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Katrina: The Debris — Long-form, different stories about life 10 years later

Dirty Coast

As the 10th hurricane season begins since the landfall of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, 89.9 WWNO — New Orleans Public Radio is launching a new weekly podcast and radio feature: Katrina: The Debris, stories about what was left behind by the storm and the floods that followed.

Combining archival material with new interviews and long-format feature stories, Katrina: The Debris aims to pick up some of the narrative threads of the storm, and follow them into the present and future.

“We'll look at how the flood changed neighborhoods, culture and everyday life,” says WWNO News Director Eve Troeh. “How does the knowledge of disaster change how we live now? What lessons does New Orleans have to teach other communities?”

Each week producers loosely explore a theme: groceries, maps, music, weather, charity, faith, cooking, family. Using archived sound, new interviews, original reporting, dramatic readings, and occasional special guest stars like Wendell Pierce and David Byrne, WWNO picks up pieces of this lingering Katrina debris.

Podcast: Available Mondays on iTunes. Go to the “Podcasts” app on your smartphone or computer, and search for WWNO. Also distributed and featured by NPR One, National Public Radio’s smartphone app.

Broadcast: Excerpted Mondays, 8:30 a.m. on 89.9-FM, June 1-August 31. Full weekly episodes Thursdays, 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on 89.9 WWNO.

First two episodes:

“Incredible by Modern Standards” — June 1

New Orleans is a weather town. As hurricane season begins, hear the most emotional federal weather bulletin ever written. Plus, more on how the National Weather Service is using social science to improve forecasts. And hear from New Orleans residents who say the argument to call our 2005 disaster “The Federal Flood” instead of just “Katrina” still holds water. Why that weather wording matters.

“Green Dot” — June 8

For some New Orleans residents, Green Dot is the name of a lovely café located in a library branch of New Orleans’ Broadmoor neighborhood. To others it’s post-Katrina shorthand for: Your neighborhood is not coming back. That’s what it meant back in 2006 to New Orleans native Wendell Pierce, star of The Wire and Treme. We look at the first comprehensive plan for rebuilding New Orleans after the flood, and the Green Dots on that map. Meet a woman who rebuilt her house, and her Green Dot community, with help from her mailman. An urban planner talks about lessons learned from the Green Dot debacle, and how the plans that followed broke new ground in community participation.

About WWNO

WWNO — New Orleans Public Radio is the NPR member station for New Orleans and 13 parishes of southeast Louisiana, broadcasting on 89.9 FM and on KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area. WWNO broadcasts news, music and cultural programs on 89.9/90.5; 24-hour classical on WWNO HD2; and 24-hour jazz on WWNO HD3. WWNO’s trusted, thought-provoking news and lively cultural entertainment make it one of the top stations in metro New Orleans. A live stream of WWNO, and an expansive archive of programs and news features, is available at WWNO.org. WWNO is a public service of the University of New Orleans.

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