Sunday 25 September 2016

US residents mark 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina devastation

Published 29/08/2015 | 19:53

The Kinfolk Brass Band performs at a Make It Right Foundation function marking the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana August 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
The Kinfolk Brass Band performs at a Make It Right Foundation function marking the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana August 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
Savannah Shange (facing camera) is comforted at the site where the Industrial Canal levee failed in 2005, flooding the Lower Ninth Ward, while she participates in a ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
Tremone Wells, Hurricane Katrina survivor and Lower Ninth Ward resident, walks along the levee of the Industrial Canal one day before the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Community members marking the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by taking part in a remembrance ceremony at the site of the 2005 Industrial Canal levee failure, pray before marching in a second-line parade through the Lower 9th Ward into downtown New Orleans, Louisiana August 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
A woman marks the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by taking part in a remembrance and second-line parade down St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana August 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
Women pray at the site of the 2005 Industrial Canal levee failure, during a ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana August 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
Marchers, including Jennifer Jones (C) mark the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by taking part in a remembrance and second-line parade through the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
Mary Kay, 2nd Queen of the Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi grass Indian Tribe, raises her arms along the Industrial Canal levee in the Lower 9th Ward at a ceremony marking the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
Business owners tend to their shop on Bourbon Street one day before the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A man and his dog watch a brass band perform on Bourbon Street one day before the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Residents of Mississippi and Louisiana have gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the day that Hurricane Katrina slammed into their states - causing deadly and costly havoc.

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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.

Revia Roman, right, kisses Mary Evans, as she marches with members of the NAACP during a second-line parade to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. 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.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Revia Roman, right, kisses Mary Evans, as she marches with members of the NAACP during a second-line parade to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. 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.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Joe Johnson watches with his bicycle as people walk with a second-line parade commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. 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. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

"We saved each other," the mayor said. "New Orleans will be unbowed and unbroken."

In Mississippi, meanwhile, churches along coastal Hancock County tolled their bells in unison to mark the 10th anniversary of the day that Katrina made landfall in the state.

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 Louis, Mississippi.

She said her home, farther inland, was damaged but liveable. Her daughter lost her home in nearby Waveland. Many of her friends and neighbours suffered similarly.

Rizzo Santana, 2, walks with his mother Sierra Santana during a second-line parade to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. 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.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Rizzo Santana, 2, walks with his mother Sierra Santana during a second-line parade to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. 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.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Musicians lead the procession during a wreath laying ceremony at the Hurricane Katrina Memorial, on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

"I feel guilty," she said. "I didn't go through what all the other people did."

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.

The hurricane's force and flooding ultimately caused more than 1,800 deaths and billions of dollars in damage across the region. Wide scale failures of the levee system protecting New Orleans left 80% of the city under water.

Glitzy casinos and condominium towers have been rebuilt. But overgrown lots and empty slabs speak to the slow recovery in some communities.

A second-line parade makes its way past homes built by Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A second-line parade makes its way past homes built by Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In the evening, former president Bill Clinton will headline a free concert-prayer service-celebration at the city's Smoothie King Center. In addition to the former president the event will feature the city's Rebirth Brass Band, award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien and Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Wild Magnolias.

The city has framed the 10th anniversary as a showcase designed to demonstrate to the world how far the city has come. 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.

Many parts of this iconic city have rebounded phenomenally while many residents - particularly in the city's black community - still struggle.

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