Feb 10, 2011 12:18 AM by John Romero

Former New Orleans Mayor speaks in Pueblo

There's little doubt that Hurricane Katrina changed the face of the United States forever. Many died, and a city was demolished. At the tine Ray Nagin was Mayor. On Wednesday night he spoke to a crowd at CSU-Pueblo.

Nagin says he and others in the city thought they were prepared. Now he says they had no idea what they were up against. "Most of us, we were prepared for the last disaster that happened to us because that's what we know about. Katrina was an unusual event." he says, "It was a category 5 storm, so we had water that was as high as 20 feet in our city. Nobody could have anticipated that."

It's a feeling CSU-Pueblo student Christopher Rovaris knows all too well. "When I go back to my city will it be that great city that New Orleans is?" he remembers. Rovaris moved from New Orleans to Colorado just 2 weeks before Katrina hit, leaving many family members behind. "It was a sad time because I couldn't do anything for my family." he says.

Nagin says the hurricane taught him a lot about himself and the city he served. "It was the ultimate challenge." he says, "I've never experienced anything like that, when you have an entire city, 80% of it is flooded. You had so much chaos going on." Cynthia on our Facebook page wanted to know if Nagin had any regrets. "I question myself." he explains," Whether I could have called the mandatory evacuation earlier. I ha about an 8 hour window and it was overnight. I think about that."

Even so, he and Rovaris say the spirit of New Orleans has helped them recover every step of the way. "We're still on the road to recovery. We're not there yet, but we're making great progress." says Nagin. "He (Nagin) really is someone who made the city of New Orleans what it is in that we never give up." says Rovaris, "Through facing adversity with the storms, there's always brighter days."



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