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Hurricane Katrina

Storm can't stop the good times' roll

By Times staff writers
Published September 8, 2005

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NEW ORLEANS - Kenny Claiborne entertains his storm-battered neighborhood with a 600-watt amplifier on his French Quarter balcony.

The 42-year-old bar owner calls this Radio Marigny, named after his spirited neighborhood, known for its all-night street parties.

After a cop told them to turn off the tunes at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Claiborne woke up Wednesday morning to find the streets plastered with signs from neighbors:

"We (HEART) Radio Marigny," the signs read.

"We feel like we're red blood cells and we're being overtaken by white blood cells," Claiborne said.

MacDill playing a part in the hurricane recovery

TAMPA - MacDill Air Force Base said Wednesday it's providing lodging for some military families displaced from Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi by the hurricane.

MacDill also said it had dispatched a 25-member support team of civil engineers, medical personnel and chaplains to the Gulf Coast.

Gov. Bush speaks up to defend FEMA

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Jeb Bush, breaking his silence Wednesday on the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, said criticism of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is misguided.

Bush said the emergency response system works well only when local and state officials are prepared for disasters and ambitious about asking for federal aid.

"The notion that somehow FEMA has thousands of specialists that can come at the drop of a hat is really a misguided notion," Bush said. "Can they do a better job? Absolutely . . . But the notion somehow that the federal government should take this over is a very foolhardy notion."

Four-year-old evacuees eligible for Florida pre-k

Four-year-olds who moved to Florida as evacuees will have full access to the state's new free prekindergarten program.

The Agency for Workforce Innovation, which oversees the program, said Wednesday that children who were 4, but not 5 or older, by Sept. 1 are eligible to receive the 540 hours of instruction.

The state also has suspended all rules that require families to provide specific documents, such as birth certificates and vaccination records, that may have been left behind in haste or lost in the storm.

Katrina's victims can get $2,000 in aid on cards

FEMA will issue debit cards with a minimum balance of $2,000 to all registered storm victims.

The cards will aid those who have been evacuated to different states and may not have access to their bank accounts, said FEMA director Michael Brown. The money is intended to be used for emergency supplies, such as clothes and food.

About 320,000 people have registered for FEMA assistance in the wake of the hurricane.

Dean says race figured into storm's death toll

MIAMI - Race was a factor in the rising death toll from Hurricane Katrina, Howard Dean told members of the National Baptist Convention of America on Wednesday at the group's annual meeting.

Dean, national Democratic Party chairman, made the comments to the convention's Political and Social Justice Commission. The convention has an estimated 3.5-million members in 3,000 churches and is one of the nation's largest black religious groups.

"We must ... come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not," Dean said.

Dean said that instead of considering proposed estate tax breaks, the U.S. Senate should channel the $760-billion savings into disaster relief funds.

Times staff writers Rebecca Catalanello, Joni James, Paul De la Garza, Jeff Solochek, Carrie Johnson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

[Last modified September 8, 2005, 01:50:14]

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