This below question came up as off-handed comment in an email filled with unrelated material, in a Yahoo group that I'm in. It's a group comprised of around 60 people from around the world, none of which besides me live in New Orleans or even the Southeastern United States. The guy who posted the email is from out of the US. (I'd give him and his country credit, but I truly don't remember. I think it's the Netherlands.)
To answer his question, I combined my personal hurricane Katrina story with bits of my friends's stories to try to give a rounder picture of our situtation.
>>BTW, speaking (earlier) about New Orleans... Today I saw a recap of 2 and a half years later and still, nothing has been done. Is this true? Why?<<
The short answer - No, that is not true. Thousands of people have worked really hard to try to bring New Orleans back. The media reports what it wants to see.
The long answer -
Imagine this situation: You've lived in New Orleans your entire life so you are used to hurricanes. At least once every few hurricane seasons (June 1 through November 30), there is one storm that you evacuate for. (You don't worry about the "minor" ones, only evacuating for the Category 3 or above storms.)
This new hurricane is predicted to hit to the east of New Orleans, but may shift so you call your friends in northern Louisiana and ask to stay for a few days. You pack three days worth of clothes. (That's as long as you've ever evacuated.) You put all your valuables in the attic. (When Betsy, the last major hurricane to hit New Orleans, came through your neighborhood in 1965, your house sustained one foot of water so you figure your stuff will be safe in the attic.)
You leave on Friday, August 26 with a full tank of gas and $500 in your pocket, telling everyone to have a good three day weekend.
Hurricane Katrina hits on Monday, August 29.
The National Guard finally lets you back into your neighborhood on Monday, October 3. You have been gone for over five weeks.
You had left a week's worth of food for your cat. He's been dead for a couple of weeks. Killed by a racoon.
Your house is on a hill six feet above the street, but the water still made it to your gutters and almost to your roof. A total of 17 feet. Remember that your same area received one foot of water during hurricane Betsy - and that water came in and was gone within a day. The water this time sat for over two weeks. Everything in your house is covered with black sludge. Mold is starting to crawl up your walls.
You call your home owners insurance company. They say that the damage to your house was caused by flood water which is not covered by your policy. They offer you $10,000 for the contents of your home. You call your flood insurance company. They tell you that the damage to your house was caused by wind damage not flood water. They offer you nothing.
You apply for a Road Home Loan - that you'll have to pay back in addition to the mortage still outstanding on your home. The Road Home has a nine-month waiting list. In the meantime, you max out your credit cards fixing up your home.
After two years, you're tired of living in a 150-square-foot FEMA trailer next to your house. You're ready to move home. The news reports about the trailers containing nearly toxic level of famaldahyde make you nervous.
Now imagine that situation has happened to EVERYONE you know in YOUR city. Every family member. Everyone on your street. Everyone in your neighborhood. Everyone you work with. Over 250,000 people.
How long would it take you and your city to recover?