So much devastation. So many lives altered. The Today Show’s Lester Holt came back to remember how Hurricane Katrina played out during its aftermath, and talked to some of the people he met along the way to see if life had gotten back to normal. It was a big storm, but it was a little voice that reminded him it didn’t have to be this bad.
“We just need some help out here. It is so pitiful.”
At 9, Charles Evans, along with thousands of others trapped at the New Orleans convention center by floodwaters, gave voice to the man made disaster born of Katrina.
“Katrina seemed like a scary movie I would never want to watch again,” said Evans, now 14-years-old.
WATCH TODAY SHOW COVERAGE OF HURRICANE KATRINA 5 YEARS LATER
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While most people fled from the hurricane, many wouldn’t or couldn’t. The Superdome, they were told, was a shelter of last resort. Early Monday, Katrina strikes a heavy blow to the Louisiana coast as a category 4 storm, but the eye just misses New Orleans. The big easy is hurting but still standing. By now Katrina is making its final landfall in Mississippi. A storm surge more than 20-feet high wipes buildings from their foundations to Biloxi.
Not only had the storm surge rearranged buildings and swept across the entire port area, there were tractor-trailers overturned, even ocean barges here right at the foot of downtown Gulfport. One of the levees has broken and given way.
Back in New Orleans things were about to get a whole lot worse. There were reports of breaches in the levee system. Cut off, residents retreat to rooftops to escape the waters, begging for help. Today many are still unaccounted for.
Some wondered if New Orleans itself was dying. It didn’t and today signs of recovery abound. But leave it to that little boy from the convention center, to tell you how he sees it.
“I just wish that things would kind of be back to normal,” said Evans. “New Orleans is not back to normal. A lot of people may think that it is but it’s not.”
Somewhere around 1,800 people were lost as a result of Katrina, much of the discussion will be this weekend, can it happen again? In 2008 Gustav blew through here and the city virtually emptied out. Evacuations went much more orderly.