When Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans on August 29, 2005, we here in Michigan – along with the rest of America – watched in horror and shock. The scenes from New Orleans were practically beyond comprehension.
It's been eight and a half years since Katrina. New Orleans is still rebuilding and still recovering.
And, in the process, lessons have been learned that might benefit Detroit as it struggles back from bankruptcy and years of shrinking resources and population.
For three quarters, the Detroit Lions performed like playoff veterans.
They led Drew Brees and the mighty New Orleans Saints at halftime. They were still right in the game heading to the fourth quarter.
But Brees and the Saints blew it open in the final period, turning Detroit's postseason return into a one-and-done affair with a 45-28 NFC playoff victory that was much closer most of the night on a raucous Saturday at the Superdome.
The program is modeled after a similar program in New Orleans, which recruited folks from across the country to help rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina.
Ahmad Ezzeddini from Wayne State University will run the new Detroit fellows program:
"If we look at the New Orleans model: Out of the cohort of 25, 22 of those folks are still in New Orleans, and 18 of them are with the same employer. And that’s four years after the program ran. We hope to duplicate the same thing here."
Ezzeddini says they plan to hire 25-30 people who have "three to five years’ experience, preferably [with] a graduate degree in urban planning, business, law." He says the fellows will be paid to work in Detroit for two years, and the jobs will focus on neighborhood and economic development. They will also get leadership training from Wayne State.
It's Fat Tuesday, and while many of us are toiling away at work, others are gearing up to 'act a fool' in New Orleans.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune has a collection of live webcams on nola.com.
On "parade cam" we'll be able to catch the Rex Parade starting at 10 a.m. The Rex Parade is one of many parades taking place today. Here's a description of the parade from their website:
The Rex Procession has been the highlight of Mardi Gras day since the Rex Organization was formed and first paraded in 1872. While there had been celebrations in many forms on Mardi Gras before that time, the Rex Parade gave a brilliant daytime focus to the festivities, and provided a perfect opportunity for Rex, King of Carnival, to greet his city and his subjects.
The theme for this year's Rex Parade is "This Sceptred Isle."
It kicks off at 10 a.m. (it looks a little wet there today):
The Rex Parade will be followed by the parade by the Elks Krewe of Orleanians, and then the Crescent City parade. Enjoy!
By the way, have you ever been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras? If you can keep it clean, share your experiences with us below!
DETROIT (AP) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is meeting with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to discuss that city's recovery more than five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the 9th Ward and other parts of the Gulf Coast. Bing spokeswoman Karen Dumas says that both mayors were preparing to take a walking tour of parts of New Orleans on Monday, and that the city bears "a lot of similarities to Detroit."
Bing is working to strengthen Detroit's most viable neighborhoods while formulating plans to deal with huge swaths of vacant land. He has said incentives will be used to encourage people to move into certain areas of Detroit, which has lost more than half its population since peaking at nearly 2 million in the 1950s. He plans to present a study April 1.
Michigan Radio traveled to New Orleans last year to learn some lessons as well. Rebuilding Detroit Schools: ATale of Two Cities looked at school reform in Detroit and New Orleans. The program explored successes and failures in New Orleans to see whether the lessons learned in New Orleans could offer some insights for education reform in Detroit.
The Knowledge is Power Program, known as KIPP, is a national network of charter schools. There are over 80 KIPP Schools across the country, and Detroit leaders are in talks with KIPP to open charters in the city. Michigan Radios Jennifer Guerra and Mercedes Mejia visited a KIPP school in New Orleans and have this look at the experience.
Academics are important in any school. But some school leaders say the idea of school culture is perhaps just as important. Michigan Radio producer Mercedes Mejia visited schools in Detroit and New Orleans to see what school culture is all about.