New Orleans Reports: The Ninth Ward

The Post Katrina Cleanup Drags On

By: - May 10, 2008

Visiting the 9th Ward of New Orleans, some three years after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, we didn't know what to expect. But we wanted to experience this other side of the Big Easy.

While driving into the city we had passed a vast area of trailers acting as "temporary" shelter. There is now an approaching deadline for families to move out of that makeshift housing.

There were signs of recovery and rebuilding. We passed families that waved back to us in greeting. There were kids playing in back yards. But far too few in proportion to the extent of neighborhoods.

You wondered if folks will ever come back and revilatize what was once a vibrant community. It was interesting to note that some of the churches were now functional while the homes lag behind. Because of the marshy water table homes are built on cinder block supports with no basements. But these elevations proved to be inadequate when the water level rose to some eight feet.

We talked with some folks who were open about sharing their harrowing experiences of being trapped in attics or days without food and water on bridges and other patches of high ground. They directed us to the Musician's Village and other new construction projects of Habitat for Humanity. That experience will be a part of our continuing coverage of New Orleans.