Cashing In On Katrina

         Hurricane Katrina is considered the costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States, causing $108 billion in property damage.

         It’s no wonder some local entrepreneurs are cashing in on the Storm, trying to earn back a little bit of what was stolen from them almost 10 years ago.

         From bus tours to book signings to special menus, a burlesque performance, art shows, movies, concerts, a charity fundraiser headlined by Solange Knowles at the House of Blues and questionable artifacts sold on ebay, the Katrina brand is in high demand, and being bandied at a premium price.






         The Gray Line Hurricane Katrina Tour promises to give an “eyewitness account of the events surrounding the most devastating natural, and man-made, disaster on American soil with a local’s chronology of events leading up to Hurricane Katrina and the days immediately following the disaster.”

         The 3-hour bus tour departs at 1:00 p.m. daily, and takes voyeuristic riders to a levee that breached, and travels through the Gentilly, Lakeview, St. Bernard and 9th Ward neighborhoods.

         The tour costs $49 for adults and $31 for kids aged 6-12.

         Gray Line contributes $1 per passenger on this tour to, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit involved in the long-term recovery of New Orleans’ historic Lower 9th Ward.

         For more information


         Tours By Isabelle offers a New Orleans City and Katrina Tour for $80 per person, and a private 3 ½-hour Post-Katrina Tour that you need to arrange for pricing and availability in advance.

         The Post-Katrina Tour focuses on the Storm’s impact and covers 45 miles in 4 areas that experienced levee and floodwall failures including the Lower & Upper 9th Wards, Gentilly and Lakeview.

         Other highlights include Harry Connick, Jr., Ellis Marsalis and Habitat For Humanity’s Musicians’ Village, a drive through the Treme, past Charity Hospital and onto the Orleans Parish jail, a look at Gentilly’s 101 “Project Home Again” residences and the “Levee Exhibit Hall and Rain Garden” planted alongside the site of the London Avenue levee breach.

         There are also stops at the New Canal Lighthouse Museum, Bucktown and the Carrollton and Hollygrove areas.

         For more information




         Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St., will be hosting multiple Katrina-centric book signings.

         Tonight, Thursday, August 20, 2015, Editor Cynthia Joyce and contributors Deborah Cotton, Bart Everson, Michael Homan and others will read from and sign the $19.95 “How Blogging Reconnected New Orleans After Katrina,” starting at 6:00 p.m.

         Author/ publisher Dave Eggers said the book is an “essential document of the state of mind of New Orleanians before and during and after Katrina. It’s raw, it’s pained, it’s outraged, it’s heartbroken – all the things it should be.”

         On Saturday, August 22, from 8:30 a.m. –10:30 a.m. Octavia Books will present food editor Judy Walker at the Crescent City Farmers Market, 700 Magazine St., when she signs “Cooking Up A Storm: Recipes Lost And Found From The Times-Picayune Of New Orleans.” Walker co-edited the $30 hardback 10th Katrina Anniversary commemorative edition with columnist Marcelle Bienvenu, and it highlights coveted local recipes lost during the Storm.

On Sunday, August 23, at  2:00 p.m. author and illustrator Don Brown will sign copies of his $18.99 graphic novel  “Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina And New Orleans,” at Octavia Books. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of his book will go to the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity.

         And on Monday, August 24, author Ellen Urbani will be in-store at 6:00 p.m. to sign and celebrate her new $15.95 book, “Landfall,” about 4 women whose lives collide in a fatal car crash in and around the time of Hurricane Katrina.

         For more information


         The Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St., will host Roberta Brandes Gratz, author of “We’re Still Here Ya Bastards: How The People Of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City,” as she discusses and signs her $27.99 book on Tuesday, August 25, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

         Gratz’ book explores New Orleans’ revival in the years following Katrina and includes passages about politics, Charity Hospital, public housing and the war between residents and new developers.

         “The rebirth is being planned and implemented by the citizens from the ground up, not for them from above,” Gratz said. “Ten years after Katrina, the results are remarkable.”

         On Thursday, August 27, playwright John Biguenet will discuss and sign copies of his $24.95 “Rising Water Trilogy: Plays.” From 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Biguenet will talk about his award-winning theatrical collection that examines the emotional toll and socioeconomic turmoil of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

         For more information




         Katrina will be the main course at La Petite Grocery’s Katrina 10 Fundraising Dinner.

         On Monday, August 24, Chefs Justin Devillier and Justin Girouard will prepare a 4-course dinner at the 4238 Magazine St. eatery commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Storm.

         Proceeds from the $200 per person dinner will go to the St. Bernard Project, which strives to rebuild communities in and around New Orleans.

         There will be a reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m.

         For more information


         On Thursday, August 27, Poppy Tooker will host her first WWNO “Louisiana Eats” & Cooks Club dinner at the Rouses Culinary Innovation Center at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Jyl Benson, SoFAB’s Director of Culinary Programming, and Tooker will choose a different cookbook every month and cook a 3-course meal from the book in the demonstration kitchen.

         The monthly series will kick off with Judy Walker and Marcelle Bienvenu who will sign copies of their “Cooking Up A Storm: Recipes Lost And Found From The Times-Picayune Of New Orleans” cookbook.

         On the menu? Lady Helen’s cheese straws, Corrine Dunbar’s oyster and artichoke appetizer, meaty Cajun gumbo with warm potato salad and Masson’s almond torte.

