Five years ago today, the city of New Orleans was beaten and battered by Hurricane Katrina. Since then our city has been in the process of rebuilding. There are some bright spots to be noted. The charter school system is improving education standards in the city and ground is about to broken on a new community hospital. Did I mention it is home to the World Champion New Orleans Saints? The most important factor driving this city’s recovery is it’s people. We are a unique breed. We are taught to love life and to love each other. We take our faith very seriously and we gather with friends, food, and music to celebrate everything from Superbowl wins to funerals.
Time has passed quickly since Hurricane Katrina turned most of our lives upside down and now we go days or sometimes weeks without saying her name. We still refer to most events as pre-Katrina or post-Katrina and everyone asks where you were for the storm or where you evacuated to. Last night, a group of my friends sat around and we shared our stories. Some are heartbreaking, some are hilarious, and some are a combination of both. What has changed for me since the storm is that I now live 32 feet above sea level. Considering my old home was 5 feet below sea level this is a big change. I have made new friends and have had friends permanently move to other places because they were transferred.
As the city continues to rebuild it is important to look back at where it has been. It has moved on from the utter destruction caused by the combination of weather and the failure of the levee systems. The pure choas that ensued when people lack the basic necessities such as food, water, and safety. The events that occured in the aftermath of the storm should never be repeated. In 2008 we evacuated from Hurricane Gustav and the evacuation happened much earlier and went much smoother then previous evacuations. The point i,s we are learning from our mistakes. Here are just a few of my pictures from right after the storm.
This was a scene from the Lakeview area by the 17th Street Canal levee breach.
A home destroyed by the levee breach.
This was my great-grandmothers home where I spent every Sunday for lunch. The water was over the roof.
The infamous taped up refrigerator. The smell of these refrigerators all around town were gut-wrenching.
This boat was on the neutral ground by Lake Ponchatrain. It’s name Patrician caught my eye.
My husband was at the Lakefront Airport in charge of getting its runways open to air traffic. He took this picture of a jet parked in between the trees.
A common sight traveling around town. The military had a strong presence after the storm. I also became an expert at eating MRE’s.