Photo of the Month: August 2015

This month's photo pair captures both hope and despair on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which wrecked the lives of the poorest in New Orleans.

“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.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – AUGUST 24: Homes are mixed with vacant lots in the Lower Ninth Ward on August 24, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The area was one of the most heavily devastated areas of the city following a levee breach along the Industrial Canal during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed at least 1836 and is considered the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, is August 29. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)


NEW ORLEANS, LA – AUGUST 24: New homes, many with solar panels constructed by the Make it Right Foundation, are mixed with old homes and vacant lots in the Lower Ninth Ward on August 24, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The area was one of the most heavily devastated areas of the city following a levee breach along the Industrial Canal during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed at least 1836 and is considered the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, is August 29. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)


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