New Orleans remembers Hurricane Katrina 11 years on

(30 August 2005) In this file photo, floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina fill the streets near downtown New Orleans. (AP)
(30 August 2005) In this file photo, floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina fill the streets near downtown New Orleans. (AP)

New Orleans – It's been 11 years since the wind, rain and subsequent levee breaks associated with Hurricane Katrina deluged New Orleans.

On Monday, officials marked the occasion with wreath-laying ceremonies to remember those who lost their lives to the flooding and celebrations to commemorate those who survived.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined state Senator Wesley Bishop, state Representative John Bagneris, city council members James Gray and Nadine Ramsey and other officials for an event at the newly-built multipurpose community centre in the Lower 9th Ward, one of the hardest hit areas still recovering.

"These events are always very sober, but it's important to remember the lives lost, especially at the interment site, and important to note though lost or unclaimed, these lives will never be forgotten," Landrieu said.

The mayor noted the nation remains interested in the city even 11 years later.

"People are always interested in the progress New Orleans is making. They're still wondering how in the world we pulled ourselves back up," he said.

At the Andrew P. Sanchez & Copelin-Byrd Multi-Service Centre, a nearly $21m facility that opened last year, Gray said officials mourned the loss of friends and family but revelled in the face of the tragedy.

Still much to do

"But the event was more to commemorate the strength, resilience and endurance of people in the Lower 9 to overcome obstacles and move on," Gray said.

Landrieu said it was important to remember the lives lost while also highlighting the 9th Ward's accomplishments since the devastation, including the opening of new retail stores and a fire station.

Still, both he and Gray said there remains much to do.

"We're moving at a very good pace at this time," Gray said. "There's a new school, new playgrounds, new fire stations. The city has just awarded 188 properties to developers who are promising to build. Amazing progress is coming, and we hope to soon celebrate that."

Gray's office said before Katrina the Lower 9th Ward had about 20 000 residents. Now that number is in the 7 000 to 8 000 range. "The city has put into place the infrastructure needed to try and stand up the Lower 9 and in the next year or two everyone will be impressed with how it and parts of eastern New Orleans are revised."

Gray said the old slogan linked to the area, "I'm from the 9 and I don't mind dying," has been replaced by something coined by Bishop: "I'm from the 9 and I don't mind trying."

"I immediately fell in love with that phrase," Gray said. "There are tons of hard things yet to be done but the celebrations are coming, the celebrations are coming."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When a Covid-19 vaccine for under 16's becomes available, will you be taking your children to get it?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, immediately!
37% - 2404 votes
I'll wait to see how others respond
26% - 1732 votes
No, I don't think they need it
37% - 2407 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.09
(-0.16)
ZAR/GBP
21.02
(-0.23)
ZAR/EUR
18.22
(-0.19)
ZAR/AUD
11.62
(-0.25)
ZAR/JPY
0.14
(-0.54)
Gold
1734.50
(+0.02)
Silver
26.67
(+0.05)
Platinum
1186.51
(+0.42)
Brent Crude
64.40
(-2.56)
Palladium
2310.00
(+0.58)
All Share
66138.05
(-1.99)
Top 40
60754.30
(-2.11)
Financial 15
12200.05
(-1.09)
Industrial 25
86144.34
(-0.81)
Resource 10
67459.85
(-4.14)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo