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The Gulf Coast: Preparing for Extreme Weather Conference held in New Orleans on July 24th and 25th, 2012 brought together an impressive array of over 200 policy makers, scientists, emergency responders, construction experts and conservationists to discuss the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and how the Gulf Region can better prepare for future Katrina-like hurricanes.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu helped kick off the event with compelling remarks that highlighted Louisiana's ambitious 50-year, $50 billion Gulf Coast restoration initiative, a project that will help mitigate the impact of natural disasters on the Gulf coast. The Mayor also underscored the Gulf Coast's national importance as a vital energy hub and said investing to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on the energy supply was in the national interest.

The Gulf Coast: Preparing for Extreme Weather conference provided attendees with the opportunity to discuss how past severe weather events affected the Gulf economically, ecologically and structurally. Other topics addressed included homeowner mitigation, the unique challenges facing the Gulf from natural disasters and best practices in mitigating disaster.

Attendees also participated in workshops that fostered dialogue and generated a series of principles and proposed solutions to better protect homeowners and businesses from the threat of extreme weather. See Principles from Gulf Coast: Preparing for Extreme Weather.

Other highlights of the Conference included remarks from:

  • William Aaron: Chairman of the Board, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce
  • Jerome Zeringue: Executive Director, Gulf of Mexico Alliance, Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration
  • Leslie Chapman Henderson: President/CEO, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)
  • Julie Rochman: President and CEO, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
  • Larry Schweiger: CEO, National Wildlife Federation
  • Jeff Williams: Director, Climate Consulting, Entergy

In addition to event co-sponsors RenaissanceRe Risk Sciences Foundation and Entergy, other event sponsors included the National Wildlife Federation, Weather Predict Consulting Inc, America's Wetlands Foundation and the University of New Orleans Center for Hazards Assessment Response and Technology.