Two years gone, Katrina-town same

We have a New Orleans forced to move out and an America that has moved on.

Floods are ‘acts of God,’ ” wrote Gilbert F. White, a floodplain management expert, in response to the Great Mississippi River flood of 1927, “but flood losses are largely acts of man.”

Two years ago last week, Hurricane Katrina damaged much of the north-central Gulf Coast. New Orleans flooded as the storm raised water to levels that overwhelmed the city’s levee system – 80 percent of New Orleans was underwater.

After the floodwaters receded, America said it would rebuild the city. President George W. Bush, two weeks following the disaster, said he wanted evacuees to come back to New Orleans for a chance at a better life. Yet, over a third of New Orleans’ residents have still been unable to return to their homes.

A better life does not exist in New Orleans. The city is lost to the inaction by the United States regarding the displaced people of New Orleans. For it is the people that make the city; they must be restored as well as the infrastructure.

Some residents – who had the financial ability – have moved away and started anew, though in most cases their financial stability has been greatly weakened. Many others – the majority of who had no savings and who were not homeowners – are left waiting.

More than 30,000 wait in Federal Emergency Management Agency subsidized apartments miles away from their homes or often in other states. Thirteen thousand still live in FEMA mobile homes, some of which are lined with harmful formaldehyde.

Those waiting might never come home, because low-income rental properties are not being replaced.

PolicyLink, a nonprofit research group, said 21 percent of the 77,000 rental units in the city will be rebuilt through government funds. Only $869 million has been allocated by the state to the Small Rental Property Program, while $6.3 billion is to be paid to the Road Home’s assistance program for homeowners. PolicyLink also reported rent has been doubled or tripled in most cases.

The Superdome stadium has been renovated and the French Quarter has been cleaned. The New Orleans the rest of America sees is recovering, while the people of New Orleans are still waiting to recover.