Dear Friends in the Media:
Thank you for registering for credentials as you plan to travel to New Orleans to report on our city as we approach the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. We look forward to welcoming you as we honor the spirit of “Commemoration and Determination: Katrina V.”
This is a reminder that the official citywide Katrina Media Center, located on the second floor of the New Orleans Marriott Hotel, 555 Canal Street, will be operational every day from Saturday, August 21 until Sunday, August 29, 2010, from 7:00 am. – 5:00 p.m. central time. We urge you to check-in and pick-up your credentials upon arrival.
The Media Center phone number is 504-553-5666. The Media Center website is www.neworleanscvb.com/katrinafive.
Please know that we will be sending a daily schedule of press conferences and presentations to you, keeping you fully informed of what is happening in the Media Center. Also, we are here to act as a resource for you and can provide one-on-one assistance to connect you with key individuals or organizations who can provide you with factual information on various sectors of our recovery or story ideas. Please ask us!
In addition, private interview rooms will be available for no charge at the Media Center.
Press Conferences and Information Sessions on recovery ranging from Flood Protection to Education Reform will be held throughout the week. There is much more to come, but the following is a preliminary list of events happening at the Media Center to add to your calendar now:
Tuesday, August 24
12:00 PM Panel Session: Neighborhood Driven Revitalization
Neighborhood and citizen leaders from all over the city will discuss how they bootstrapped the recovery of their neighborhoods after Katrina with few resources, little or no initial public help, organized their neighbors, and cultivated resources and volunteers from across the globe.
2:00 PM Panel Session: Local Government Reform - The New Orleans City Council
All seven New Orleans City Council members will convene to discuss the variety of reforms they have supported ranging from the Master Plan & Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, City of New Orleans Professional Services procurement protocol and the City of New Orleans Office of Inspector General. The panel will be moderated by attorney and former City Council Chief of Staff Ron Pursell.
Wednesday, August 25
9:00 AM Panel Session: Post-storm Health Care & Mental Health
11:00 AM Panel Session: Civic Engagement
Representatives from both new and established civic groups from across the city come together to discuss why they formed, how their work may have changed post-Katrina and will provide overall advice for post-disaster activism.
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Press Conference: Marriott Internatioal
Five years after Hurricane Katrina, more than 350 Marriott associates will work side-by-side with hotel guests on August 27 and 28 to build a New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity home and a KaBOOM! playground in neighborhoods still in need. MI representatives: Joe Blanchek, Chairman, Greater New Orleans Marriott Business Council and General Manager of the New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center; Gil Zanchi, Area General Manager of Revenue, Marriott Hotels of New Orleans; and Ted Selogie, Organizer, Donorschoose.org and General Manager of the JW Marriott. ++KaBOOM! Representative: Darrell Hammond, CEO +++New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity Representative: Jim Pate, Executive Director
2:00 Panel Session: Flood Protection
Governing authorities, including the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, come together to discuss and clarify their roles in coastal protection and restoration. Discussion topics include: design, maintenance, inspections and future plans for increased protection.
3:00 Presentation: Army Corps of Engineers
The Army Corps of Engineers will present a system overview, discuss specific East Bank and West Bank projects as well as touch upon coastal restoration.
Thursday, August 26
9:00 AM Panel Session: Louisiana Restaurant Association- New Orleans Restaurants & Emergency Preparedness
Louisiana Restaurant Association President & CEO Jim Funk will moderate a panel discussion on the recovery of the New Orleans restaurant industry and emergency preparedness.Local restaurant industries leaders will speak on their experience, lessons learned and how they’ve applied those lessons to be better prepared in the event of a major hurricane. Restaurateurs and chefs scheduled to participate in the panel are Ti Martin of Commander’s Palace, Steve Pettus of Dickie Brennan & Company, Rick Gratia of Muriel’s Jackson Square and Chef John Besh of the Besh Restaurant Group.
10:00 AM Presentation: Greater New Orleans Community Data Center-The New Orleans Index at Five: From Recovery to Transformation
The report and briefing will provide a comprehensive look at the progress the New Orleans metro area has made in rebounding from three crises in five years–Hurricane Katrina, the Great Recession, and the Gulf oil spill. Further, the report identifies the challenges that remain and the efforts needed to ensure future efforts continue to transform New Orleans into a more prosperous region.
11:30 AM Panel Session: The Greening of New Orleans
Representatives from sustainable building and green organizations from across the city convene to discuss their work.
2:30 PM Press Conference: Mayor Mitch Landrieu
Mayor Landrieu will hold a press conference/question and answer session for the media to discuss the city’s recovery to date and to highlight his vision for the city’s future.
Friday, August 27
12:30 PM Panel Session: Education Reform
Education reform in New Orleans is often cited as one of the brighter spots in the city’s uneven post-Hurricane Katrina recovery. New Orleans is particularly interesting for the country as a whole because it has implemented a number of reforms citywide that other districts have undertaken on a smaller scale. A panel of local practitioners and experts will discuss these issues along with the findings in the recently released report on the city of New Orleans five years after Hurricane Katrina from the Brookings Institution and the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. Panelists include: Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise, executive director, KIPP New Orleans; Sharon Clark, principal, Sophie B. Wright Charter School; Kira Jones, executive director, Teach for America New Orleans; Darryl Kilbert, superintendent, Orleans Parish Public Schools; Aesha Rasheed, CEO, Parent Organizing Network.
2:30 PM Panel Session: Artists, Entertainers, Entrepreneurs and Activism
Local artists, entrepreneurs and musicians come together to discuss their commitment to the survival of New Orleans' creative core as well as their involvement in civic and non-profit organizations.
Sunday, August 29
President Obama is scheduled to visit New Orleans. The time is still to be determined, and will possibly affect the current schedule of official events. Currently, the City’s official commemoration event is slated for 6:30 p.m. in the vicinity of Jackson Square in the French Quarter.
For the latest updates, please check in with us at the Media Center and online at www.neworleanscvb.com/katrinafive.
Thank you for planning to visit New Orleans and for helping us show the nation and the world that our city’s soul is graced with resilience and determination.
Kelly Schulz, Vice President of Communications, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
Mary Beth Romig, Director of Public Relations,Office of the Mayor, City of New Orleans
Jennifer Day, Director of Public Relations and Communications, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau