Monday, November 12, 2007

Lessens Learned from Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina devastated the City of New Orleans, however, other cities will now learn from that devastation:

When members of the National League of Cities convene in New Orleans this week to discuss the most effective ways to run local governments, they will use the city as a living laboratory for an issue of paramount concern: how to prepare for and recover from disaster.

A delegation of 3,500 mayors, police chiefs and city council members from around the county will brainstorm Tuesday through Saturday on ways to reduce crime, promote public transit and strengthen municipal finances, which are strained in many parts of the country by the growing costs of health care and pensions.

While the gathering is not the largest to take place since Hurricane Katrina, it is an important milepost in the recovery of the tourism industry. The National League of Cities booked its convention in New Orleans before the storm, and it was one of the first to affirm its commitment to the city when few could predict how quickly hotels, taxis and restaurants would return.

Executive Director Donald Borut said cities around the country provided for New Orleans after the storm by sending emergency response teams, equipment and money. He said visiting city leaders will continue to participate in the recovery with a series of public service projects, including the construction of a playground at Joe Brown Park.

The host city generally underwrites the annual National League of Cities conference by donating space in a convention center or providing free bus rides and other amenities, but Borut said his group decided to pick up those expenses because New Orleans is still weak-kneed from the storm.

No comments: