Ten years on, Hurricane Katrina’s scars endure for Black New Orleans
A decade after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans seems to have found its rhythm again: the French Quarter is choked with tourists, construction cranes tower over the skyline, and hipsters bike to cafes in gentrifying neighborhoods.
But recovery has been uneven in the city, which took the brunt of the 2005 storm that killed more than 1,800 people and was the costliest in U.S. history.
Many properties still bear physical scars from the hurricane, particularly in poorer African-American neighborhoods. Social, demographic and political changes still ripple through the city.
In the mostly Black Lower Ninth Ward, devastated by the flooding, Charles Brown is still attending services in his pastor’s nearly empty living room, waiting for the day when Mount Nebo Bible Baptist Church is rebuilt.
The Black population of the city, long a hub of African-American culture, has plummeted since Aug. 29, 2005, the day Katrina swept in from the Gulf of Mexico and over-whelmed the levees meant to prevent flooding in the low-lying city.
Income gaps between Blacks and whites have widened. Many African-American neighborhoods and the businesses supporting them have not fully recovered.
Brown’s family and neighbors were among more than one million evacuated from the region after Katrina, which exposed deep poverty in the city, and displaced more people than any other event since the Dust Bowl drought and dust storms of the 1930s.
Brown, an emergency responder, stayed behind to search for the missing.