Not Pretty: New Orleans Still Devastated Almost 5 Years After Katrina!?

AGM Countdown: In the run up to Amnesty International’s Annual General Meeting in New Orleans this weekend, the Science for Human Rights program will be posting a new blog entry every day this week. All of the projects presented this week—and many more—will be at display in New Orleans.

With the AGM being in New Orleans this year, and as we are fast approaching the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall on the Gulf Coast, Amnesty International is committed to raising awareness about the slow progress in housing recovery, as well as the demolition of public housing, and the problems of blight and homelessness in the city of New Orleans. Recent estimates of homelessness in New Orleans have ranged from nearly 10,000 individuals and families to as many as 12,000.

AI has been active in working to protect human rights in the Gulf Coast as the region rebuilds after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Initially focused on the right to housing, AI’s Rebuilding the Gulf project now focuses on promoting a broader range of human rights concerns that arise in disaster affected areas.

In an effort to raise the visibility of the human rights conditions in the region, Amnesty International’s Science for Human Rights Program has created a visual representation of the level of destruction and lack of reconstruction using aerial images taken of the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, before and after Hurricane Katrina, and also by analyzing postal information by Census Block, again before and after Katrina hit. This information plainly shows how many people left the area and have not been able to return (or at least aren’t receiving mail any more) as well as the amount of infrastructure that was damaged, and as of 2009 when the aerial image was taken, hadn’t been repaired.

New Orleans postal data

Click image to see full visual

In addition to this visual representation, AI is creating a Google Earth Layer, implanting photos taken on a GPS camera from a recent AI mission to region, including stops in Gulfport, Mississippi, and New Orleans. These geo-referenced photos, along with some additional images, show the level of devastation that STILL exists to this day, as well as simultaneously demonstrating the lack of progress of reconstruction that has occurred, in particular to, the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana. This GE layer will be uploaded to our website soon.

Although it has been almost five years since Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, much still remains to be done to rebuild the Gulf Coast. AI believes that the best and most effective way to secure and rebuild lives is by respecting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of those affected.

If you happen to be in New Orleans this weekend, please check out this project, and many other Science for Human Rights projects at AIUSA’s AGM.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

18 thoughts on “Not Pretty: New Orleans Still Devastated Almost 5 Years After Katrina!?

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  2. I have been down there sevral times since Katrina and have seen some of the inequality–it appears that a lot of it has been rebuilt, but when you see the tent cities, the torn down public housing and the continuing lack of adequate health care, you realize that much more has to be done to rebuilt the structure of the city and not just cover it up in new fabric. That is why I am proud that my organziation, People to People Ambassador Prorgrams lauched this website to show support – http://www.rememberNOLA.com It supports LOCAL charities that are working hard. Show your support please.

  3. I have been down there sevral times since Katrina and have seen some of the inequality–it appears that a lot of it has been rebuilt, but when you see the tent cities, the torn down public housing and the continuing lack of adequate health care, you realize that much more has to be done to rebuilt the structure of the city and not just cover it up in new fabric. That is why I am proud that my organziation, People to People Ambassador Prorgrams lauched this website to show support – http://www.rememberNOLA.com It supports LOCAL charities that are working hard. Show your support please.

  4. I have been down there sevral times since Katrina and have seen some of the inequality–it appears that a lot of it has been rebuilt, but when you see the tent cities, the torn down public housing and the continuing lack of adequate health care, you realize that much more has to be done to rebuilt the structure of the city and not just cover it up in new fabric. That is why I am proud that my organziation, People to People Ambassador Prorgrams lauched this website to show support – http://www.rememberNOLA.com It supports LOCAL charities that are working hard. Show your support please.

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  6. I have been down there sevral times since Katrina and have seen some of the inequality–it appears that a lot of it has been rebuilt, but when you see the tent cities, the torn down public housing and the continuing lack of adequate health care, you realize that much more has to be done to rebuilt the structure of the city and not just cover it up in new fabric. That is why I am proud that my organziation, People to People Ambassador Prorgrams lauched this website to show support – http://www.rememberNOLA.com It supports LOCAL charities that are working hard. Show your support please.

  7. Why don't you open your own pockets and give out of your own money.

    All you want is government handouts (i.e., my tax money).

    Give some of your own money.

    You people are just so evil. Cheap and evil.

    The fact is that land which is below sea level in uninhabitable.

    Moreover, the fact is that these people, by their own choice, chose to live below sea level and on a coastal area yet had no flood insurance.

    They must absorb their own losses due to their delinquency.

    If you are so concerned about them, open up your own pockets and give them money.

  8. Why don’t you open your own pockets and give out of your own money.

    All you want is government handouts (i.e., my tax money).

    Give some of your own money.

    You people are just so evil. Cheap and evil.

    The fact is that land which is below sea level in uninhabitable.

    Moreover, the fact is that these people, by their own choice, chose to live below sea level and on a coastal area yet had no flood insurance.

    They must absorb their own losses due to their delinquency.

    If you are so concerned about them, open up your own pockets and give them money.

  9. @Vincent: I am not quite sure why you feel the need to make such blanket statements but clearly you have a level of anger toward the situtation. Do you really need to use the word "evil and "them"?" They are fellow Americans. Why use that kind of dehumanizing language?

    There is a history of injustice which has resulted in poorer people being forced to live in areas more prone to flooding (it is called redlining) and 80% of the city was flooded due to the levee breaches. So, the poorer people were disporportionately affected. People should help themselves. But, it is up to us to help our fellow Americans (and humans) when they are in great need. That is our duty. That is what makes us civilized and not a bunch of savages.

