One year ago today, Chris Kromm had asked me to guest blog for a week at Facing South while he was away on vacation. August 29th was my first day. I had several topics lined up to discuss, but the news of Katrina quickly took over. Here is a flashback to Facing South's day-by-day chronicle of the events as they unfolded... Mon. Aug. 29: Katrina and New Orleans Those of us who have lived in Southern coastal states are all too familiar with hurricanes, but we haven’t seen anything like Katrina in over a decade. The last Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. was, I believe, Andrew in 1992. It slammed Southern Florida and went on across the Gulf and slammed New Orleans. [..] As Katrina bears down on the Louisiana coast, New Orleans is at particular risk. Because most of the area is below sea level, the storm surge could cause extensive flood damage. A system of levees keeps the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain out, but Hurricane Betsy, a Category 4 storm that weakened to a Category 3 as it made landfall, hit New Orleans in 1965 causing Lake Pontchartrain to breach the levees. More work has been done since then to “hurricane proof” the levee system, but nobody knows what will happen with a storm of Katrina’s magnitude. Click "there's more" to read the rest... [..] Many have criticized government and emergency management officials for “over-hyping” hurricane dangers, causing the public to become complacent. This is not the time for complacency. This is the real deal. Because no one can predict exactly where the storm will make landfall or what damage will result, officials must take all necessary precautions to protect life. Folks need to trust them and pay attention. The Gulf Coast is starting to experience rains and high winds from the outer bands of Katrina as I write this at about 7:30 AM. Landfall is expected later in the day. We can only hope that it continues to weaken before the worst arrives. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the folks along the Gulf Coast today, and especially our Southern neighbors in the beautiful city of New Orleans. UPDATE: It appears New Orleans was spared a direct hit, but there are reports of extensive wind damage and some flooding. Mississippi wasn't so lucky. The Biloxi/Gulfport area seems hardest hit. Governor Haley Barbour just held a press conference and reported widespread damage and flooding. He said it could take "years" to recover. National Guard units from around the South are responding to assist with search and rescue, recovery operations, and looting control. A National Guard officer said they would be "aggressive" with looters. It will probably be days before the full extent of the damage is known, but it sounds like it will be pretty bad all along the Gulf Coast. Again our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors to the South. Consider helping out any way you can with charities and relief organizations who will be responding. Tue. Aug. 30: Katrina: The morning after Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said on CNN last night that the situation was "dire." Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour called it "catastrophic." There are at least 50 confirmed fatalities in Mississippi. Officials in both Louisiana and Mississippi expect the death toll to climb as search-and-rescue teams are able to deploy today. Flood and wind damage along the coast is massive. Portions of Highway 90 in Mississippi are destroyed. There are reports of damage to bridges on I-10 in Louisiana. Over 1.3 million are without power. FEMA is rushing in provisions. The Red Cross reported last night that more than 75,000 people were being housed in 240 shelters. Evacuees are being told to stay where they are while officials assess the situation. Here are some reports from around the region: Biloxi Sun Herald: Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Coast Monday with a force not seen since Camille 36 years ago, sweeping aside multimillion-dollar casinos, burying the beach highway and killing at least 50 people in Harrison County. [..] Before telephone contact was lost Monday morning, Hancock County officials reported that a foot of water swamped their Emergency Operations Center, which sits 30 feet above sea level. The back of the Hancock County courthouse, where the center is located, gave way. "Thirty-five people swam out of their Emergency Operations Center with life jackets on," said Christopher Cirillo, Harrison County’s Emergency Medical Services director. "We haven’t heard from them. The only person we can raise on the radio is the sheriff in his car." [..] New Orleans Times-Picayune: A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new "hurricane proof" Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina's fiercest winds were well north. The breach sent a churning sea of water from Lake Pontchartrain coursing across Lakeview and into Mid-City, Carrollton, Gentilly, City Park and neighborhoods farther south and east. [..] In Lakeview, the scene was surreal. A woman yelled to reporters from a rooftop, asking them to call her father and tell him she was OK, although fleeing to the roof of a two-story home hardly seemed to qualify. FEMA Response The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is