoman of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Activities. “Storm Warning II will help to inform citizens and government leaders across the nation of the danger faced by the continued loss of our coastal wetlands and the fact that, without urgent action, this national treasure will be lost along with the benefits it provides to every citizen of America.”
On hand to emcee the event was Garland Robinette, radio personality and host of the Garland Robinette Show on WWL 870 Radio. Robinette, who has made it a priority to talk about coastal erosion and the national disaster caused by the loss of Louisiana’s coastal infrastructure, announced a media partnership with the America’s WETLAND Foundation to encourage people to sign a petition urging Congress to provide a continuous revenue stream to fund recovery and coastal restoration.
Additionally, members of the Coast Guardians, the Wetland Watchers and the Soul Rebels Brass Band were on hand to lend their support to the day’s events.
On June 1 of last year, three months prior to Hurricane Katrina, the America’s WETLAND Campaign held a dramatization in New Orleans’ famous French Quarter, “flooding” a portion of the French Quarter by draping it in blue to represent potential flooding caused by hurricanes. The warning proved eerily prophetic three months later when Hurricane Katrina struck, inundating many other parts of the city with water.
“Women of the Storm” is a non-partisan non-political alliance of Louisiana women whose families, businesses and lives were impacted by the hurricanes. Their mission will be served by providing educational tours, data and personal stories about families whose lives have been impacted by the 2005 hurricane season. For more information, please visit www.womenofthestorm.net.
Louisiana’s coast, an area known as America’s WETLAND, hosts the nation’s strategic petroleum reserves and thousands of miles of pipeline which provide 30 percent of the nation’s oil and gas. The coastal wetlands, which are of world ecological significance, protect critical natural resources, are disappearing at an alarming rate, jeopardizing the nation’s economic and energy security.
America’s WETLAND: Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana, which is the largest, most comprehensive public education campaign in the state’s history, was launched to raise public awareness of the impact of Louisiana’s wetland loss on the state, nation and world. The initiative is supported by a growing coalition of world, national and state conservation and environmental organizations and has drawn private support from businesses that see wetlands protection as a key to economic growth. To learn more about America’s WETLAND, please visit www.americaswetland.com.