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Gulf Coast states mark 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

August 29, 2010 - UNITED STATES

On the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, President Barak Obama acknowledged that recovery has been slow. He vowed to see that turf wars and red tape didn't hamper recovery, and the 5th anniversary of the storm offers a measuring stick. New Orleans appears to be returning to its old self, but throughout the region, boarded-up houses, overgrown vacant lots, homelessness and a lack of essential infrastructure tell a story of continuing impediments to recovery.Hurricane Katrina became one of the deadliest hurricanes in United States history when it overwhelmed the New Orleans' levees, putting some 80 per cent of the city under water. It lashed the Gulf Coast, destroying some 200,000 Gulf Coast homes, killing approximately 1800 residents and displacing nearly one million. Disputes over who will pick up the tab for individual recovery projects cause many of the delays.

On the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, President Barak Obama acknowledged that recovery has been slow. He vowed to see that turf wars and red tape didn't hamper recovery, and the 5th anniversary of the storm offers a measuring stick. New Orleans appears to be returning to its old self, but throughout the region, boarded-up houses, overgrown vacant lots, homelessness and a lack of essential infrastructure tell a story of continuing impediments to recovery. Hurricane Katrina became one of the deadliest hurricanes in United States history when it overwhelmed the New Orleans' levees, putting some 80 per cent of the city under water. It lashed the Gulf Coast, destroying some 200,000 Gulf Coast homes, killing approximately 1800 residents and displacing nearly one million. Disputes over who will pick up the tab for individual recovery projects cause many of the delays. The fifth anniversary is likely to see wreath-laying ceremonies throughout the region. In New Orleans, a tolling of the bells marks the time of the catastrophic levee breaches. Five years on New Orleans is on a roll. The 2010 Mardi Gras brought the biggest crowds to New Orleans since the storm; the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl for the first time in the team's 43-year history; and in Nov 2009, a judge held the Army Corps of Engineers liable for the flooding in certain areas after the hurricane. The ruling will more money locally for the recovery effort. And the stricken city's story will soon be retold in the Home Box Office miniseries, 'Treme.' The development is likely to keep pressure on the recovery effort, which often snags on the question of whether a local or a federal agency will pay the bill for a particular project. Set in New Orleans' Treme neighborhood, the tale starts in the months after the hurricane. But homelessness remains a problem in the city. The Associated Press reported that by Nov 2007, New Orleans had 12,000 homeless people— almost double from before Katrina. The anniversary is likely to prompt a new head count of residents of the area, with the figure used to measure progress since the storm. Former residents continue to return to the area. Estimates on the fourth anniversary suggested that New Orleans' population was 75 per cent of its pre-Katrina level. If the trend continues, the fifth anniversary estimate will be higher. (Last updated Jul 2010)

Judge says U.S. liable in Katrina (LA Times 19 Nov 2009)

In HBO's new series 'Treme,' John Goodman looks back in anger (LA Times 7 Apr 2010)

After Katrina, Staying Afloat With Music (NYT 8 Apr 2010)

Amnesty: US guilty of Katrina-related abuses (AP/WP 9 Apr 2010)

HBO cooks up a jazzy gumbo, drama begins as Katrina is ending (Louisville Courier-Journal 12 Apr 2010)

Firm overseeing New Orleans recovery defends work (AP/Business Week 16 Apr 2010)

Were Katrina Victims Victimized Again? (NBC-NY 16 Apr 2010)

Date written/update: 2010-08-29