mounting a massive response in the wake of Katrina's devastation [from FEMA's website]: FEMA’s emergency teams and resources are being deployed and configured for coordinated response to Hurricane Katrina. This includes pre-staging critical commodities such as ice, water, meals, and tarps in various strategic locations to be made available to residents of affected areas. FEMA’s Hurricane Liaison Team is onsite and working closely with the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla. FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center and Regional Response Coordination Centers in Atlanta, Ga., and Denton, Texas, are operating around the clock, coordinating the prepositioning of assets and responding to state requests for assistance. FEMA has deployed a National Emergency Response Team to Louisiana with a coordination cell positioned at the State Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge to facilitate state requests for assistance. In addition, four Advance Emergency Response Teams have been deployed to locations in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The teams include federal liaisons who work directly within county emergency operations centers to respond to critical needs as they are identified by local officials and prioritized by the state. Katrina military response Army News Service: More than 5,000 National Guard troops have been activated in four states to assist with recovery operations as 140-mph winds of Hurricane Katrina strike the Gulf Coast. The Army Corps of Engineers is anticipating potential requirements to pump water out of New Orleans, much of which is below sea level and protected by a system of dikes, levees and pumps. First U.S. Army activated its 24-hour Crisis Action Team Aug. 28 and sent defense coordinating elements to three states. These elements help U.S. Northern Command coordinate DoD support to civil authorities as requested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Right now [ed. note: yesterday], First Army is leaning forward and planning for any number of needs the states may have once this hurricane hits," said Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, commanding general, First U.S. Army. "I have been in contact with each of the state’s adjutant generals and assured them that First Army is ready to help." U.S. Navy: The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and other U.S. Navy assets are making preparations to provide assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, if needed. Bataan is currently underway in the Gulf of Mexico and standing by to provide assistance as needed in hurricane-affected areas. U.S. Coast Guard: More than 40 Coast Guard aircraft from units along the entire eastern seaboard, along with more than 30 small boats, patrol boats and cutters, are positioning themselves in staging areas around the projected impact area - from Jacksonville, Fla., to Houston - making preparations to conduct immediate post-hurricane search, rescue and humanitarian aid operations, waterway impact assessments and waterway reconstitution operations. Katrina Relief efforts underway American Red Cross: The American Red Cross is mounting the largest relief effort in its history. More than 200 emergency response vehicles (ERVs) and countless other Red Cross resources are en route or on the scene to provide hot meals, snacks, bottled water and distribute other much-needed relief supplies. In coordination with the Southern Baptists, preparations have been made to provide more than 500,000 hot meals to storm-weary residents each day. Salvation Army: Salvation Army Divisional Commander Major Dalton Cunningham in Jackson Mississippi says 200 workers of the Salvation Army’s Incident Management Teams will be moving in 72 canteens that can feed 400,000 people a day and two 54-foot mobile kitchens that can feed an additional 20,000 people a day. KATV News Little Rock: Both the Arkansas Red Cross and the National Guard are sending resources to help thousands of Katrina refugees in bordering cities. 90 to 100 Red Cross trucks will fill the parking lot Monday night. Some 2,000 Red Cross volunteers will depart Tuesday to help in the relief effort. The Arkansas National Guard is also sending Med Evac Helicopters for search and rescue and a few hundred combat engineers. WRAL News Raleigh: North Carolina's Progress Energy is sending 500 workers to help restore power. WLOX News Biloxi: 45 Georgia Power linemen from across South Georgia gathered in Albany Monday morning, getting ready to head toward affected parts of Mississippi. They were told to prepare to stay in the Hurricane zone at least two weeks. News 14 Charlotte: Duke Power is sending up to 250 workers to the Gulf Coast to help restore power. Duke Power representatives say crews from the Gulf Coast states have provided relief to the Carolinas in the past, so now it is their turn to repay the favor. [..] It appears this will be one of the largest relief efforts in U.S. history. Consider helping out any way you can. Wed. Aug 31: Devastation We’re watching the reports from the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. I am unable to process, much less describe, the magnitude of what we are seeing. Not much else seems very important today. As the personal