Families Scattered by Hurricane Katrina Still Making Their Way Home

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Fleeing Katrina with 3 kids, $40 and a plane ticket to Chicago.

Saturday marked 10 years to the day since hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Churches along coastal Mississippi tolled their bells in unison Saturday morning to mark the 10th anniversary of the day that Hurricane Katrina — one of the deadliest storms in U.S. history — made landfall.

Gladys Bombace arrived at O’Hare International Airport on Sept. 5, 2005, with her three young girls, $40, a weathered photo ID and a plastic bag full of clothes soaked by Hurricane Katrina. Residents in Mississippi and Louisiana were marking the somber anniversary by paying homage to those who died in Katrina, to thank those who came to rebuild and celebrate how far the region has come since the hurricane struck. Addressing dignitaries at New Orleans’ memorial to the unclaimed and unidentified dead, Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke of the dark days after the monstrous storm and how the city’s residents leaned on each other for support. This video, produced by New Orleans filmmaker April Robinson in 2006, recounts the Hurricane Katrina experiences of The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com staffers who continued to report online and in print after rising floodwaters forced the evacuation of the newspaper’s Howard Avenue offices on Aug. 30, 2005. Her daughters, too young to even remember the devastating Gulf Coast hurricane, were back in their Waukegan schools this week along with the friends they’ve made in their adopted hometown. “I’ll be forever grateful that this community opened their arms to us, even though we’re not from here,” Bombace, a single mother, said Tuesday as she reflected on the decade since Katrina struck her former home in Kenner, La., near New Orleans. “They understood what we had been through,” she said while keeping watchful eyes on her daughters — Bridget, 13; Lilly, 12; and Isabella, 10 — as they played in a park near their McKinley Avenue home.

Community members gathered in the Lower Ninth Ward, the area hardest hit by the storm, which has not been fully restored in the decade following Katrina. Eloise Allen, 80, wept softly into a tissue and leaned against her rusting Oldsmobile as bells chimed at Our Lady of the Sea Catholic Church just across a two-lane street from a sun-drenched beach at Bay St.

In the lead-up to the anniversary, urban planners, politicians and community leaders spoke at panels to discuss the storm, its aftermath and how it will impact the future of the city. People were on their roof tops screaming for help,” Bombace said. “We had no choice but to leave.” Bombace and her girls were first evacuated to Houston, where volunteers bought them airline tickets. Governor Jindal, a Republican presidential hopeful, had written a letter to Obama ahead of the event asking him to not mention climate change in his remarks.

Katrina’s force caused a massive storm surge that scoured the Mississippi coast, pushed boats far inland and wiped houses off the map, leaving only concrete front steps to nowhere. He said more than 954,000 volunteers came from around the country to Mississippi in the first five years after the storm, and many were motivated by faith. A third president, Bill Clinton, was scheduled to speak later on Saturday at an event called the Power of Community, meant to commemorate the city’s resilience.

In a series of events in the week leading up to the actual anniversary, the city has held lectures, given tours of the levee improvements and released a resiliency plan. In addition to the former president the event will feature performances by the city’s “Rebirth Brass Band,” award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien and Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Wild Magnolias. After several speeches, a parade snaked through the neighborhood while music played from boom boxes and people sold water from ice chests under the hot sun. Smith applied, and after being accepted, she and her husband, Raymond, helped build their new Waukegan house. “The most important thing you have is your family.

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