tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 29, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EDT
projects work with sea level rises. but what are you going to do about manhattan and new york and boston and the southern part of florida? you will build dikes around that. we are chasing our tail on the initial thing. unless we change the way we are doing things, why don't we move 'e move these people inland 15 or 20 miles? in 20 years, we will not have coastal cities anymore. situation.o joke the ipc see is assuming some dracula's thing with the lowest common denominator every century, which every scientist it is as salt says ridiculous number and assumes we have some dracula's way of carbon out of the
atmosphere. you have to look at the big city. picture. the big we will lose the coastal cities. resourcest have the to do what is necessary. guest: thank you. on a lot of topics in a lot of different areas. i will try to answer as best i can. first, there are lots of different models that show different rates -- i will talk about subsidence in louisiana -- but also different rates of sea level rise. local and relative sea level rise. they all give you different numbers. central point is that people make a choice where they want to live. people like to live around water. that comes with risk. there are different things you can do to mitigate that risk.
when you choose to live in these places. i do not think it is a practical matter. i lay back to the politicians to tell people where they live. people need to decide where they want to live and be smart on the risk of doing so. one of the things we have done -- i do not just mean the u.s. army corps of engineers. i mean the things we are doing ,th noaa, fema, universities other countries. we are looking at how do you tackle sea level rise. we have a calculator starting on the atlantic seaboard that applies to manhattan and other areas. looked at scenarios in 50 and 100 years on different changing conditions. fema put maps together. we are putting that together so we can work with floodplain managers and city manager is to make decisions that affect people in communities and try to
plan the community around what can happen. the biggest thing is to anticipate what could happen and make smart decisions on what people can do to absorb that. balance that. to the story is still being told. there is no lack or white answer on what to do with changing climate. but we are doing a lot of engineering analyses and working with colleagues and other scientists to project what future conditions could be. people need to be able to decide where they want to live and accept the risk that goes with it. mike is calling from baltimore but originally from new orleans. when did you leave? guest: -- caller: my name is john connor. the president said, is a melting pot. i agree with that.
but america has to understand it is a melting pot of richness. all different flavors. that should not be watered down or replaced with a starbucks. because we are all americans. in that melting pot of richness, we make the flavor for each other. clinton in new orleans. you are on the air. aguilera, thank you for your candor. the levees on the 17th street canal, the west levy is higher than the east levee. the water pours over the east side of the levee. is the situation going to be remedied? the: d live in the lake area of newer -- do you live in
the lakeview area of new orleans? caller: yes. host: where you flooded in 2005? caller: yes. guest: earlier, heard peter talking about -- and president bush -- talking about new orleans being below sea level. what we know is that the topography around new orleans varies widely between the mississippi river and lake ponchatrain. around our folks lived the london canal. when the reach is occurred, he was not flooded and his neighbors were. the reason that happens is the natural ground that there is at different heights and elevations. that makes the engineering design the how we levees hard and it makes it harder to try to halt people understand what the risk could be when they see different
heights of the levees and floodwalls. so based on the typography and you end up,deling, in some places, with different heights of levees and floodwalls, because it is based on what we expect to happen when the surge comes in. we are working on other parts of the system. the 100 year system is completed. but other components are being done as well. one of the things no one has mentioned yet that causes us to that, if you happen to have high river levels in the mississippi river, which could happen when you have a have ane, in -- hurricane come in, what would happen if we surge overwhelms the mississippi river levees? that is something we have done to improve those levees, especially when they tie into the new hurricane system. so you may see different
heights, but it is based on the model and we have done with the uncertainty and resiliency and with the fifth the year life taken into account -- the 50 year life taken into account. host: did the mississippi river over run its banks during katrina? did not. but when we look over the past years when we were designing a hurricane system, we realized it could be possible. that you could have high enough river levels and you could get surge that will come up the river. improvedhat we have the mississippi river levees as well. up until a few weeks ago, the river level was high. it has dropped several feet, but still higher than normal. it rocked five feet in the last few weeks. an occasionuld be
where you have high river levels at the same time during hurricane season. host: 202 is area code. 748-8000 if you live in your lens and you have a specific question for the army corps of engineers. former be joined by the mayor marc morial layer, -- by the former mayor marc morial later. pat, good morning. turn down the volume on your tv. i just turned it off. i am calling more about the city of new orleans and the people of new orleans. i started going there 32 years ago when i go to the golf course in james, louisiana for the weekends. married in wisconsin in 1983. we have been to new orleans at then.15 times since
