Cable Networks Plan Extensive 'Katrina' Coverage

Hurricane's 10-Year Anniversary Spans Programmers
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Cable networks are gearing up to recognize the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation the storm unleashed on the Gulf Coast region in general and on New Orleans in particular.

In 2005 cable networks were among the first outlets to show the images of the stunning destruction to property and people’s lives in the days following when Katrina hit New Orleans and other areas on the Gulf of Mexico Coast on Aug. 29 (it had made landfall in Florida on Aug. 25). Other specials through the years such as HBO’s Emmy winning When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts and the HBO drama series Treme helped chronicle the effects on life in the Gulf in the immediate aftermath of the storm. 

Tonight (Friday, Aug. 21) at 10 p.m. ET, Fox News Channel has slated a one-hour special, Fox News Reporting: Timeline of Hurricane Katrina – 10th Anniversary, looking at the timeline of devastating events and the roles played by local, state and federal decision makers, all the way up to President George W. Bush. Anchors and correspondents including Shepard Smith, Bill Hemmer, Greta Van Susteren, Geraldo Rivera, Rick Leventhal, Steve Harrigan and Phil Keating will be featured.

CNN on Monday, Aug. 24, will premiere Katrina: The Storm That Never Stopped, in which network anchor Anderson Cooper travels back to the Gulf Coast and looks to reconnect with those residents and people he spoke to a decade ago in the aftermath of the storm.

Al Jazeera America on Sunday night (10 p.m. ET) airs a new original documentary, Only New Orleans, by filmmaker Vassili Silovic, exploring the role of music in New Orleans and how the city used its roots in jazz, R&B, rock 'n' roll, soul, funk, reggae and hip-hop to re-build spirits after Hurricane Katrina. Anchor Joie Chen will host two special programs from New Orleans on Friday, Aug. 28, and Saturday Aug. 29, at 10 p.m. ET, including reporting from Soledad O’Brien in two hard-hit neighborhoods. And on Monday, Aug. 24, at 6:30 p.m. ET, science and technology program TechKnow investigates the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the results of $12 billion spent to rebuild, re-engineer and re-think the way New Orleans is protected.

The Weather Channel has a week of Katrina-themed content lined up, including Katrina 2065, a special that looks at likely scenarios that could take place if a similar hurricane hit 50 years from now. On Friday, Aug. 28, TWC will air a special report Katrina: 10 Years Later, with Al Roker and Stephanie Abrams. Roker and Abrams will anchor Wake Up With Al live from New Orleans that morning while Jim Cantore (pictured during Katrina) returns to Gulfport, Miss., where he covered Katrina in 2005 for live reports throughout AMHQ. TWC's “Hurricane Week” will air live and long-form programs and specials during the week, as well.

On Friday, Aug. 28, TV One will look at the plight of education in New Orleans a decade after Katrina as part of its daily News One Now morning news series hosted by Roland Martin.

BET on Wednesday, Aug. 26, will premiere a news special, Katrina 10 Years Later: Through Hell in High Water, that will chronicle the lives of a diverse group of people who survived Katrina. 

ESPN has a week of cross-platform content planned, including on digital and in ESPN The Magazine. SportsCentercoverage begins on Sunday morning (Aug. 23, debuting at 10 a.m. ET), with tributes to the city (“Dear New Orleans”) from the likes of Archie Manning and Steve Gleason. New Orleans native Stan Verrett, whose childhood neighborhood was devastated by the effects of Katrina, will host afternoon segments of SportsCenter from his hometown on Friday, Aug. 28, and contribute pieces during the week including one on his return with his mother, Dr. Joyce Verrett, to his parents’ home and neighborhood.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines will feature Hurricane Katrina-related content on Friday, Aug. 28. And the documentary Wuerffel’s Way, about former University of Florida and New Orleans Saints quarterback Danny Wuerffel leading recovery efforts for the Desire Street Academy in New Orleans, will premiere on the SEC Network on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 9 P.M. ET. The documentary focuses on the journey of former University of Florida and New Orleans Saints quarterback Danny Wuerffel – from winning the Heisman Trophy and a National Championship to spearheading, and then leading recovery efforts for that community outreach program after the devastation of Katrina.

And in real life (apart from TV), FYI has teamed with the affordable housing non-profit Make It Right to build a solar-powered new tiny home in New Orleans for a middle school teacher. On Friday, Aug. 28, they will host a house-warming event at the new 469-square-foot domicile in the Lower 9th Ward, including Tiny House Nation host John Weisbarth.

Kent Gibbons contributed to this article.

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