Rising from the ashes

Many of the buildings, especially in the suburbs of New Orleans still have burning reminders of the devastation. A large red X covers at least one wall of most of the abandoned or not yet renovated houses and local businesses. In the four quadrants of the X, onlookers could read valuable information about the struc- ture. A system developed by FEMA to be used in times of search and rescue, this symbol has become an eerie reminder of loss and tragedy.

At the Katrina exhibit in the Louisiana State Museum, a sign explained the significance of the quadrants within the X. The time and date the rescue team left the structure occupies the top space. On the left-hand side, you would find a code for the rescue team in charge of the search. A list of hazards and obstacles within the structure are placed in the right-hand quadrant, and finally, the body count—both alive and dead—occupy the bottom quadrant.

Many people up north do not realize just how hard Katrina hit the beautiful city of New Orleans. Sure, we all watched the live footage that began airing at the end of August, 2005, but what we haven’t seen is the continual struggle that plagues the natives to the area.

Today, almost six and a half years later, the population of New Orleans has not yet reached 50 percent of what it was pre-Katrina. In June, 2011 one news outlet reported that the homeless population in Orleans and Jefferson parishes is over 70 percent of what it was in 2005.


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