Ten years ago, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it was the city's Lower Ninth Ward that was hit the hardest.

"I remember coming back home," Lower Ninth resident Burnell Cotlon told his mother, Lillie, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "That was the first time I cried."

"We lost everything," Lillie says.

Examining the Gulf Coast's master plan

Aug 21, 2015
Lizzie O'Leary

When you talk to some residents along the Louisiana coast about rebuilding after Katrina, they'll say it almost doesn't matter if you rebuild the area unless its protected from another storm — and like many things, that hinges on money.

How Katrina changed the face of New Orleans

Aug 21, 2015
Lizzie O'Leary and Raghu Manavalan

In the 10 years since Katrina, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have been reshaped in many ways: who lives there, the kind of work they do and what they can afford. Being Marketplace, we wanted to "do the numbers" on New Orleans.

Allison Plyer is executive director of the Data Center, a New Orleans-based think tank that publishes the New Orleans Index, a data-based looked at the demographics of New Orleans.

Total city population: Down

Trombone Shorty visits his childhood home

Aug 21, 2015
Lizzie O'Leary and Jenny Ament

Troy Andrews, who is better known as Trombone Shorty, started performing as a child in a family and neighborhood of musicians in Treme, New Orleans.

Now he's one of the city's musical luminaries. He also started a foundation to teach young musicians how to make a living in the music business.

Andrews speaks with Lizzie O’Leary while strolling through his old neighborhood.

Big Freedia, entrepreneur and Queen Diva

Aug 21, 2015
Jenny Ament

Big Freedia, born Freddie Ross, is known as the queen diva of bounce music. Bounce has made her famous, and she has a reality show and an autobiography.

Ten years ago, she was riding out Katrina with her family. Freedia tells her story outside the church in New Orleans' Third Ward where she learned to sing. She starts by defining bounce.

“It’s up-tempo, it’s heavy base, it’s call and respond. It has a lot to do with shaking the derriere.”

After Hurricane Katrina's massive storm surge annihilated tens of thousands of homes on the Gulf Coast, many families tried to quickly rebuild. Ten years later, some are still trying, while others are losing hope.

Tiny Pearlington, Miss., sat unwittingly in the center of Hurricane Katrina's path of devastation. They eye of the storm passed directly overhead, and a 30-foot storm surge nearly obliterated the town.

Ian McNulty

As the Hurricane Katrina anniversary draws closer, you’ll hear a lot about New Orleans restaurants and what their comeback did for the city’s recovery. You’ll hear some of this for me too. It’s an important story, and a powerful one.

But first, I need to acknowledge the role played by a different sort of establishment that came back fast on the heels of Katrina, a type that may not have necessarily served food but did provide social nourishment — served up by the glass, the cup, the bottle or whichever way they could manage it.

Businesses revive one street in New Orleans

Aug 20, 2015
Caitlin Esch

Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans connects the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain. It crosses from high ground to low, passing through wealthy neighborhoods and low-income communities. Some sections flooded after Hurricane Katrina, others didn't.

You can pretty much tell the story of the city's post-Katrina recovery just by dropping in on businesses along that street. So that's what we did. We zoomed in on one section of Elysian Fields — an industrial stretch that took many years to come back. And we talked to the business owners responsible for the rebirth.

The people of Bayou la Batre, Ala., say you know their town by the four seasons.

"Shrimp, fish, crab and oyster," says Stephanie Nelson Bosarge. "That's your four seasons."

Bosarge grew up here in a house less than a thousand feet from the water — one of nine kids, the fourth generation to work in the seafood industry.

Today all that's left of the house is a concrete slab. Grass and weeds are creeping up over what's left of the oyster run, where a conveyor belt once carried shells between the shuckers.

Lisa Richardson, left, is the Director of Research & Evaluation at the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies. Denese Shervington, right, is its President & CEO.

For a couple of years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans’ narrative belonged to the people who endured the storm and those who helped rebuild after it. But as time went on and the city recovered, things changed. New demographics emerged and people started talking about “the new New Orleans.”

These changes left many people, including psychiatrist Denese Shervington and urban anthropologist Lisa Richardson, wondering about the city’s new identity and their place in it.