  10. @Vincent You do realize that MANY cities are below sea level right? Why in gods name do you think this matters? Because you heard a talking point posed by someone once and thought "oh that makes sense, let's apply zero critical thinking to this"? Uninhabitable? What a ridiculous thing to say about one of the oldest cities in North America. Really, just stupid.

    That being said. I think this article is way way too harsh. I live in New Olreans and we certainly are no longer "devastated". Obviously swaths of the city are blighted – you cannot rebuild a city in five years – doubly so in a political culture that's steeped in scandal and inefficiency. Yeah, homelessness is a problem. I don't have any statistics but is it that much worse than it was before the hurricane? It doesn't look all that much worse.

    On the other hand we've sections of our economy in a boom whereas the rest of the country is in recession, we just elected a progressive mayor and our school system has been undergoing serious changes. This is one of the most hopeful cities in the United States.

    There is a lot that we have left to work on obviously. There's things that we're going to be working on for a long time and we need help and really truly appreciate the help that we get, But is the city "devastated"? Not hardly, and I would appreciate if you don't spread that rumor. One of the things that I personally am working on is bringing tech businesses into the area, and as you can imagine, articles like this one (along with questions of 'are you still under water') is not helping.

  11. @Vincent: I am not quite sure why you feel the need to make such blanket statements but clearly you have a level of anger toward the situtation. Do you really need to use the word “evil and “them”?” They are fellow Americans. Why use that kind of dehumanizing language?

    There is a history of injustice which has resulted in poorer people being forced to live in areas more prone to flooding (it is called redlining) and 80% of the city was flooded due to the levee breaches. So, the poorer people were disporportionately affected. People should help themselves. But, it is up to us to help our fellow Americans (and humans) when they are in great need. That is our duty. That is what makes us civilized and not a bunch of savages.

  12. @Vincent You do realize that MANY cities are below sea level right? Why in gods name do you think this matters? Because you heard a talking point posed by someone once and thought “oh that makes sense, let’s apply zero critical thinking to this”? Uninhabitable? What a ridiculous thing to say about one of the oldest cities in North America. Really, just stupid.

    That being said. I think this article is way way too harsh. I live in New Olreans and we certainly are no longer “devastated”. Obviously swaths of the city are blighted – you cannot rebuild a city in five years – doubly so in a political culture that’s steeped in scandal and inefficiency. Yeah, homelessness is a problem. I don’t have any statistics but is it that much worse than it was before the hurricane? It doesn’t look all that much worse.

    On the other hand we’ve sections of our economy in a boom whereas the rest of the country is in recession, we just elected a progressive mayor and our school system has been undergoing serious changes. This is one of the most hopeful cities in the United States.

    There is a lot that we have left to work on obviously. There’s things that we’re going to be working on for a long time and we need help and really truly appreciate the help that we get, But is the city “devastated”? Not hardly, and I would appreciate if you don’t spread that rumor. One of the things that I personally am working on is bringing tech businesses into the area, and as you can imagine, articles like this one (along with questions of ‘are you still under water’) is not helping.

  13. Gee Whiz Vincent! You are like so many others that it makes me feel ill! I was there when the bad guys were building the levee with substandard materials. Everybody, it seems, had their hand out for a piece of the pie, in the way of kickbacks and payoffs. Oh, did I forget to mention that the corruption involved politicians and officials, construction companies, and the Corps, etc. Mostly government folks created a levee system destined to drown thousands and cause suffering untold. Don't give me the spiel about "doing the right thing by reporting the schemes to officials and authorities"! I did that in 1986 and presented taped evidence. Are you a bleeding heart for the perpetrators of the disaster? Hey, who are you anyway? Might you be one of those corrupt Corps of Engineers? Or maybe a member of any of those other government agencies?

  14. Gee Whiz Vincent! You are like so many others that it makes me feel ill! I was there when the bad guys were building the levee with substandard materials. Everybody, it seems, had their hand out for a piece of the pie, in the way of kickbacks and payoffs. Oh, did I forget to mention that the corruption involved politicians and officials, construction companies, and the Corps, etc. Mostly government folks created a levee system destined to drown thousands and cause suffering untold. Don’t give me the spiel about “doing the right thing by reporting the schemes to officials and authorities”! I did that in 1986 and presented taped evidence. Are you a bleeding heart for the perpetrators of the disaster? Hey, who are you anyway? Might you be one of those corrupt Corps of Engineers? Or maybe a member of any of those other government agencies?

  15. There have been many nearby states that offered up relocation and jobs that were nor taken advantage off there were also other states that were devastated from Katrina we are not still taking care of them still, I am sorry but sooner or later you need to move on from this and take resposibility for your selves there is plenty of help for folks but you need to be willing to do something about your situation.

  16. There have been many nearby states that offered up relocation and jobs that were nor taken advantage off there were also other states that were devastated from Katrina we are not still taking care of them still, I am sorry but sooner or later you need to move on from this and take resposibility for your selves there is plenty of help for folks but you need to be willing to do something about your situation.

  17. Amen Amy!

    Many in our population live as though everything is an entitlement. The Federal Gov't has dumped as much $$ and resources as it should. The rest is left to the people.

    It is time for more individual responsibility and local and state responsiblity.

  18. Amen Amy!

    Many in our population live as though everything is an entitlement. The Federal Gov’t has dumped as much $$ and resources as it should. The rest is left to the people.

    It is time for more individual responsibility and local and state responsiblity.