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Looking back on 10 years since the Gulf Coast’s ‘forgotten storm,’ Hurricane Rita

September 19, 2015 at 6:07 PM EDT
10 years later, the hurricane season of 2005 remains unforgettable. First, Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast in August. Then in September, an even stronger storm made landfall: Hurricane Rita. Charlie Whinham, from Louisiana Public Broadcasting, reports from Cameron Parish in Southwestern Louisiana with this look back.
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Even 10 years later, the hurricane season of 2005 is unforgettable. First, in August, Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Then in September, an even stronger storm made landfall: Hurricane Rita.

Charlie Whinham, from Louisiana Public Broadcasting, reports from Cameron Parish in Southwestern Louisiana with this look back.

CHARLIE WHINHAM: Now, while Katrina garnered all of the headlines for very good reason, Hurricane Rita did its damage as well, causing $12 billion worth of damage.

And folks around this part of the country consider Hurricane Rita as “The Forgotten Storm”.

Many coastal communities were simply washed away. Fortunately, no one in Cameron Parish died.

Rita was the fourth strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. Katrina ranked sixth.

But Katrina hit a larger populated area killing an estimated 1,836 people across the Gulf Coast and causing $108 billion in damages.

In Texas, Rita prompted the largest evacuation in U.S. history. The combination of severe gridlock and excessive heat led to 107 evacuation-related fatalities, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Ten years after Rita, there remains signs of hope and progress.

South Cameron High School reopened in 2010. The new school is 19 feet above ground, built to withstand hurricane force winds and flooding.

In 2006, the South Cameron Memorial Hospital received a $2 million grant from the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.

It is one of the many financial pieces of the puzzle to keep this place open.

There is also renewed hope that jobs from the oil and gas industry will return. Cameron Parish boasts a pair of multi-billion dollar construction projects set to open over the next three years.

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