Sunday, August 26, 2007

New Orleans, Two Years Later

The object lesson here—in addition to the pain and suffering still being felt by the people of New Orleans from the effects of Katrina—is that we are still the least protected major river city in the country, with flood protection barely at the 100 year level, while New Orleans was at the 250 year level.

Survival and revival
New Orleans residents are picking up the pieces of their lives, but the pain remains
By Jack Douglas Jr. and Bill Hanna - McClatchy Newspapers
Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, August 26, 2007

NEW ORLEANS -- It has been a rough two years for Ricky Scales and his family, ever since Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters drove them from their home, sending them on a long journey of frustration, fright, uncertainty and joblessness.

Their troubles began even as they tried to escape the black water spilling from New Orleans' broken levees, when Ricky, wife Tamika and Alfrenisha, 10, were separated from the four other children in the family. The parents and daughter finally landed on the crest of a downtown bridge, collapsed in exhaustion, as they tried to make their way to shelter in the Superdome.

Then, as they continued on, Ricky waded into water over his head. When he re-emerged, Tamika and Alfrenisha had disappeared into the pandemonium of Katrina.

"I was terrified, exhausted," Ricky, now 40, said recently from his new, modest home in New Orleans, his family of five young children and stepchildren back intact, but still suffering the consequences of Katrina's assault that began on Aug. 29, 2005.

"It's real hard starting all over," Tamika, 28, said as she sat on her living room couch, several of her kids squirming beside her. "My children, they're suffering, dreaming nightmares. They get depressed thinking about Katrina."