accounts start coming in, we begin to get an idea of the terrifying ordeal those who could not or would not leave have endured. Seeing someone with the remains of a loved one they can’t even bury, wrapped in sheets, waiting by a flooded road for someone to tell them what to do with the body... ...hearing the first-hand account of a man who was stranded with his family on the roof of their home, holding on tightly to his wife’s hand, watching the storm surge approach, his wife saying “You can’t hold on to me, take care of the children and the grandchildren…” as she lets go and is swept away along with their home and all their belongings... ...watching entire families plucked from the rooftops of submerged houses, reeled into helicopters one by one... ...watching families and children and the elderly and infirmed being pulled into boats through holes chopped into their roofs and attics, embracing their rescuers, thanking them for saving their lives and the lives of their families... ...seeing families wading in chest deep water, what few belongings they could save floating alongside in plastic trash bags... and rescue teams marking homes and structures where bodies are found with a red ‘X’, leaving them and moving on to the next structure, hoping to find survivors... It’s almost more than one can bear to watch, and impossible to comprehend. Being there and living through it, or dying in it, is unimaginable. No food. No water. No power. No medical supplies or assistance. No sanitary facilities. No communications. No roads in or out. No infrastructure. No shelter. And seemingly no hope. This is the situation this morning for New Orleans and most of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This is human tragedy on a Biblical scale. One feels helpless. And frustrated. And angry. There are many questions. Where is the National Guard? Where is FEMA? Where are the provisions? Where are the shelters? Why can’t the Corps of Engineers repair the levees and stop the flooding? Why were the poor not evacuated? What happened to the plans and preparations? Is it even possible to prepare for a catastrophe of this magnitude? The answers will have to come later. Right now there’s no time to even count the dead. There is only time to save as many lives as possible. And as frustrated and helpless those of us watching safely from afar might feel, imagine the frustration of first responders and relief workers dealing with logistical nightmares just getting to the scene. Imagine how overwhelmed those who have made it to the scene must feel. Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana seems overwhelmed. She is reduced to asking for prayers and divine intervention. Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, overcome with grief and emotion, tries to project strength. They will rebuild. But the work will not be completed on his watch. Nobody knows how long it will take, except that it will be years. This morning, New Orleans appears to be facing a worst-case scenario. The Superdome has upwards of 12,000 people barely surviving in unbelievable squalor. These people will have to be evacuated to shelters. Except the streets are flooded, the water is rising, and transportation in or out will be difficult. Countless others are in the streets without shelter or transportation or provisions. These people will have to be evacuated to shelters. Except there’s no way to communicate with them, there do not appear to be adequate shelters, and transportation in and out of the area is hampered by washed out roads and bridges and flooding. And the water is still rising. Hospitals are running out of backup power and supplies. Most have been evacuated or are in the process of evacuating. The Navy is deploying hospital ships, and there is talk of commandeering cruise ships to use as shelters. Nearly half a million people in New Orleans alone may be homeless and will have to be sheltered somewhere. Those who made it out before the storm will not be able to come back for weeks or possibly months. Tens or hundreds of thousands will not be able to work. Their place of employment may no longer exist. They won’t have homes or transportation. The levees will have to be repaired and the water will have to be pumped out before any recovery and rebuilding can begin. The situation in Mississippi is not much better, and maybe worse. The Mississippi Gulf Coast was obliterated. It’s just not there any more. The Governor estimates that 90% of the homes and structures along the coast were destroyed. At one point 80% of the state was without power. Major highways and bridges in and out of the coastal areas are gone. Nobody knows how many people got out or how many stayed behind. Depending on how many stayed, the death toll could be in the hundreds. The situation there is a little better in one respect. The storm surge flood waters have receded, so relief and rescue workers are able to start working their way into the hardest hit areas. Power is slowly being restored, but efforts are hampered by the loss of two Mississippi Power generating stations. What can those of us who feel helpless and frustrated do to help? The first thing you should not do is go to the scene unless you’ve been asked. It will only further stress the already overburdened infrastructure