While many easily remember the flooding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, there was another expression of the power of hurricanes that occurred just weeks later.
The massive storm surge produced by Hurricane Rita hammered coastal parishes of southwestern Louisiana.
As our friends in Mississippi had experienced three weeks earlier, a 20-foot wall of water swept in and wiped out much of Cameron Parish.
The loss of life blessedly was much smaller, as evacuation warnings mostly were heeded.
Those lessons of Katrina were well-learned. Still, 120 lives were lost in the storm and much of the state was again a disaster area.
The second hurricane also hampered relief efforts in the southeastern part of the state worst-hit by Katrina.
Many people in Louisiana had to be evacuated a second time, having traveled to the Lake Charles area because of Katrina’s flooding.
Rita cannot be forgotten: It also was one of the costliest natural disasters, disrupting energy production in the Gulf of Mexico more than the earlier hurricane had.
In fact, Rita was a more powerful storm than Katrina, and its landfall was the third-most-expensive disaster in America’s history.
As with metropolitan New Orleans, the Lake Charles area continues to recover from the hurricane impact of six years ago.
The leadership of the region has embraced the idea of building smarter, not just rebuilding. That will further the ultimate goal of a more resilient and successful region in the future.