08NTC: Day 3, morning plenary

Dr. Melissa Flourney (LANO), Deborah Cotton (LouisianaRebuilds.info), and Patricia Jones (NENA)

“If it takes a village to raise a child, what’s it going to take to raise a village?”

Renaissance in New Orleans. 25 feet of water in 23 minutes. Imagine that? Like Dorothy’s home in the Wizard of Oz.

Amazing resurgence where people are bringing their passions to the forefront for the first time in years. YURPES - young urban rebuilding professionals. Imagine this renaissance will feed up as volunteers return to their communities and churches after they get back. No profits are working out of the trunks of their cars.

People don’t say the word “Katrina” anymore. They talk about it as the “storm” or the “thing”.

LouisianaRebuilds.info

Provides good, real-time info online to speak to the audience that is back in town (how to rebuild home, utilities, how to find groceries and doctors. Helps people reconstruct their lives. Also speaks to displaced folks trying to get information and/or coming back and trying to find resources to do that.

Website went live in March 2006 (8mo later). Wanted to make information easy to see and read. Huge literacy problem in LA. Information is written at a 7th grade reading level. All information is accessible in 2-3 clicks maximum.

At an interesting place in the recovery. Traffic has begun to taper off on the website. High point was 20k visitors a week. Now visitor rates are at 10k a week. At a point in the recovery where people made up their minds whether they were coming back to New Orleans or not. Sign-up rates for the newsletter have increased. Website as a whole has become a driving force in providing information.

Now in the process of working with a foundation to find out how the website entity came to be, in order to inform other foundations and agencies on lessons learned, and how this can be replicated. Government agencies had to step outside the bureaucracy and do what was needed in new ways. Strong personality challenges between state and city governments, but folks realized that the community had to be put first and were able to get past that.

Texting has tremendous power in an emergency situation.

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