Update, 7:30 p.m.: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieus said late Friday that statements made by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur about the Ninth Ward's rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina were "misguided and offensive."
"The unprecedented failure of the federal levees is what flooded most of New Orleans," Landrieu said in a statement. "The MRGO also had a profound impact on the Lower Ninth Ward in particular. As other disasters have shown, millions of Americans and cities around the globe are at risk for flooding.
"Now, ten years after Hurricane Katrina, we are building back stronger and more resilient than before the storm. In particular, I am absolutely committed to a vibrant future for the people of the Lower Ninth Ward. As we approach the 10th anniversary of the storm, the City will not only be thanking those around the world who helped make our recovery possible, we will also be educating folks like Congresswoman Kaptur about what happened here in New Orleans, the challenges that remain and the progress made.”
A congresswoman from Ohio, speaking about energy and water issues on the U.S. House floor Thursday, questioned whether it was appropriate to rebuild homes in areas of New Orleans devastated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, said she visited Louisiana after the hurricane and was “shocked” by plans to rebuild in damaged areas.
“I even made suggestions in the 9th Ward, inside of New Orleans, I said why don’t you leave that open for agriculture so that when you get another big threat from the ocean, you won’t harm as many people,” she said. “And it was as though no one wanted to listen. Well, God bless everyone, because nature, we can’t control, she does what she wants.”
Kaptur was speaking during House hearing on an energy and water spending bill for fiscal year 2016.
Aug. 29 will mark the 10-year anniversary of Katrina’s landfall. Effects of the hurricane, storm surge and failure of the levee system caused extensive flooding and damage throughout New Orleans and surrounding areas and displaced hundreds of thousands of residents.