“It is kind of bittersweet. We want to celebrate because we are still here, but a lot of people are not,” Natasha Green, 36, resident of the devastated Lower Ninth Ward, told a Reuters correspondent. It has been ten years since Hurricane Katrine ravaged New Orleans, claiming the lives of 1,500 people and displacing more than 130,000. Much of New Orleans has rebounded, but the poorest continue to suffer.
In a recent photo essay, NPR documents the slow recovery in the Lower Ninth Ward, which still has an abundance of empty lots. The neighborhood, which in 2000 had a population of 14,000, has seen just about 37 percent of households return. The area suffers due to extremely low property value. In some cases, newly built homes are worth less than the cost of construction. And since the property value is low, the federal money allocated for rebuilding sometimes didn’t even cover the full cost of reconstruction. Help in general has been hard to come by. Thankfully, there are some signs of progress. NPR informs us that a high school is opening soon in the neighborhood, and a drugstore is on the way. In the last one year, 150 people have moved back.
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