From My Mayoral Archives – 2005. Katrina’s A Disaster For New Orleans. Our Reaction.

Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina was the eleventh named storm and fifth hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. There were 1,833 fatalitiesThe strength of the wind at its highest was 280 km/h
  • As we move towards the ten year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that devastated the City of New Orleans in September 2005. As we first heard about the devastation and the loss of life, the World held its breath as human tragedy, and natures power swept the tv news headlines across the World.

    As Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton at that time – I wrote to the Louisiana State Governor passing on the City of Wolverhampton’s condolences for the huge loss of life it had taken.

    We now know that 1200 people were lost in New Orleans. Homes were drowned and structures were reduced to rubble.

    I remember the shock at seeing people sat on roofs, being swept away in flood water. Children ,old folk, and one of the richest Countries in the World with huge resources being left side lined by the power of Mother Nature. It was all the poignant for both me and Mary as we had visited New Orleans and the areas around this great music City.

    …..When I passed on those heart – felt condolences immediately after Katrina had struck, I did not know that a Wednesfield Resident was missing. But more on that tomorrow – Here is the original message I wrote to the People of New Orleans and the State Governor Blanco. On the 1st of September. I knew the people of Wolverhampton were with me because as we visited communities here in the normal way Mayors do. Wulfrunians were talking to us expressing their horror at what they were reading and watching.

    Tomorrow I will Post the follow up appeal I made to find Adele Peers

    “Wolverhampton Mayor Bateman Offers Condolences ”

    To the Office of the Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco State of Louisiana Attn: Constituent Services P.O. Box 94004 Baton Rouge, LA. 70804-9004

    Dear Governor Blanco I am e-mailing you because of the likely difficulty in delivery by the normal postal system. We write on your ‘day of prayers’ to offer you the sympathy and condolences of the City of Wolverhampton here in the United Kingdom. We are saddened by the loss of life that your great State and the City of New Orleans have suffered.

    We have been greatly moved by the television pictures that have been beamed across the Atlantic of the Hurricane Katrina’s great destruction. We know that in those darkest hours when the Hurricane raged overhead, that the terror and fear that your citizens of Louisiana had to confront, must have been traumatic indeed. I know from our visits that the Mayoress and I have made to New Orleans, that the history and the experience that you have mustered over centuries will now kick in, as the recovery and the re-building of communities and lives now takes centre stage.
    My reason in writing to you is to assure you and your citizens. That cities and populations the World over will be thinking of the plight of your people tonight, feeling their pain and their sorrow, and wishing you well, as you face the future tomorrow. Now is the time that those Government and Local Government structures that have been built in the USA, are required now more than ever to deliver for the unfortunate families that have lost property possessions and loved ones. We know from the television news that there is still huge hurt and confusion across Louisiana. But as local Government professionals we also know that decades of building robust action plans and emergency planning will now start to deliver, as will the dedicated local government experts in your home state and right across the USA muster to provide much needed support to your communities. Here in Wolverhampton we are safe in the knowledge that our temperate and benign weather is unlikely to wreak the sort of havoc your Cities Towns and Communities have faced today,and yesterday. I shall attend Church tomorrow and offer a prayer to all the people that have been struck by this natural disaster, and I will pray for help in your States recovery and for the families that have lost loved ones. On occasions such as this, the World is indeed a much smaller place. Wolverhampton is very much with you spiritually, I hope you and your citizens can gain some strength from this thought. With very great sympathy and condolences Councillor Phil Bateman MBE Mayor, City of Wolverhampton United Kingdom.”

    Author: Phil Bateman

    Article Date: 1st September 2005


Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more


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