we have been there six times since katrina, most recently last september. each time we come back, we find the town is much better, cleaner. i feel much safer there. i think the police force is more friendly. mainly to the people of new orleans, the people that own the businesses, are much friendlier. even the prices have been lowered, i think. i feel much safer now with the way they have built the levee in case they would unfortunately be caught in a hurricane. overall, i think of the town has improved so much, as far as being cleaned up. the restaurants have been added. we still go to the same ones. friendlier then before katrina. i think the town has improved
100% as far as safety. people being friendly. i can't believe president bush actually wanted to close the town down. he could see the difference if yet ever been there before and now. i feel much safer the way that -- host: i think we got your point. anything you want to add? for your loveou of new orleans. i have spent many years of my life here. now,e in washington, d.c. what that pool and love to new orleans continues. this town has a spirit. after katrina, a lot of people came in to help. entrepreneurs, love people. tulane university made it mandatory to have a year of community service for the students. so many people have come here to add to new orleans, help it recover, and also to make it
better. hasmayor, mitch landrieu, his resiliency strategy he launched a few days ago. ,verything the city is doing with partners, nonprofits, volunteers, a lot of the new people and the entrepreneurs in, as well as the incredible people that have lived here for many years and are from here, that has made new orleans a resilient place. continued improvement in education, business is. lots of examples. it is wonderful to see how the continuestinues and to improve and get better. i appreciate your passion and think you for coming back here time and time again. homa, louisiana, close to new orleans. caller: i was wondering, i know
over -- once or twice over the , the army corps of engineers breached levees to relieve pressure, i guess. every time it has been done, it blue-collarour neighborhoods, low income neighborhoods, are destroyed. i am baffled by how -- white -- -- how higher income would you say it -- rich arele's neighborhoods always protected and looked out for to try to divert water from flooding those places? how do you come up with the way you will breach and where you will breach the levees? several things. thank you for calling in. i will talk about the area of
new orleans in new orleans east first. new orleans east, st. bernard, that area was one of the most economically disadvantaged in the area prior to katrina. it was one of the most vulnerable areas, as far as risk rum surge flooding -- as far as risk from surge flooding from a storm that would go into lake pontchartrain. in those areas where the outfall canals, where prior to katrina, we had floodwalls but no closure to help block the surge. the system we have put in, one of the linchpins of the system, is a over $1 billion surge barrier with closure structures surrounded by floodwalls. these are some of the highest ones in the area, over 32 feet. on the west bank is the west bank closure structure, also a surge barrier.
it has a copying station. those things together, with the interior features, reduce the risk for new orleans. one of the things you mentioned -- i will talk about hurricane isaac. the 100urricane isaac, year system around new orleans performed as designed. areas,look at other those areas were flooded by the search isaac brought in. there is no improved levee system there -- the levee systems that work the state tried to make better. those areas where the water was building up and there was danger of people losing their life, the pairs and the state decided to use a common engineering technique to try to relieve , when you have water against the levees. you called it a breach. it relieves the pressure on the
water, which mitigates flooding. it is something people do in extreme flood situations. mother nature does not care how much money people have and where they live. inher nature will ring storms and water anywhere she chooses to go. durham-aguilera, this final tweet for you. eithernt to know what actuation plans does louisiana/new orleans have in place citizens now? are there designated safe places? guest: imb disaster emergency manager for the army corps of engineer's. speaking of evacuation plans, after katrina -- this was in --thewhen gustav hit state of louisiana has a
considerable evacuation plan which includes contraflow, shelter, arrangements with other states. to include the things they can industries so you can get things open quickly, whether it is pharmacies or gasps patients -- gas stations. but there are those things in place. the director with of the program. i was impressed how comprehensive the plan is. but the army corps of engineers, along with fema, we run a hurricane evacuation plan. cities do studies for and counties along coastal areas to look at evacuation plans and help them get better. you can get this information online. they describe the evacuation plans and scenarios of what people can do.
everyone who lives in an area like this needs to know what to do and have their personal family prepared nation -- preparedness kit. had two kits.e, i a personal one and my federal one because i was part of the federal response team. host:recommitmented to every ci he neighborhood too. host: and now joining us is jim amoss from the tao "the times-picayune" newspaper. what is the significant of this 10th anniversary? guest: the importance for us is it's a milestone we've always looked forward to we've always been told when our reporters when to other disaster areas right after katrina that you will measure your progress at that 10-year mark. that will be your yardstick.
