Katrina@10. The Power of Hope.
August 19, 2015
In 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita cut a 90,000-square-mile swath across Entergy Corporation's service area. The twin storms triggered a flood that swamped New Orleans, took the lives of more than 1,800 people, displaced one million individuals, destroyed some 300,000 homes and left 1.1 million of Entergy’s 2.7 million customers without power. The extent of Katrina’s devastation convinced some that New Orleans could not be rebuilt. Some even questioned whether it should be rebuilt. But for one company and its employees, there was never any doubt.
Despite their own personal losses, Entergy employees mobilized their resources to restore hope AND power to impacted communities. Entergy provided immediate help through The Power of Hope Fund which raised $4.2 million in direct aid. And during the ten years since, Entergy employees and shareholders have invested an additional $37 million and thousands of hours of volunteer service to create a stronger, better educated, more vibrant and sustainable New Orleans.
Helping Individuals and Families Rebuild their Homes
Entergy partnered with nonprofit organizations and other funders to help build or rebuild 1,300 single-family or multi-family homes. Entergy provided seed funding that enabled Volunteers of America to leverage $100 million in public and private funding to build homes for almost 800 low-income families, individuals and seniors.
In addition, Entergy employees volunteered thousands of hours to help families rebuild. Our partners included St. Bernard Project, Preservation Resource Center/Rebuilding Together, Phoenix New Orleans, Make It Right and Habitat for Humanity.
Investing in the Transformation of Education
Long before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was home to one of the nation’s poorest-performing public education systems.
Our strategic partners include:
- Teach for America
- KIPP Charter Schools
- FirstLine Schools
- New Schools for New Orleans
- City Year Louisiana
- Communities in Schools
- United Negro College Fund
- Center for School Leadership
- Early Childhood and Family Learning Foundation
- Start the Adventure in Reading
Greening our City by Creating 100 Miles of Bike Lanes and Walkways
Before Katrina, New Orleans had fewer than 11 miles of bike lanes. Entergy's commitment to creating a cleaner, greener city led to a unique public-private partnership with the city and Louisiana Public Health Institute that has created almost 100 miles of bike lanes/pedestrian pathways and helped the city become number five in the nation for bicycle commuting.
Greening our Schools through the Entergy Solar Schools Initiative
Entergy also partnered with Nike Corporation to create the Entergy Solar Schools Initiative. Through the project, 25 kW solar panels were installed at Warren Easton, The International School, New Orleans Math and Sci High, Craig Elementary, and Akili Academy. The solar demonstration projects help to offset the schools' energy costs while providing hands-on learning about renewable energy and the importance of conservation.
Building Assets and Creating Wealth
Entergy partnered with United Way of Southeast Louisiana to create a post hurricane individual development account program providing matched savings accounts to help low-income families be better prepared to face life's storms. We provided more than $1.2 million in local matching funds to draw down $5 million in national funding to establish the IDA program.
- More than 400 individuals opened IDA savings accounts, approximately half have completed their personal savings goals.
- 183 families have become first-time homeowners.
- 54 have purchased completed vehicle purchases.
- The program has resulted in $20 million in asset purchases.
- There have been zero foreclosures in the six years since the program's inception
Providing Quality Childcare for Working Parents
Hurricane Katrina destroyed almost 75 percent of child care centers in Orleans parish. Businesses cannot operate if working parents lack high-quality child care. Entergy partnered with the Idea Village and United Way to create a childcare collaborative that provided business development, start-up capital, marketing and technical assistance to help jump-start the childcare industry by equipping 10 childcare centers to re-open their doors.
Hurricane Katrina brought New Orleans to its knees. Ten years later, two words best describe the city and its residents: resilient and proud. We learned that the fury of Mother Nature is no match for the power of hope. To be sure, many challenges remain. But on the eve of the city's tricentennial, the men and women of Entergy are resilient, proud and committed to powering the next 100 years.