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Hurricane Rita: The Forgotten Storm (2006)

Louisiana Public Square



Genre: Panel, News, Public Affairs

Place Covered: Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 2006-03-29

Duration: 00:57:52

Subjects: Filmed panel discussions | Hurricane Rita, 2005 | Hurricanes | Disaster response and recovery | Hurricane recovery | United States. Federal Emergency Management Agency | Insurance Industry | Housing | Louisiana Recovery Authority


  • Courtney, Beth Host
  • Freeman, Craig Host
  • Godoy, Al Producer
  • Duhon, Theos Interviewee
  • Boustany, Charles Interviewee
  • Roach, Randy Interviewee
  • Calthorpe, Peter Interviewee
  • Sachs, Drew Interviewee
  • Douglas, Karen Interviewee
  • Beam, Bryan Interviewee
  • Nunez, JoAnn Speaker
  • Miles, Ray Speaker
  • Fuerst, Randy Speaker
  • Batiste, Brenda Speaker
  • Nixon, Sheryl Speaker
  • Evans, Brad Speaker
  • Little, Gray Speaker
  • Riggs, Otis Speaker
  • Daigle, Willie Speaker
  • Taylor, Wayne Speaker
  • Jouette, Paige Speaker
  • Miller, Beverly Speaker
  • Lavine, Edward Speaker
  • Lawson, Rosa Speaker
  • Johnson, Evan Q. Speaker
  • Guidry, Lena Speaker
  • Doxey, Phyllis Speaker
  • Dubard, Sharon Speaker
  • Avery, Belinda Speaker
  • Leger, Laci Speaker
  • Fontenot, Hadley Ward Panelist
  • Geyen, Rodney Panelist
  • Henning, Tom Panelist
  • Mount, Willie Panelist


This episode of the series “Louisiana Public Square” from March 29, 2006, features Craig Freeman leading a discussion between the audience members and panelists on southwest Louisiana’s recovery from Hurricane Rita. A background report on the impact of Hurricane Rita on southwest Louisiana precedes the discussion and includes interviews with Congressman Charles Boustany, Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach, and regional planner Peter Calthorpe. The audience members discuss: the response of local officials to Hurricane Rita; the lack of media coverage of the storm; the federal government acting as a hindrance to the rebuilding effort; the challenge of dealing with insurance companies; the lack of affordable housing for evacuees; and their frustrations with FEMA. A panel of experts then joins the audience to answer their questions. The panelists are: Judge Hadley Ward Fontenot of Cameron Parish; Rodney Geyen, the President of the Lake Charles City Council; Tom Henning of the Louisiana Recovery Authority; and State Senator Willie Mount of Lake Charles. They discuss: FEMA impeding the rebuilding process because they have not released their building regulations; the disconnect between the federal government and state and local agencies; the efforts of local officials and Louisiana’s Congressional delegation in making members of Congress from other states aware of the devastation suffered in southwest Louisiana; the effect of Louisiana’s reputation for political corruption on federal aid; the importance of Louisiana’s coastal communities to the nation; and the plans to build affordable housing. This episode was filmed at the Central School Arts and Humanities Center in Lake Charles. Hosts: Beth Courtney and Craig Freeman