When the levees broke: Two years later
“We've got a lot of rebuilding to do ... The good news is — and it's hard for some to see it now — that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before.”
--President Bush, touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005
Two years ago today, residents of Louisiana and Mississippi heard about the storm that would forever change their lives. Hurricane Katrina didn’t make landfall until August 29th, but off the coast, the winds were gathering.
As we know now, Katrina wasn’t a category 5 hurricane by the time it hit New Orleans, but 780,000 people were displaced, 123,000 homes suffered major or severe damage, and more than 18,000 businesses were destroyed.
Resettlement remains sporadic and city services uneven. Crime has spiked. Rebuilt levees are holding, but they need billions of dollars more work.
On today's Your Call, I spoke with survivors about their personal experiences, what they've lost, and what they are doing now to rebuilt their lives and their city. You can listen to the archived show here.
Endesha Juakali, a housing activist with Survivors Village, a tent city erected on June 3 of last year by the residents of New Orleans public housing.
Sandy Rosenthal, founder of Levees.org. Sandy founded Levees.org in November 2005. Her mission is to inform the public that New Orleans was destroyed primarily by bad engineering and not bad weather. The group is also calling for an 8/29 Commission to investigate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – in 1965, Congress authorized the corps to construct flood protection in metro New Orleans.
Calvin Mackey of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state body overseeing construction of Louisiana.
Our grandchildren will be shocked to learn that we allowed this to happen to our own people.