Harvey Forces Community To Mark Katrina Another Day

Aug 29, 2017

Tuesday marks 12 years since Hurricane Katrina smashed into New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, bringing destruction and taking more than 1,500 lives in Louisiana alone. Communities in the Ninth Ward had planned to mark the day with a second line Tuesday morning, but rain from Tropical Storm Harvey forced them to postpone the event.

Death touched nearly every New Orleans neighborhood during Katrina, especially the Ninth Ward. That's where rap artist SESS 4-5 is from. He's helped organize a second line every year since the 2005 storm to remember the lives lost, and those that are still here.

"It's just hard dealing with these same things 12 years later" - Activist and musician SESS 4-5

"The natives that are rebuilding and dealing with everything that's happened post-Katrina," he says.

SESS 4-5 says more than a decade after Katrina, his community is still dealing with housing issues, trauma, and infrastructure problems.

"Twelve years later dealing with the damaged Sewerage and Water Board pumps — those things are not fixed after billions and billions of dollars being allocated to the city," he says. "It's just hard dealing with these same things 12 years later."

Parts of the city flooded during heavy rain earlier this month. Later, Sewerage and Water Board officials revealed the city's pumping system was damaged and not working at full capacity during the deluge. Since the Aug. 5 floods, several pumps and one generator have been repaired. The Sewerage and Water Board says 106 of its 120 pumps are now working.

The Katrina remembrance has been moved to Sunday, Sept. 3, beginning at 10 a.m. at the corner of N. Galvez Street and Jourdan Avenue in the lower Ninth Ward. The second line will be led by the Hot 8 Brass Band, and wind through the Ninth Ward up to the Seventh at Hunter's Field, where there will be a rally with speakers and musical performances.

Organizers are also collecting donations for people being displaced by Harvey as that storm takes its toll on the region. SESS 4-5 notes that many of those being impacted now by Harvey moved to Houston from New Orleans after Katrina.

"A lot of those folks are New Orleanians, and we understand the battle that they will have," he says. "They have a real uphill battle."