and relief effort. The best way to help is to donate to relief agencies, such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Catholic Charities Disaster Response, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, or others involved in the effort. Thurs. Sept. 1: Desperation That’s the one-word headline on the Biloxi Sun Herald website this morning. And that seems to pretty much sum up the situation today. The frustration is starting to boil over onto the editorial pages. Here’s a roundup from Editor and Publisher: As the truth sinks in--this is the worst natural disaster in the nation's history--editorials in a wide range of newspapers have now raised critical issues about the lack of preparation, the effects of so many National Guard sent to Iraq, and the response of President Bush to the tragedy this week. Also reported by Editor and Publish, this Biloxi Sun Herald editorial doesn’t mince words: While the flow of information is frustratingly difficult, our reporters have yet to find evidence of a coordinated approach to relieve pain and hunger or to secure property and maintain order. The New Orleans Times-Picayune (evacuated from New Orleans and working out of the offices of the Baton Rouge Advocate and the Houma Courier) says of the anarchy: Virtually everyone involved in public safety has failed the people left in New Orleans who are trying desperately to survive. On a positive note, some relief aid is finally starting to make its way into the area, the Superdome evacuees are starting to be moved to more humane facilities at the Houston Astrodome, and officials in New Orleans say that the flood waters have reached equilibrium and started flowing back into Lake Pontchartrain, although this could reverse with high tides and much work is left to be done repairing the levees and pumping out the water. The situation is, however, still desperate along the Gulf Coast. The Times-Picayune and the Sun Herald have complete coverage from the scene. Folks down there need our help. The best way to help is to make a contribution to one of the relief agencies, such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Catholic Charities Disaster Response, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, or others involved in the effort. Outrageous I just saw a report on MSNBC from the convention center in New Orleans. There are thousands of people there, families with children, infants, and elderly. They have no water. They have no food. They have no baby formula. They have no medical assistance. They have nothing. They are desperate, and they are furious. These people were told buses would come and take them to shelters. The same report said that people are being kicked out of the Superdome. There were photos of buses there being mobbed. The reporter said that thousands of buses are lined up on the highway to take people to shelters but can’t or won’t come in to the area because it isn’t safe. There is nobody there to coordinate the evacuation. There is no National Guard on the scene to provide security. The reporter said that she had been there four days. She said she has heard about all the provisions that the federal government had rushed to the scene, but says that she and her crew have not seen any of it. Nothing. People are dying there. They are begging for help. I just got off the phone with the office of my Congressman in Washington. I told the aide who answered that I wanted to know why these people weren’t getting provisions. I wanted to know why there wasn’t anybody there coordinating the evacuation. I told the aide that I wanted my Congressman to walk over to the White House right now and ask President Bush why the federal government is not helping these people and demand that the President take action. The aide said he would pass my message along. Call your Congressman. Let them know these people need help and that they aren’t getting it. Put the pressure on until somebody gets off their ass and starts getting things done. Don’t e-mail. Don’t fax. Call them on the phone at their offices in Washington and demand action. Katrina: A View From the Road Chris here, writing from the road in vacation land. Figures that I'd pick a week when the South is hit with one of the most monumental and devastating events in recent history to recharge my mental batteries. [..] Back to Katrina: as you may know, the South's unique vulnerability to "natural disasters" has been an area of special interest to us at the Institute -- it was the focus of our last issue of Southern Exposure magazine, and something we've often come back to on the blog and elsewhere. If there's a common theme to our coverage, it's been that these tragedies are rarely unexpected or unpreventable "Acts of God." Indeed, as the United Nations' disaster agency argues: "Technically speaking, there are no such things as 'natural disasters.' There are only natural hazards," which only become "disasters" because of decisions that put people in harm's way -- decisions based on politics, economics, race and other very "unnatural" factors. Many have noted how poverty, race and other forces are playing out in the Katrina's devastating aftermath. To take just one example: one of the better editorials I've read was in today's Cape Cod Times, which rightfully took the