Persevering in New Orleans

August 4th, 2009 by Admin

From The Washington Times, 7/29/09

As we approach the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it is tempting to assume New Orleans has recovered. The bars and restaurants of the French Quarter are bustling, riverboats filled with tourists float down the Mississippi River, and population levels are creeping closer to pre-storm levels.

That’s only half the story. If you drive into the Lower Ninth Ward, for example, signs of Katrina’s lasting impact slap you in the face. Once heralded for its exceptionally high homeownership rate and spirit of independence, this predominantly black historic community now has occupation rates of less than 25 percent. When more than 50 levees and flood walls broke, flooding more than 80 percent of the city, a wall of water swept through the Lower Ninth Ward, knocking houses off their foundations. Houses that weren’t torn apart were filled with water and left to crumble. Even today, concrete steps often lead to empty lots where houses once stood.

Yet in the wake of the hurricane springs hope. Despite losing everything in the storm, two nurses who had created a health clinic in the heart of the Lower Ninth Ward decided to provide much-needed primary care to the city’s uninsured. The two doctors who serve the clinic often see more than 25 patients a day. Another example is the Common Ground Collective, which has deployed more than 23,000 volunteers for the city’s rebuilding efforts. Efforts like these are helping the community get back on its feet slowly but surely.

This can-do spirit pervades the city… (continue reading)

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