Hurricane Katrina: New Orleans marks 10 years since disaster

New Orleans marks 10 years since disaster.

Commemorations are taking place in the US city of New Orleans to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

At a memorial service, Mayor Mitch Landrieu recalled how residents had turned to each other for support.

Later, former President Bill Clinton will attend a concert in the city.

Hurricane Katrina killed nearly 2,000 people and displaced one million. It was the most expensive natural disaster in US history and caused destruction along the Gulf coast.

In New Orleans, the failure of the levee system left about 80% of the city under water.

Mayor Landrieu led a sombre tribute to the 83 unidentified victims whose bodies lie in mausoleums at the city’s Hurricane Katrina Memorial.

“Though they are unnamed, they are not unclaimed because we claim them,” he said.

Ceremony at the Lower Ninth Ward levee. 29 Aug 2015
Image captionA ceremony was held at the levee in the Lower Ninth Ward
Prayers at New Orleans Katrina Memorial. 29 Aug 2015
Image captionPrayers were said at the Hurricane Katrina Memorial

“We saved each other,” the mayor added. “New Orleans will be unbowed and unbroken.”

Residents and community activists also gathered at the levee in the Lower Ninth Ward, where storm waters broke through and flooded the district.

After speeches, a parade took place through the neighbourhood, with some participants in colourful Mardi Gras dress.

“It is kind of bittersweet. We want to celebrate because we are still here, but a lot of people are not,” said Lower Ninth Ward resident Natasha Green, 36.

“It is important to remember what we went through here.”

Throughout the day, thousands are expected to take part in traditional musical parades through the city’s streets.

A hand-holding ceremony is also due to be held at the Superdome arena that housed thousands of displaced people after the storm.

President Barack Obama visited the Lower Ninth Ward on Thursday, praising “the extraordinary resilience of this city and its people”.

But although the city has largely recovered from the disaster, some – particularly from the African-American community – feel left behind.

Dwight McKenna, publisher of African-American newspaper the New Orleans Tribune, told the BBC that rebuilt public housing projects were now too expensive for many poor black people to move back to.

Parade in New Orleans. 29 Aug 2015
Image captionTraditional New Orleans parades are part of the anniversary

“The population of New Orleans… is 100,000 less black people than prior to Katrina. Black people have been left out of the recovery altogether,” he said.

Later on Saturday, former President Clinton will attend a free concert at the city’s Smoothie King Center.


His administration was criticised at the time over its slow response and the issue remains a source of deep resentment in the city.

In a speech, he said he would never forget the images of “misery and ruin”.

Neighbouring Mississippi was also marking the anniversary and on Saturday morning church bells rang out across coastal Hancock County.

In Biloxi, a memorial to Katrina’s victims was held at a newly built Minor League Baseball park which will later host a concert.


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