Hurricane Katrina: 18 Months Later...

On March 15th the Sun NJ/NY Black Employee Network hosted my good friend Dr. Jeffrey Robinson to speak about the impacts of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast region. A majority of the time we focus our bi-weekly meetings on our own internal needs or on topics explicitly related to our industry. However I always find it refreshing and beneficial to look outside our narrow focus from time to time to see how our talents and resources can be used to impact the community at large (last summer's Governor's School Event with 100 HS students being an example).

Dr. Robinson (a fellow Rutgers alumni) is an Assistant Professor at the NYU Stern School of Business and has been working over the last year with the Small Business Administration on ways to speed redevelopment of the region. His presentation was an excellent dissertation on the state of the Gulf Coast and as you can imagine the amount of improvements that have happened in the last 18 months is severely lacking.

He literally got off the plane at 1:00 AM the night before and was showing us pictures and video that was less than 24 hours old. Seeing areas that were completely decimated with very little to no progress in the rebuilding process was sobering to say the least. His presentation went way beyond the visual and detailed the state of affairs in areas such as health care, education, crime, repopulation, grants/loans, and insurance. The presentation was so good in my mind I'd say it was the perfect follow up companion piece to Spike Lee's documentary "When the Leeves Broke" - it was just that impressive. Of course I'd expect nothing less from a fellow Rutgers grad ;-)

If you have been lamenting the fact that the general news media has largely moved on from giving the Gulf Coast region the regular coverage needed to make rebuilding a priority for our country then please take the time to listen and review the presentation.

Presentation: Hurricane Katrina: 18 Months Later (PDF)

Streaming Audio: Realplayer, Windows Media Player/iTunes

Podcast: MP3

The session is a little over 100 mins long but believe me it will be time well spent. If you know of anyone displaced by the hurricane and they are still trying to get back to the region there is a lot of good information in the last 40 mins of the presentation on resources they can leverage.

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