More than 150 members of the Eighth Coast Guard District staff returned to their headquarters here today after they relocated to St. Louis more than two months ago due to Hurricane Katrina.
Located in the Hale Boggs Federal Building
on Poydras Street, the Eighth District staff oversees the command and control duties for the Coast Guard's Eighth District, an area that covers all or part of 26 states and is the largest district in the Coast Guard.
In accordance with the district's continuity of operations (COOP) plan, about 50 of the members of the Eighth District staff began deploying to St. Louis on Aug. 27, prior to Hurricane Katrina's landfall. The COOP allowed the staff to manage and support Eighth District functions
from St. Louis, and there was never a lapse in Coast Guard operational capabilities.
While operating from the Robert A. Young Federal Building there
, senior staff members, along with watchstanders assigned to the hurricane incident management team (IMT), conducted 24-hour operations to coordinate the overall Coast Guard response to Hurricane Katrina. The IMT ordered in additional personnel and resources from around the country, ensuring that Coast Guard commanders in the impacted areas had the equipment, personnel and supplies they
needed to properly respond to both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. At its peak, the IMT grew to more than 200 Coast Guard personnel from the Eighth District and around the country.
Having the majority of the staff relocate to St. Louis was very effective.
"Our COOP plan worked fantastically," said Capt. Kevin Marshall, chief of staff for the Eighth District. "Once we were up and running in St. Louis, we were able to effectively respond to the needs of the Gulf Coast before Hurricane Katrina even made landfall," said Marshall. "Now that computer and telephone connectivity in the New Orleans area are once again functional, we are glad to be home so we can continue to help restore the Gulf Coast region, as well as give our own people who were impacted by Katrina the time they need to take care of their personal business and their families."