Rebuilding Lives Summit

Rebuilding Lives Coalition
Disaster Recovery
Lake Charles, Louisiana
January 2009


More than 200 people from across Southern Louisiana united for a day to create a Rebuilding Lives Agenda for displaced residents.  Citizens, advocates, service providers, government staff and elected officials all took part in the AmericaSpeaks 21st Century Town Meeting® where they identified the most important needs that local, state and national leaders must address to support the people of Louisiana trying to rebuild their lives after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav. The Summit was convened by the Rebuilding Lives Coalition and facilitated by AmericaSpeaks.

A diverse crowd participated in the Rebuilding Lives Summit. Most demographic groups were represented. Participants ranged from homeowners to the homeless, those will full time jobs to students and retirees and citizens to elected officials. Together in small facilitated groups, participants worked to identify collective priorities. They shared their feelings about their personal recovery from the storms, discussed what they had in common with others, and what where the most important issues to be addressed by local, state, and national leaders to help rebuild lives. Participants also tackled issues of affordable housing, job training, case management, and coordination with federal recovery programs.

Ninety-seven percent of participants rated the Summit as very good or good and eighty-seven percent of participants made a commitment to remain involved with the Rebuilding Lives Coalition. The Coalition will respond to the needs identified during the Summit with a policy agenda that citizens and advocates can advance with a united voice over the coming year.


Gulf coast residents from vastly diverse backgrounds came together to discuss common values and come up with next steps for recovery. Eighty-seven percent of participants made a commitment to remain involved with the Rebuilding Lives Coalition.