recovery

The story of New Orleans' recovery in one business

Aug 11, 2015
David Brancaccio and Katie Long

It’s been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina and the flood-of-floods struck New Orleans. In the following decade, the city has transformed its public schools, housing and business community.

After being picked up from the curb, 'Katrina refrigerators' were hauled to landfills, stripped of rotted food and chemicals, and the metal and plastic were recycled.
Alice Welch / USDA

This week on Katrina: The Debris, we're exploring the actual debris — the stuff left behind when the winds died down and the floodwaters receded.

Katrina changed our relationship with that "stuff" — the tangible things that make up our modern lives. Some things became much more important, while so much else became just trash to be left on the curb for pickup.

Ten years after floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina breached the levees, inundating and devastating the city, many residents feel the city is making significant headway, according to a new poll by NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which nonetheless reveals deep racial disparities in the recovery.

NPR's David Greene speaks with Liz Hamel, director of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation about the survey findings.

How independent businesses kept New Orleans afloat

Aug 10, 2015
David Brancaccio and Katie Long

Panera and Starbucks are fine, but Laurel Street Bakery is something different. Hillary Guttman, the proprietor, recalls no chain coffee places opening near her in the weeks that followed the flood. First responders were a hungry market themselves.

It's blazingly hot outside and five summer fellows from the Tulane City Center are standing in a playground at a youth center in New Orleans. The architecture students diplomatically describe the playground's design as "unintentional": There's no grass, trees or even much shade, and it's surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The students, both graduate and undergraduate, are there to make the playground a little nicer.

"Right now, it feels like a prison," says Maggie Hansen, the center's interim director.

Anniversaries call for exhibitions, and art museums across New Orleans felt compelled to remember Hurricane Katrina as the 10th anniversary of its landfall approaches. But the anniversary shows at some of the city's most high-profile museums seem surprisingly understated, at least to outsiders' eyes. In fact, they barely seem to be about Katrina at all.

In 2009, then-Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki declared that all homeless veterans would have housing by year's end. New Orleans has made huge strides towards ending veteran homelessness in the city. (This story first aired on August 4, 2015 on All Things Considered.)

In a lush green bayou a little southeast of New Orleans, John Lopez and Howard Callahan are cruising the waterways in an airboat under the hot Louisiana sun on a recent day.

It's an area known as Breton Basin, and Callahan is a local land manager who often helps researchers such as Lopez explore environmental changes in coastal wetlands. The pair head to a concrete and steel structure that separates the bayou from the nearby Mississippi River.

A small credit union brings Hope to New Orleans

Aug 5, 2015
Noel King and Caitlin Esch

Bill Bynum, the CEO of Hope Credit Union, has a couple of striking pictures hung on the walls of his Jackson, Mississippi, office.

Banking on a New Orleans recovery

Aug 4, 2015
Noel King and Caitlin Esch

Alden McDonald, the President and CEO of Liberty Bank, takes a pair of work boots from the trunk of his car and paces the perimeter of a branch that's under construction in New Orleans' Gentilly neighborhood. He lobs question after question at his contractors: what's the square footage on the restrooms? Where will the tellers sit? Is it possible to remove one wall and add some open space? McDonald is nothing if not persistent. It's a character trait that helped when Liberty faced its most trying time.

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