Ten Years after Katrina: A Tale of Two Cities

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When Hurricane Katrina churned up the Gulf of Mexico 10 years ago, levees failed, the waves rushed in, and four-fifths of the City of New Orleans was left under water. Some residents were stranded on rooftops, others were crammed into the Superdome, roads and highways leading out of town were gridlocked with evacuees.

That historic disaster has been transformed into historic recovery. Politicians, business leaders and crowds of tourists are celebrating a booming economy. But New Orleans may have lost as much as it's gained. More than 100,000 black residents haven't come home. Old-timers fear that unique traditions of art and music aren't coming back, either. As to the future, can new levees designed by the Army Corps of Engineers provide better protection than those it designed before?

Abandoned houses in the Lower Ninth Ward.
In the distance is a house rebuilt by Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation

Deserted block in the Lower 9th Ward

The Cornstalk Hotel in the French Quarter
Photos courtesy of Bill Kleiman