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Some refered to it as a celebration, others rather thought of the day as a commemoration. But the tenth anniversary of Katrina proved to be an opportunity to reflect on the past and look at what dangers lie ahead.
But according to the New York Times, most New Orleanians appeared to feel confident in their city's eventual recovery, which many said took long and seemed to be an insurmountable task at times. The report also highlighted that ten years after the hurricane there were differences along racial lines in how locals viewed the success of the city's renaissance and whether it would be a lasting achievement. Poor black families, in particular, said they still felt the burden of the disaster ten years on.
While the city's population numbers have gradually been rising, many of those, who were forced to leave New Orleans, have not been able to come back. Meghan Sullivan, an ultrasound technician, who now lives in Houston, Texas, said her family could not afford to start their lives over again in New Orleans.
"We had to evacuate quite suddenly and leave everything behind that didn't fit in the car. We didn't realize it was going to be this bad, but we lost everything in the storm." Sullivan explained.
"A year later, we decided to move to Houston. We were pretty much priced out of buying a new home in New Orleans at that point already. There simply weren't enough properties around. And now, people, who have never lived in New Orleans before, are spending insane amounts of money to buy tiny condos and miserable plots of land, while no one knows how long it will take until the next natural disaster hits the city."
Gentrified and fortified - to what end?
This gentrified and glorified version of New Orleans has become a relocation magnet in recent years, largely due to new infrastructure opening up the market to outsiders. But the fear of another Katrina being just around the corner remains a preoccupation for many New Orleanians, who - if they can afford it - try to protect their properties with various insurance policies, while adding structural changes to fortify their houses.
But Sullivan says that all these efforts almost seem futile when looking at the way New Orleans is surrounded by water:
"There's Lake Pontchartrain to the north, Lake Borgne to the East, there are swamplands in all directions, especially the south, and then you've still got the great Mississippi River – not to mention all the manmade canals that run through the city. If there was any more water surrounding New Orleans it would be an island. With the city also being below sea level you're really looking at a ticking time bomb," she told DW.
This abundance of water is what caused Katrina, the costliest natural disaster in US history, in the first place, and it also appears to be a menace on the minds of many people in New Orleans, especially those, who have spent all their lives living in the city.
A new direction in government assistance....................
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