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Katrina 8 Years Later [Opinion]

House in the Ninth Ward damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Mario Tama, Getty Images

I sat right here in this very control room 8 years ago as Hurricane Katrina roared ashore near Grand Isle. The networks all had reporters stationed in New Orleans and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to capture the event live on TV. It turns out the pictures from New Orleans were not that bad as the storm came ashore. There weren’t too many pictures from the Mississippi Gulf Coast at landfall. It was being hammered.

The next day was when things started to get really bad in New Orleans. I remember having Anderson Cooper on the control room TV and hearing him talking to a very concerned official of Tulane Medical Center. There was water filling the streets of New Orleans, a levee had been breached and all hell was about to break loose.

So where have we come in these 8 years? If you travel to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and check out casino row you might not ever think a storm had passed. The buildings are beautiful. The landscaping is green and lush. The crowds are back and the economy is flourishing.

Meanwhile down the road in New Orleans parts of the city remain a ghost town. There are entire neighborhoods that are just sitting and waiting for Mother Nature to return them to the soil. It’s true the French Quarter is thriving and some of the businesses that bugged out of New Orleans have returned but the progress has been painfully slow.

What is the difference? If you guessed money then you and I would be in total agreement. The Mississippi Gulf Coast came back because there was money to be made by companies and local governments that needed the cash flow.

In New Orleans and Baton Rouge it seems the progress has been stifled by those who first felt the need to line their own pockets before extending the aid to an injured community. Then there were those residents of New Orleans that were content to be waited on by the government. It’s that same mentality that put so many of them in the Superdome and in harms way.

Do I know what I say as a fact? No I don’t.  Does it appear to be painfully obvious to even my untrained eyes? It does. That is my opinion. What do you think? Should New Orleans be further along in the recovery from Katrina or are things about where they should be? Now is a great time to reflect as we think back to 8 years ago today.

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