Katrina Anniversary Nears

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 3:23pm

New Orleans is preparing for the fifth anniversary of the hurricane that nearly wiped the city off the map.

The Gulf Coast will mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this Sunday,
but there is not a single day that passes that people don't remember what happened, or don't feel a part of what was lost.

Even now, five years later, the images are still overwhelming, the emotions still raw.

"It has traumatized us," says Biloxi, Mississippi resident John Hans. "Just as sure as we had gone to combat and seen destruction, death, we've all been traumatized by this."

After Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Mississippi coast an empty slab and littered pool were all that Hans had left.

"I made up my mind right off the the bat that I was going to rebuild the house exactly like it was," he says.

He's done that, down to the color of the paint and antique furniture inside.

It's something so many of his neighbors can't, or won't, do.

The latest census data shows the population in Biloxi has dropped every year since Katrina
and is down more than 10-percent overall.

The numbers are even worse, in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

Only 24-percent of the residents there before the levees collapsed have made their way home.

"It's sad that five years later, look at this place, it looks like the water just came through here last week," says Katrina survivor Terry Adams.

In other parts of the city there are some signs of growth.

"Now we have 78% of the population that we did before the storm in the city.. and in the metro area 91%," says the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center's Dr. Allison Plyer.

That progress is framed by pockets of debris, and even in places like the refurbished Convention Center, the horror of what happened still echoes, haunting memories and constant reminders
that the struggle to survive still continues.
 

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