Industry leaders: Flood insurance should be mandatory for owners

Advocate File photo -- Aerial of the 9th Ward area with water up to the roofs during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

Our hearts go out to the good people of Iowa who are suffering from historic flooding that’s ravaged thousands of homes and businesses in the Midwest.

We in Louisiana know all too well what that kind of suffering is like. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Great Flood of 2016, among other calamities, taught us valuable lessons about what’s important in a crisis.

Given the scale of their loss and the long road of recovery that lies ahead for them, Iowans shouldn’t have to put up with the furor caused by yet another inflammatory comment from their tone-deaf congressman, Republican Steve King.

King, who lost his committee assignments earlier this year for questioning why “white supremacist” and other racist language is offensive, used an appearance before his constituents this week to insult Katrina’s Louisiana victims.

“Here’s what FEMA tells me: ‘We go to a place like New Orleans and everybody’s looking around saying, who’s gonna help me, who’s gonna help me?,’” King told listeners. “They’re just always gratified when they come and see how Iowans take care of each other. It’s a point of pride that spreads across the country.”

Of course, King didn’t identify the FEMA bureaucrat, so who knows if the story is true. King left no doubt that the sentiments of the vicious anecdote were his own, which only shows that despite his visits to Louisiana after Katrina, he didn’t learn very much about the state’s resilience.

Has King never heard of the Cajun Navy, the band of boat-owning volunteers who sprung into action as New Orleans flooded, saving legions of Louisiana storm victims from oblivion? Did King ever know, or has he forgotten, the valor of doctors and nurses who improvised their way through days of deprivation to keep their patients alive? Is he unaware of the stubborn resolve of residents who began rebuilding their homes before federal financial help ever came through?

We have every confidence that in this time of profound loss, the people of Iowa are finding the strength they’ll need to prevail. They’ll have cause to summon that strength in the days — and perhaps years — ahead, after the public spotlight has moved on, but the real and enduring work of recovery remains.

It’s a hardship we in Louisiana wouldn’t wish on anyone. Take it from us: Recovering from a natural disaster is demanding enough. Iowans should think about whether they can continue to afford the political disaster that Steve King has become.