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The Old Man and the Storm - Recap

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This Frontline report tells the story of Herbert Gettridge who is living in the 9th ward district of New Orleans. It also investigates the policies and decision that were done during and after the Katrina disaster.

Reporter June Cross talks about Katrina how it started during August 29, 2005 when levees broke. She points out a high school called Alfred Lawless High School which lies in ruin. She tries to make viewer understand the devastation of Katrina how there were 500,000 displaced and over 220,000 jobs were gone.

We move to the house of eighty-two Herbert Gettridge one of a few New Orleans residents who still remain at Louisiana. Cross tells us that over three hundred members of Gettridge’s family was displaced.

Footage of Mardi Gras after Katrina is shown. Reporter Cross tells us tourism industry had pretended that the city had come back for dead. This is where Cross she mets Gettridge. Gettridge was living in an area without electricity, no drinking water in an area that city officials deemed uninhabitable.

Report moves to talk about Mayor Ray Nagin and how he brought businessman into New Orleans. Gettridge talks about this and says how all the plans were to use the abandonded homes for business ventures.

We learn that news outlets have started to focus on himself. Gettridge was visited by people like Anderson Cooper, Billy Crystal and now Frontline. He talks about insurance policies on his house. He says while the flood insurance coverage helped him, the home insurance coverage did not. Gettridge tells us that no aid from Federal or State has been given to him.

Cross tells us that six months after Katrina cleanup finally began. She tells us that many of Bush’s initiatives and promises never materialized. One such proposal called to put federal government in charge of Louisiana was killed by the White House in its last moments.

She talks about Governor Kathleen Blanco. She states how Blanco publicly blocked and opposed federal leases for oil and gas drilling in Louisiana but privately supported them.

She examines the Road Home program which was started to give money to homeowners in Louisiana.

We are told the story of Leonard Gettridge, Mr. Gettridge’s son. He is currently in a FEMA trailer. We are told about the inadequate health care system in Louisiana.

By winter of 2007, Cross tells that Road Home program had received over a hundred thousand applications but only five hundred actually received a paycheck.

Cross tells us the story of ICF International a company brought in by Governor Blanco. The company is criticized for its poor job performance in Louisiana, and the fact that many of their leaders gave themselves million dollar bonuses.

Cross tells us that ICF refused to comment on story on camera but sent an email stating that their employees were working below their wages.

We move back to story of Gettridge. We are reminded that he has no electricity in large part because the company that provided the power, Entergy, went bankrupt. Entergy as Cross explains asked the Federal government and Bush administration for aid to supplement. She tells us that Bush opposed idea of bailing out private corporations.

Jed Horne author of Breach of Faith and says that Bush had no problems bailing out private companies during 9/11. Gettridge says other places have received electricity except the 9th ward. Cross tells us that six months after he sent his Road Home application he has yet to receive a check. She tells us that during the summer of 2007, the Road Home program stopped taking applications due to lack of funding.

She describes that this was a result due to FEMA lack of planning, insurance companies inability to send out finding and the administration.

Eventually though the administration signs a bill giving Road Home program the necessary funds to continue nearly two years after Katrina.

We shift back to Gettridge and Cross tells us that he’s nearly finished rebuilding his home without any aid from federal or state government. Gettridge says he believes administration doesn’t care about people of New Orleans.

The last parts of the report show the reunion of Herbert and his wife Lydia.


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