A star-spangled banner that flew outside a Kenner home during Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago and emerged from the storm tattered will be permanently displayed in the city’s emergency operations center to remind everyone of why that building exists, Mayor Mike Yenni said Friday at a dedication ceremony for the flag.
“Like the city, it was damaged by Katrina,” Yenni said of the flag, which flew over the Driftwood neighborhood home of Don and Barbara Hanberry during the storm. “And like the city, this tattered flag survived Katrina and now will become a daily reminder of the importance of our Emergency Management Office and the hard work we have done — and will continue to do — to be as prepared as possible for the next Katrina.”
Yenni recounted how the devastation Katrina inflicted on the New Orleans area after it made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005, prompted him to create Kenner’s first Office of Emergency Management in 2010, during his first term as mayor.
The office has since been under the direction of Doug Dodt, and from its headquarters at 1610 Rev. Richard Wilson Drive, it can respond to emergencies such as hurricanes, tornadoes and train accidents.
Yenni said Kenner now has 34 more backup power generators to use at its buildings than the 15 it had in 2005. It intends to eventually have backup generators at all of its 79 sewage pumping stations.
Kenner now also has a “wet fleet” it lacked for Katrina. It comprises 12 high-water vehicles, seven flatboats (six for the Police Department and one for the Fire Department) and four variable message boards to convey important information on the roadways, Yenni said.
While the Jefferson Parish city didn’t suffer the same way nearby New Orleans did after its levees failed during Katrina, Kenner saw 2,800 of its structures sustain several millions of dollars worth of damage in the storm.
Yenni lauded city workers for their tenacity following a hurricane that killed more than 1,800 people along the Gulf Coast.
The flag dedicated during the ceremony is encased in a frame above a stairwell outside the emergency operations center under the words “In remembrance of Hurricane Katrina August 29, 2005.”
The Hanberrys donated the flag to the city.