Katrina’s legacy still painful five years after disaster….
NEW ORLEANS (FinalCall.com) – While driving through the Lower Ninth Ward of the city, visitors might be shocked to see that most of it still looks the same as it did when the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina struck—five years ago.
The Lower Ninth Ward, devestated by Hurricane Katrina, has received little help, residents complain.
‘The Lower Ninth was the poster child of Katrina but you can see no evidence of any of the money donated coming to this community. That concerns me.’.
—Jon Johnson, New Orleans Councilmember
This is where Linda Smith grew up, lost her entire home and eventually rebuilt. She sits on her porch reflecting on and sharing the psychological weight she has carried for half a decade.
“I will never forget the day I returned here and saw that my home was completely washed away. It has been hard to get that image out of my head. I think about it beyond this annual anniversary. I reflect on all of the people who won’t be back,” Ms. Smith told The Final Call.
Despite being surrounded by vacant weeded lots, mildewed homes and a depleted population, Ms. Smith is happy she finally returned last year after evacuating to multiple cities with family members.
She was able to secure funding from the state’s Road Home program to build a newer and bigger home on her lot but warns outsiders that the healing process is nowhere near done.
“There is not just a need to mark the anniversary. There is still a need for people to come back. There is still a need for people to get money. I usually walk my neighborhood early in the morning and it is ridiculous how they did the Ninth Ward. Most of the other areas are coming back up but the Ninth Ward is always forgotten,” she said.
The landfall wrath of Hurricane Katrina coupled with the breaching of the levees on August 29, 2005 caused hundreds of thousands to be displaced throughout the country and claimed the lives of over 1,400 people. Over $1 billion in damages hit Louisiana and Mississippi as images of floating dead bodies, crying babies, torn homes, and stranded citizens screaming for help drew world attention to the Gulf Coast.