corporate media hacks to task for their relentless and sensationalist coverage of alleged brown-skinned hordes roaming the flooded streets of New Orleans in ghastly acts of mass looting. [..] The editorial rightly notes that not every network fell into this bizarre blame-the-victim coverage with clear racial overtones. Martin Savidge of NBC News was one of several who tried to put things into perspective: People are desperate and they think the end is near and, unfortunately, when that happens, human nature gets a bit frayed around the edges. But it hasn't collapsed, it's just strained a bit. Here at SE/ISS, we'll be covering Katrina more in the coming weeks. If you know folks in Louisiana and Mississippi who were affected, or others who might have a story to share, please let us know in the comments or by email: A unique view from a New Orleans local can be found here -- Wade Rathke, legendary organizer and leader of ACORN. They're mobilizing a support effort in the city, based on their work in low-income communities -- you can contribute to their effort here. Back to R. Neal... MIA media sighting Anderson Cooper of CNN is on the scene and interviewing Sen. Mary Landrieu remotely. He asked about the response, etc. She started praising the President and the federal government's response, naming off the list of agencies, etc. He cut her off and literally started yelling at her. He said it was outrageous that politicians are going on TV patting each other on the back. He asked if she understood what was happening down there. He asked if she realized there are dead bodies on the street being eaten by rats. He asked her if she understood how angry people are, and wondered why she wasn't angry. (I'm paraphrasing all of this because I'm typing as it happens.) Just a few minutes before, the Mrs. and I were commenting that the media that has been MIA for the past four years might actually be back. All afternoon, the tone of the coverage has changed. In a news conference earlier today, FEMA Under Secretary Michael Brown accused the media of only reporting bad news, and basically said they were being irresponsible. In fact, the media has been holding back. They have been telling us that there are things being filmed that are just too horrific to air. I think the gloves are coming off. It's about time. Props to the Coast Guard We've all seen the dramatic videos of helicopter rescues. At the latest count, they have saved nearly 3000 people. Apparently, the Coast Guard is the only federal agency that didn't sit around waiting for some politician to get back from vacation to tell them to go out there and save lives. Good for them. Oblivious When asked why they didn't have food and water, FEMA Under Secretary Michael Brown just said in an interview with Paula Zahn on CNN that the federal government did not even know about the people at the NOLA convention center until today. I realize they are "managing" this by remote control, but don't they at least have cable TV? This is incompetence on a massive scale. Disconnect Director of Homeland "Security" Chertoff said in a press conference this afternoon that the relief effort was going great, supplies were pouring in, FEMA and the National Guard were on the scene, yada yada yada. Except, all afternoon when a news anchor was interviewing someone on the scene, one of the questions they asked was "have you seen any relief supplies, anyone from FEMA, the National Guard, anyone of authority in charge at all?" In every case, the answer was no. So the question is, are these people so completely insulated or disconnected from reality that they are oblivious to what's going on? Do they not realize we have 24-hour-per-day new coverage broadcasting images and interviews by which people can see with their own eyes that the facts on the ground directly contradict what they are saying? Or are all their white and wealthy pals safe and sound at hotels in Houston enjoying room service, so naturally everything must be OK? Or are they so addicted and loyal to a broken, corrupt political system that they are in complete denial, able only to regurgitate party propaganda? Whatever. The government is lying. People are dying. Fri. Sept. 2: Editorial: Yes, we're worth it From The Times-Picayune: "Even as people from New Orleans desperately search for their family members and rescue workers patrol the region in boats, hack through roofs and try to pluck survivors out, some people in other parts of the country have begun to blame us, the victims. Our crime? Choosing to live in New Orleans. Especially heartless were U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and the writers of an editorial that appeared Wednesday in the Republican-American, a newspaper in Waterbury, Conn. Mr. Hastert was quoted by the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., saying it makes no sense to rebuild New Orleans where it is. "It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed," he said. The Republican-American's headline asks, "Is New Orleans worth reclaiming?" The editorial depicts our city and our people as a drain on federal coffers, and if you read it you might get the impression that New Orleans has never contributed to the economic vitality of this country. It maligns the city and our people as if we're nothing more than outstretched palms waiting for FEMA grants that only they fund. How dare they?" Surreal FEMA Head: Lawlessness Not Anticipated: The head of the federal disaster relief agency said Friday it's "heartbreaking and very, very frustrating" to witness the virtual anarchy in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans and defended the Bush administration's response. [..] But Brown also acknowledged that little in the government's preparedness plan took into account the likelihood of lawlessness in such dire straits. "Before the hurricane struck I came down here personally and rode the storm out in Baton Rouge," he said. "We had all of our rescue teams, the medical teams, pre-deployed, ready to go. ... The lawlessness, the crime that is occurring, did surprise us." Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," the FEMA director said he "never thought I'd see" the lawlessness that has overtaken the city and interrupted emergency relief efforts. "It's heartbreaking and very, very frustrating to me from a broad operational perspective," he said. Bush Says Relief Results 'Not Acceptable': "There's a lot of aid surging toward those who've been affected. Millions of gallons of water. Millions of tons of food. We're making progress about pulling people out of the Superdome," the president said. For the first time, however, he stopped defending his administration's response and criticized it. "A lot of people are working hard to help those who've been affected. The results are not acceptable," he said. "I'm heading down there right now." New Orleans Mayor Fumes Over Slow Response: NEW ORLEANS - A day before President Bush headed to the hurricane-ravaged South, Mayor Ray Nagin lashed out at federal officials, telling a local radio station "they don't have a clue what's going on down here." Federal officials expressed sympathy but quickly defended themselves, saying they, too, were overwhelmed by the catastrophe that hit the Gulf Coast region on Monday. Nagin's interview Thursday night on WWL radio came as President Bush planned to visit Gulf Coast communities battered by Hurricane Katrina, a visit aimed at alleviating criticism that he engineered a too-little, too-late response. Bush viewed the damage while flying over the region Wednesday en route to Washington after cutting short his Texas vacation by two days. "They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of god**** - excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed," Nagin said. FEMA couldn't foresee that tens of thousands of poor people left to fend for themselves might get desperate and take matters into their own hands when their families start dying from hunger and thirst? And broadcast news crews are able to get in to the affected areas and move about, yet trained and armed National Guard troops and FEMA relief with military escorts and helicopters and armored personnel carriers and Humvees and who knows what all are unable to? And the buck has apparently flown right through the Oval Office and landed on the desks of bureaucrats and functionaries. Where is the leadership? Wrapup Well, that's about it for my week of guest blogging here at Facing South. Thanks again to Chris Kromm for the invitation and to Bill Rehm for getting everything setup. I was happy to help out and appreciate the opportunity. [..] This has been a pretty tough week. And I'm sitting here high and dry, safe and sound. I can't even imagine what the millions of homeless and displaced and poor and forgotten people along the Gulf Coast have been through this week, especially the people of New Orleans trying to survive in Hell on Earth with little hope and no help. The only bright spots were people on the broadcast news and in the papers and on blogs and websites saying "I'm alive. I'm OK." I felt obliged to try to cover what has happened to our beloved South, but I am just not equipped as a writer, or maybe even as a human, to come up with the words. Looking back over my posts this week, I see a progression from worry and concern, to reassurance that the relief effort was organized and good to go, to hope that maybe it wasn't going to be as bad as our worst fears, to shock from the horror that is happening before our eyes. At one point I was literally shaking with rage and emotion as I typed. I finally ran out of words. Today all I could do was post links and excerpts. But enough with the excuses. Excuses are for losers (and lately there seem to be plenty of both). Besides, real men don't cry. This story isn't over. The repercussions of what has happened to the South this week will be felt for years if not generations to come. Atlanta may be the hub of the South, but New Orleans is our heart and soul. There is much work to do. There is much misery to be healed. There are many dead to bury. There are questions to be asked, and many more answers to be demanded. With that, I bid you adieu and wish all the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans Godspeed. R. Neal, signing off. Back over to you, Chris... OK, then. Footnote: One year later, the Gulf Coast is still experiencing the disaster after the disaster. The Katrina: One Year After report by the Institute for Southern Studies documents where the recovery effort is today, and how much work is left to do.