NEW ORLEANS, LA, Aug. 19, 2013 -- A new documentary by FEMA documents Hurricane Isaac's destruction of St. John the Baptist Parish and the enormous effort by parish leadership, its volunteer Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and hundreds of residents to develop a long-term recovery strategy.
Nearly one year after Isaac's floodwaters inundated the parish, the community's long-term rebuilding initiative, "One Parish, One Future: Building Back Better and Stronger," is making great strides. The 12-minute video shares the same title and "demonstrates the progress that's possible when everyone works together toward common goals," said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator Wayne Rickard of FEMA. "The framework provided the structure, but St. John’s leaders and citizens have taken charge of their recovery."
The documentary, "One Parish, One Future, Building Back Better and Stronger"
The initiative was supported by state and federal partners and was carried out by the National Disaster Recovery Framework, which outlines a method for all levels of government to work together to help disaster-affected communities build back stronger, smarter and safer. Key principles of the framework are local leadership and citizen empowerment.
Hurricane Isaac struck Louisiana in late August 2012. A few months later, the CAC launched the initiative to help rally public support for and participation in the local effort. Over the following months, residents of all ages and walks of life contributed ideas for rebuilding -- both in person at community events and through the parish's online surveys.
The final recovery strategy outlines 50 projects in the areas of economics, housing, health and social services, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources for the parish to pursue over the coming months and years. Several of the projects are already in the development phase and funding opportunities are being pursued.
"Out of disaster comes opportunity, so we have an opportunity to be better than we were before," St. John Parish Recovery Manager Raymond Goodman says in the video. "This plan, this strategy is going to go a long way toward doing that."