recovery

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

St. Bernard Parish officials want to raise awareness of how the parish was affected by Hurricane Katrina ten years ago. The parish is holding its own Katrina 10 events this week, featuring art displays, public banners indicating the level of water the area took, parish first response offices, and visits to Army Corps of Engineers flood protection projects.

This week is filled with events marking the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Among them: a conference on the current state of Black New Orleans.

The three-day conference — hosted by the Urban League — kicked off with a town hall and panels focused on education.

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans today is smaller than when the storm hit, with 110,000 fewer people than the nearly half-million who had lived there. But the city's recovery is a story that varies with each neighborhood. In some neighborhoods, like the Lower Ninth Ward, many residents never returned. Others, like the French Quarter, have seen many newcomers and now have more households than they did in 2005.

The head of the federal agency for volunteering and service says Hurricane Katrina created new ways of thinking about disaster response for volunteer organizations.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Ten years after Katrina, the Army Corps of Engineers says it is ready for the next big one. The Corps has built new levees, floodwalls and gated structures over the past decade to protect the city and its people.

In the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, law enforcement in New Orleans erroneously told evacuees to gather at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to await rescue.

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, much of the physical damage the storm caused in the city of New Orleans has been repaired. Neighborhoods and communities have been rebuilt. Schools, hospitals, businesses, and restaurants have re-opened.

But as Laine Kaplan-Levenson of WWNO in New Orleans reports, a deeper, invisible wound brought by the storm remains. Thousands of residents, and especially children, were traumatized by the storm and the displacement and struggle that followed.

It was known as the "Swankiest Night Spot in the South" and considered one of the most famous clubs in the network of black cabarets known as the "Chitlin' Circuit." During the era of segregation, it was the cultural mecca of black New Orleans — what the Savoy Ballroom was to Harlem. Little Richard, a frequent performer there, even composed a song about the place.

Undeterred by the devastation, second line clubs returned to New Orleans a few months after the flood, determined to uphold the city's cultural traditions. This photo is of the 2009 Prince of Wales second line parade.
Jason Saul

Well, we’ve made it. Almost. It’s been a long, hot summer and this is our last episode as we come up on the tenth anniversary of Katrina.

The city is abuzz with journalists and experts and NGOs and politicians. We thought we’d use this last bit of The Debris to explore a word they’re all using to talk about New Orleans: resilience.

Angela Chalk lives right in the middle of New Orleans, in the 7th Ward. Her house withstood Hurricane Katrina's pounding winds, but not the flood that followed when the federal levee system failed.

"I had 6 feet of water," she says, pointing to a watermark on her wall.

And she wasn't alone. About 80 percent of the city's homes were inundated with floodwater. It was weeks before the water receded and Chalk was able to return home.

When she did, what she found was a crusty brown mess.

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