Blanco Seeks to Remind Lawmakers of Rita Damage

Gov. Kathleen Blanco and legislators set out by bus Friday to tour the lingering damage of last fall's Hurricane Rita, a major storm that was overshadowed by the even more destructive Katrina a month earlier.

Blanco said the tour of southwestern Louisiana, similar to a ride last month to view Katrina's aftermath, will remind lawmakers of the continuing need for storm recovery work. Twenty-nine of the Legislature's 143 members had planned to join her.

The Rita itinerary included a meeting in Lake Charles, followed by stops in the coastal towns of Cameron and Cow Island.

The Category 3 hurricane hit near Johnson Bayou on Sept. 24, causing $15 billion of damage in Louisiana and Texas, according to the National Hurricane Center. No one in Louisiana died, but all or most of Cameron, Holly Beach and other towns was destroyed.

Katrina, which hit southeastern Louisiana a month earlier, killed more than 1,100 people in the state and causing at least $75 billion in damage.