As many are aware, today is the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. In the time since those devastating storms and floods, New Orleans has certainly made huge strides in recovery. Though it will always be a city divided - before Katrina and after Katrina - it is flourishing in a whole new way.
But as fate would have it, on this day of remembering, New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast is under barrage from Hurricane Isaac. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those in the affected areas. Our founder and president, Patti Vile, releases this statement on this anniversary and new challenge:
"The brave citizens of New Orleans are again facing a hurricane to test their nerves, endurance, and their love of the city.
"In the seven years since Katrina, New Orleans has made some giant leaps and has addressed many issues while leaving other issues to be further considered and solved in time. The physical beauty of New Orleans has definitely returned. Immediately following Katrina, there was not a green space or blade of grass or trees or anything but the gray aftermath of the storm. Now New Orleans is green again, with new buildings and colorful homes and residents.
"While many families are struggling to regain some sense of a normal life after Katrina, we find them again today with new challenges from Hurricane Isaac. So many people do not have housing, and we are very concerned that this number is escalating as the day goes on.
"My wish for New Orleans is that they retain their spirit and their very unique culture. While no one can boast food and music like New Orleans-ians, the need to continue addressing poverty, crime, and issues of education is still pressing.
"Let's send New Orleans our prayers and best wishes on this anniversary and as they face this new challenge."
Just as New Orleans has taken big steps in recovering from Katrina, so too will they get through and flourish beyond Hurricane Isaac. And we will be there to help them do it.
To help those affected by the storm, please donate to the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, St. John's #5 Church and Social Ministry, the Lower 9th Ward Village, or Second Harvest Food Bank - or consider taking your group on a volunteer trip to New Orleans with Volunteer Expeditions.