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Aug 30, 2011 2:39 AM by Jim Hummel

New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward: 6 Years After Katrina

Monday marked a somber anniversary in Louisiana; the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans.  

"Six years ago today, we were actually floating on the roof of our house," said Robert Green, a resident of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward.  

Hurricane Katrina not only swept away Green's home, but loved ones as well.  His mother, Joyce H. Green, and 3 year old granddaughter, Shanai Green, both died in the aftermath of the storm.  

Thanks to actor Brad Pitt's "Make it Right Foundation," Green now lives in a new house, which is in the exact spot the structure he called home for 44 years once stood.  On the front lawn, a memorial  dedicated to the memory of his mother and granddaughter.

Green chose to mark Monday's somber anniversary on a positive note.  Under his carport, family and friends tapped their feet to a jazz band while enjoying an outdoor dinner.  For Green it was about looking forward, not back.

"Life didn't stand still for the destruction of this neighborhood," said Green.  "We have to move on because that's the past and the future is what we live for."

Despite Green's optimism, there is still plenty of blight in the Lower 9th Ward.  Drive down almost any street and you're sure to see abandoned homes and vacant, overgrown lots.  Those sights that are constant reminders of darker days and invoke very dark memories.

"They were tied together with a rope," said India Bell, describing a neighboring family that perished trying to stay together in the storm surge.  "I guess the current was too strong."

Bell grew up in the Lower 9th Ward and had moved to Acadiana to attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette just days before Hurricane Katrina struck.  Her family was able to safely evacuate, but her childhood home had to be rebuilt.  Still, looking around her neighborhood, she's frustrated with the slow-pace of the recovery.

"It's going to take years," said Bell.  "It's coming, slowly but surely, but it will never be the same."

 

Jim Hummel

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