Barbour welcomed like a hero at Katrina+10 lecture series - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Barbour welcomed like a hero at Katrina+10 lecture series

Former Governor Haley Barbour was welcomed like a hero in Biloxi Tuesday night the Katrina +10 exhibit's lecture series at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. (Photo source: WLOX) Former Governor Haley Barbour was welcomed like a hero in Biloxi Tuesday night the Katrina +10 exhibit's lecture series at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. (Photo source: WLOX)

Former Governor Haley Barbour was welcomed like a hero in Biloxi Tuesday night, 10 years after one of the biggest battles in this nation's history.

Barbour, who was credited with getting billions of dollars in aid to the state, was guest in the Katrina +10 exhibit's lecture series at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi.

“We wanted two people,” said Vincent Creel, vice president of the Ohr’s board of trustees. “We wanted Trent Lott and we got Trent Lott. And as the crowning achievement, we wanted to get Haley Barbour.”

The event attracted about 50 people, most were former leaders who tested under duress after the hurricane.

“It’s important to remember,” Barbour said. “This was the worst natural disaster in American history. It was the biggest insurance loss in American history. But the federal government, while they made some really bad mistakes, they were also very good partners. They were very generous to us.”

The Q&A format was led by Gerald Blessey, who headed up his housing recovery effort after the storm. Blessey was once Barbour's instructor in law school.

"Thank goodness he made an A then,” he said. “I would give him an A as a leader. An A+ as a governor and a leader in the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. He’s been very inspiring to all levels of government."

Barbour also talked about his upcoming book on Hurricane Katrina, which is scheduled to be released Aug. 10. He said the book includes lessons learned: one, somebody has to take charge in a disaster; and two, be prepared.

"We won’t celebrate Katrina’s 10th anniversary next month," he said. "But there is a lot to celebrate. There’s the spirit and the character of the people of Mississippi. Their courage. It’s all the help we received from our sister states. Forty-six states sent resources to Mississippi."

In addition to the federal government and help from other states, Barbour also gave credited for the recovery after Katrina to the 950,000 volunteers who gave their money, time and talents for years after the storm.

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