Five years ago, KYW’s Brad Segall was in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit and provided live reports as most of the city was inundated. He returned to the city last week to see firsthand how the rebuilding and recovery was going.
He found things looking up in one of the parishes that borders the City of New Orleans as residents gathered at a community center (above) to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the storm:
Walking through St. Bernard Parish, it’s hard to believe that almost every one of the more than 26,000 homes was destroyed by the storm and the floodwaters.
About 40,000 people have returned, putting the population about 30,000 below its level before the storm.
Gretchen Meyers (above left) says the water was over the roof of her home, but she’s returned and is living in her rebuilt house:
“I think that we’re going to probably have emotional and mental repercussions for the rest of our lives from this, but I will say that it has gotten better as the time has gone on. Immediately following (Katrina) I cried a lot. But you know, you just persevere and you move forward.”
But you might be wondering why she and her family came back.
“I didn’t know my life was going to change forever, and it has. I wish Katrina never would have happened, but this will always be home. My heart will be here forever (even though) I’m not sure that I’m going to stay here.”
Fire chief Thomas Stone (right), who stayed through the storm and its aftermath, says it’s a tightly knit community and the rebuilding goes on:
“We lost ten fire stations. We have seven of the ten back up and we have three still under construction. I still have firefighters who live in trailers and apparatus that are stored in tents.”
(Photo #1 by KYW’s Brad Segall)