In fact, as Katrina has made clear, Louisiana is a standout success in a nation where the vast majority of people living in high-risk areas don't buy flood insurance.
Consider Jefferson Parish, where Metairie became the first community in the nation to join the flood insurance program in 1969. Of the top 100 flood insurance markets, Jefferson Parish has the highest market-penetration rate in the country, with 84 percent of all single-family homes covered by the program, according to an analysis of flood insurance and census data by The Times-Picayune.
Also in the top 10, in terms of market penetration: St. Bernard Parish, ranking eighth with a 68.4 percent rate, and Orleans Parish, 10th with 66.7 percent. Altogether, six Louisiana parishes have market penetration rates that rank in the nation's top 25.
At the other end of the spectrum is Harris County, home to Houston. Though Harris County has generated the third-highest number of repetitive flood claims in the nation -- after Jefferson and Orleans parishes -- its penetration rate for federal flood insurance is 25 percent.
There's a lot more, of course, about how the federal flood insurance program is a wreck-- unable to cover the damages it purports to insure, and how it encourages people to continue settling in flood-prone areas. The whole article is worth a read, though. Jeffrey Meitrodt and Rebecca Mowbray did a really thorough job researching the piece, explaining how the system works, and then showing how it affects individual people. It's what reporting at its best is supposed to do.
In other sad news, a friend of my brother was shot to death by a shotgun blast to the chest in Marigny as he returned to his car yesterday morning around 4 a.m.. The gunman demanded money, and as he and his friend turned over their wallets, the guy shot him anyway. Police are looking for him now.
The city is really dangerous still. Be careful out there. At least as careful as you were before the storm.
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