Flat Stanley Visiting the First Female Governor of Louisiana,
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
December 27, 2007
Thank you so much for sending me to visit your Aunt Laurlie in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am having a very exciting time in her fast paced world of disaster recovery. I have learned so much in the short time I have been here in Louisiana's capital. Your aunt works for the Disaster Recovery Unity (DRU) for the state. She is responsible for reporting on the work done by the state to assist Louisianans in rebuilding their homes and businesses.
The homes and businesses were wiped out during hurricanes Katrina and Rita which occurred in 2005, when you were only 5 years old. Louisiana lost 250,000 people to other states as a result of these storms. Population estimates released by the Census Bureau today show Louisiana gained nearly 50,000 people from July 1, 2006, to July 1, 2007, for a total population of 4.3 million. One million has 6 zeros, so Louisiana has a population of 4,300,000! Where did all of these people go when they left Louisiana..... to the great state of Texas! This can be seen in Texas's total population gain after the hurricanes. Texas gained more people than any other state: Its 2006-2007 increase of almost 500,000 was ahead of runner-up California, which added slightly more than 300,000 people.
If you thought one million was a large number, let me tell you about one billion. One billion has 9 zeros: 1,000,000,000. Aunt Laurlie's organization, the DRU, is responsible for giving out over $5 billion so far in grant money to help people rebuild their homes. Over 80,000 Louisiana homeowners have been helped.
The person responsible for leading Louisiana during and after these storms is the state's first female governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. I am sorry I missed you at Christmas. Aunt Laurlie said you asked about me, but I was spending Christmas with the Governor. Please see our picture. She was very nice to have me over. I would like to add her picture to my website. Aunt Laurlie can send you the electronic version so your teacher can pass it to the people maintaining FlatStanley.com. I will try to catch up with you at Easter.