         Dinner will cost $85 per person, $75 for SoFAB members.

         For more information


         To celebrate the Latino immigrants who helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, a “Gracias Latinos Fiesta” will be held at Casa Borrega, 1719 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., on Saturday, August 29, from 3:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

         The bar and restaurant will present a concert and host a street party with music by Javier Gutierrez and Vivaz! and other Latin artists.

         Casa Borrega will be selling food and drinks.

         For more information




         A whirlwind of naughty talent will commemorate Hurricane Katrina with “Home: A Burlesque Tribute to New Orleans,” at Republic New Orleans, 828 S. Peters St., tonight at 8:30 p.m.

         Host Ben Wisdom will introduce to the stage a bevy of scantily clad beauties and local variety acts who lived in New Orleans ten years ago when the Storm hit including Bella Blue, Reverend Spooky Le Strange, Remy Dee, May Hemmer, Ember Blaize, Lydia Treats, Foxy Flambeaux, Kryss Statho, Ray Bot, Cottontail, Magic Mike and Chatty The Mime.

         Tickets cost $10, and all proceeds will be donated to the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and Habitat for Humanity.

         For more information




         At the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., the first arts institution in New Orleans to open after the Storm, “The Rising” celebrates the renewal and rebirth of New Orleans and examines how art and photography were central to the revitalization of the City.

         On view through Sunday, September 20, the exhibit features the photography of Sophie Lvoff, Jonathan Traviesa, Tammy Mercure, Colin Roberson, L. Kasimu Harris, William Widmer, Jennifer Shaw, AnnieLaurie Erickson, Cristina Molina, Vanessa Centeno and David Armentor.

         Admission is $12.50 for adults, $10 for seniors and military, plus students and teachers with ID, $6.25 for children (5-17) and children younger than 5 get in for free.

         For more information




         Charity Hospital was a big Katrina casualty and has been immortalized in “Big Charity: The Death of America’s Oldest Hospital,” which will air in a pair of screening at the Joy Theater, 1200 Canal St., on Thursday, August 27, at 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

         The documentary will show moviegoers how the renowned medical hub, that was founded in 1736 as a hospital for the poor operating out of a small cottage, was shuttered after the Storm.

         Tickets are $15 and $25 for VIP seats.

         For more information




         You can catch the The 9th Ward Improv Opera’s multimedia show on Thursday, August 27, at the St. Maurice Church, 605 St. Maurice Ave., at 7:00 p.m., and on Friday, August 28, at the Andrew P. Sanchez Community Center, 1616 Caffin Ave., at 7:00 p.m.

         The performances will examine the struggle of 9th Ward residents to return home and rebuild after Hurricane Katrina’s floods decimated their once close-knit community.

         The Creative Alliance of New Orleans is presenting both programs consisting of spoken word, music, dance and visual arts.

         David Torkanowsky is the music director and performers include vocalist Angelika Joseph, and musicians Kidd Jordan, Geoff Clapp, Khari Lee, Troy Sawyer and Barry Stevenson.

         “It is a wonderful opportunity for survivors to tell our own story and listen to the truths of our neighbors, some for the first time, in combination with the narration, music and dance of the 9th Ward Improv Opera,” Kim Ford, community advocate and Executive Director of the Lower 9 Resilience Festival, said. “This production is fulfilling in a way that words alone cannot explain. I really look forward to the upcoming presentations. I know we will hear of the courage and strength that our neighbors face as we continue to become whole again.”

         Tickets are $12.

         For more information




         On Thursday, August 27, at 6:00 p.m., Paul Soniat, along with special guest artists, will perform a program called “Songs of Katrina” for the Thursdays at Twilight Concert Series at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters, located in the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park at 1 Palm Drive.

         Singer/ songwriter Soniat will take listeners on a musical journey that starts before Katrina hit in 2005 to the City’s rebirth 10 years later.

         Doors open at 5:00 p.m., and admission is $10.

         For more information


         New Orleans’ own Solange Knowles, who just happens to be Beyonce’s sister, and Jay-Z’s sister-in-law, will be headlining a benefit concert for Brad Pitt’s Make It Right at the House of Blues, 225 Decatur St. on Saturday, August 29, at 8:00 p.m.

         Solange, along with special guests, will celebrate the organization movie star Pitt founded in 2007 to rebuild the Lower 9th Ward in an affordable, sustainable way.

         Doors open at 8:00 p.m., tickets cost $100.

         For more information




         If you’re looking for some unusual Hurricane Katrina objet d’art, just do a quick Google search and you’ll find some enterprising sellers hawking Katrina mugs, bells, stamps, pins, clocks, shoes, crab trap floats, pottery, stuffed animals and… beads.

         You gotta love New Orleans. Where else would one of the five deadliest hurricanes be commemorated with a pair of memorial Mardi Gras beads?

         Seller Cajunyat on is selling Katrina necklaces measuring 42” in length, featuring a large medallion with a swirling Katrina hovering over a map of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, with 8-29-05 printed on the top left. There are smaller hurricane swirl medallions on either side.

         Cajunyat is advertising the Mardi Gras memorabilia as “a nice addition to any Hurricane Katrina collection or memorial,” for $12.50.

         There are still 6 available; 4 have already been sold.

         For more information



Categories: Leslie’s List