I asked Black women in New Orleans to share how they feel about the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Here’s what some local women said:
“Katrina, for me, is always connected with loss and separation. My family was a lot closer before the storm, but since we all scattered after it hit, we were forced to recreate our lives separately and now ten years on and we’re still working on rebuilding those connections. New Orleans will always be home because that’s where my roots are, but I’m concerned for the future of the city especially for us black New Orleanians. With the cost of living increasing, compounded with crime rates and failing schools that disproportionately affect us, I feel like we’re being squeezed out little by little. But I remain hopeful. My family’s history here is as old as the city itself. If they made it through centuries of storms, so can we.”
Ambata Kazi-Nance, Age: 35
Neighborhood: uptown at the time of Katrina, 9th Ward now
“Temporary reconstruction does not fix socio-economic, deprived, health illiterate, uneducated and under-served communities.When will justice for these problems be addressed? Beautification in tourist areas does not mean we have grown or recovered 10 years post-Katrina. A bridge and several buildings have been restored, but we are far from total restoration.” #WeHaveWorkToDo #StillUnderConstruction #NOLAendangeredSpecies
Tracey Graham, 36
Neighborhood: Greater New Orleans Area
“Immediately following the aftermath, several words emerged as part of the post-Katrina vocabulary– refugee, resilient and rebuild. I just didn’t want to hear those words. They began to burn my ears and still stir my emotions today. I found myself crying out to God daily for restoration. That became my rhetoric.”
Rica A. Trigs, 43 yrs old
“Hurricane Katrina changed my life and my family permanently. Before the storm, my home had eight people: my college-aged twins, my two sons, my grandson, my great-grandson, my granddaughter, and me. Candy was my dog.
Katrina took away my family members through displacement and relocation. My oldest granddaughter and her husband are moving to Canada (after having been in Atlanta and Virginia). They are not returning to the city to live. They will return for visits. I will miss them and their sons very much.
My mother was left on the bridge with some other senior citizens by the national guards. She slept under the bridge. While being lifted by helicopter there was gunfire. She was missing for two weeks. We finally found her. After being back in the city for a while, mom was placed in a nursing home while we were still in Texas. A short time after we returned home, she moved in with us, but she died several months later.
Katrina ultimately caused the death of our beloved dog, Candy. For two months we searched for our dog. We had to leave her behind because we were traveling with my brother and his wife. We found her. She stayed with us for the next five years in Texas. Moving back to New Orleans proved too much for her. Four months after our return, she died.
Willmarine B. Hurst, senior citizen
“Thinking about Hurricane Katrina conjures up bittersweet memories for me. The bitter is in the images of our people fighting to stay alive. It’s hard to get those painful images out of your mind. Replaying them every year doesn’t help with the healing process. The sweet was being able to return home. I meet a group of mothers who looked like me and shared the same story (Katrina). It would later become the foundation for Mocha Moms, Inc. in New Orleans. We’ve supported each other through life, death and rebuilding.”
Sandrell Bentley, 41
President of Mocha Moms New Orleans