In preparation for Isaac, President Obama sent FEMA representative to New Orleans one week before the storm was to make landfall. According to Rosenberg, citizens in the city are “cautiously optimistic” since the Obama administration has taken over.  “I think it’s a ‘Wait and see’ attitude. But we’ve seen since the Obama administration has come on board that FEMA and HUD and other federal entities that relate to post-disaster work have been doing a heck of a job. [They] have been working with the sort of sense of purpose and commitment that we expect out of our government agencies.  [The people of New Orleans are] going to give the government that chance, not a free pass but a chance, and that’s fair.”

“Katrina was just an example of what America has historically always been doing to us. A recession? A recession for who?  It’s always been a recession in Mississippi.” -David Banner

Banner, who has long been a vocal social advocate, sees Katrina as an example of what Black people have been experiencing for years.  For Banner, the spirit of Mississippians—who have received much less press after Katrina hit— has always been solid.  “I definitely will say it didn’t break our spirits. Historically it has nothing to do with Katrina, from slavery we always just had to stay. Those who stayed in Mississippi learned to deal with the worst; we’ve always just had to deal with it. I’ve never understood that about America, people from Mississippi haven’t done nothing  to people but love them, stayed when they ran, stayed when everybody else couldn’t take no more and we get laughed at and talked about and no help, almost to a disrespectful manner.  For me, part of the thing that makes Mississippians so special is ‘What else can you do to us?’ A guy asked me one time, he said ‘David Banner you’re so outspoken, you ain’t afraid something gon’ happen?’ What else can they do to me, besides murder me, that they haven’t already done to my people ? Katrina was just an example of what America has historically always been doing to us. A recession? A recession for who?  It’s always been a recession in Mississippi, ain’t nothing new to us. That’s why I feel like Mississippians should be billionaires at this point because we know how to navigate through a recession.

“There will never be a repeat in our time, of Katrina. Even if there was a hurricane that was more powerful, Katrina caught people off guard, I don’t think we’ll ever be caught off guard again. People who would have normally not left, they’ll definitely be leaving [for Hurricane Isaac]. It’s that serious. The emotional component of Katrina is what people don’t understand and what the cameras didn’t get in Mississippi, because we didn’t have the Angelina Jolies staying in our city, we didn’t have the political aspect.”

Banner has been tireless in his efforts to help out his state, but shies away from boasting. “I never did what I did because it was the hot thing to do,” he adds. “I didn’t know what else to do but to help, or to try to help. It’s always been me. I want to help people.”

In light of Hurricane Isaac, the St. Bernard Project will delve full-throttle into necessary recovery efforts, has secured all of the houses that it’s rebuilt, and made sure that their clients had outlined safety plans. But the work is not over.  Those looking to donate can visit, or can do their part by throwing fundraising events to bring in money to help those in need.  Rosenberg has also put together a letter on Hurricane Isaac relief efforts which can be viewed below, alongside memorable pictures from Hurricane Katrina.

Never forget.


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