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  • Author or Editor: Ginger Fortson x
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Hurricane Katrina (Aug. 2005) and Hurricane Rita (Sept. 2005) were devastating to the central U.S. Gulf Coast region. Hurricane Katrina caused an estimated $10–11 million in wholesale nursery crop damage in Louisiana, while Hurricane Rita caused an estimated $5 million in damages. Average wholesale nursery crop sales in Louisiana account for about $120 million annually. 317 wholesale growers in Louisiana (49% of the state total) suffered damages due to Hurricane Katrina, while 158 wholesale growers (24% of the state total) suffered damages due to Hurricane Rita. Louisiana's retail plant dealers affected by Hurricane Katrina numbered 367 (28% of the state total). Louisiana's retail plant dealers affected by Hurricane Rita numbered 329 (24% of the state total). Retail plant dealers accounted for $511 million in sales in 2002, the year for which figures are most recently available. In the landscape and horticultural services segment of Louisiana's green industry, 703 (36%) were impacted by Hurricane Katrina and 450 (23%) were impacted by Hurricane Rita. While growers and retailers experienced economic hardships ranging from 1 month to permanent, most landscape contractors and horticultural service providers rebounded quickly and were actively involved in storm cleanup and recovery. Some, however, lost equipment, office structures, storage buildings, and vehicles. It is estimated that at least 20,000 of the 56,600 green industry employees in Louisiana were affected by Hurricanes Katrina and/or Rita to some degree. Louisiana's green industry overall provides about $2.2 billion in economic contributions annually.

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