and you'll be able to see whether you've made significant progress as a community. and indeed, we have. by most measures. certainly by the measures of education of our children and by economic developments, the growing entrepreneurial class in new orleans, of course, many areas that new orleans as a very poor city still has a lot of progress to make. but i don't think anybody in the morning hours of august 29 and e days after that would have -- would have reasonably expected that we would come as far as we have come in these 10 years. host: where were you on august 29, 2005? guest: i was in a sleeping bag in my newsroom, not sleeping, however. because the storm was just beginning to hit. i had just pervaded my wife and
my son to evacuate which took hours to do. they were very resistant. and then i when to our newsroom where many of our reporters and photographers and editors were bedding down to await the arrival of the storm and then the coverage of the storm. and in the middle of the night, the power left our building and you could hear the full force of the wind. a really terrifying sound as the new begin to bear down on orleans. and of course, we didn't know at that point what the extent of the disaster was going to be and we didn't know at that point that the levees that the floodwalls that had been shotsly built by the u.s. army corps of engineers would collapse and the floodwaters would inundate the city, an area.
this really bears repeating. an area seven times the size of manhattan. an urban area seven times the size of manhattan under water and staying under water in brackish salt water for three weeks. a really unimagineble and equaled disaster in the united states. host: and the video that we were showing while mr. amoss was talking, that included some videos that c-span shot one year after katrina in august of 2006, just to give you a sense of what the city looked like and then some of the destruction around there. mr. amoss, for those three weeks, did you remain in new orleans and what was your life like? guest: no, we weren't able to remain in new orleans beyond the next day because the water was rising around our newspaper building and we knew we would be cut off and not be able to communicate with our journalists. so we -- we got into newspaper
delivery trucks and fled to -- and fled to baton rouge where we established a headquarter and managed our staff from there. and at the same time, reporters and editors from the -- "the times-picayune" stayed in the city and covered it and went into some of the really badly stricken areas, even helped save eople's lives. host: jim amoss is the editor of "the times-picayune" and kevin is a former new orleans resident, now in houston. kevin, you're on the "washington journal." caller: good morning.
guest: good morning. caller: my personal interest about what's going on in new orleans and what has happened in new orleans is strictly about the treatment and the disenfranchisement of persons of color in new orleans all my life. the seriousness of politics not only gotten to move away from new orleans but they're making it almost impossible for persons to move back. mortgage rates have doubled. everything is making it almost impossible for blacks to return. why is that? for one. number two, being disenfranchised has a lot of psychological scars that's attached to that. you want people to do what's right and this government has never been fair.
we do know now that this was a federal disaster, not caused just by katrina, but by the improper structure and the design of the levies. -- levees. so hard for people time to o be -- it's do something, my friend. guest: kevin in houston, you raise an immense question that has lots of facets to it and that is really a question as you have indicate not just for local leaders in new orleans, but is a national question. and if you look at new orleans, the dark side of over things that we're celebrating today, a lot of them have to do with the african-american population of new orleans. the fact that 50% of
african-american males in this city are unemployed. the fact that in our prison system, 90% of the people who are incarcerated are african-americans. and the fact that the majority of the estimated 5,000 people who are still displace right hand poor and are african-american, are all factors that should weigh heavily on our national conscious. and i know -- conscience and i know the difference between people of means -- many people of means have their houses flooded have lost them altogether. my colleague who have lost everything they owned, but they have the resources. they have the -- just the know-how to deal with bureaucracies. they had recourse in other parts of their family to be able to eventually get back and to rebuild.
many poor people haven't been able to do that and as you said, weren't given enough money. take, for example, the so-called elevation grant, which was given to people a few years after katrina in order to elevate their houses and put them more out of harm's way of a hurricane in a future hurricane. many people who got those grants use them for other kinds of renovations just to make their house habitable. and then they were told by the government well, you didn't use it to -- and therefore, you must pay us back. and it's only recently that the tide has changed on that and they are going to be given forgiveness for that. but that's just one example of the many obstacles that poor people have faced in trying to come back to new orleans and it's telling that the black population of new orleans have not come back nearly as strongly other ethnic groups and the
disproportionately, the recovery, the difficult part of the recovery has been born by people of color. host: ted is calling in from ennsylvania. caller: how are you doing? on the river from the chesapeake bay to new york, we feel we've all been lied to. a lot of us are born and raised here in this land. -- along the river, one way or the other. that after the 1972 floods the corps of engineers told us if the dams up towards new york, upper pennsylvania were in operation, they would have lowered the river three to four feet. well, we had a flood in september of 2009, they didn't lower the river one inch. everything that was the worst flood we ever saw in this river and we got no help from fema,
from nobody. all of the people up along this river got nothing. now, another incident. when you -- they have several people after the 1972 flood, excuse me, that wanted to come in and dredge the river section by section for the materials in the river and they were stopped. they wouldn't let them dredge it. i know they've got a lot of excuses. the next thing i want to talk about -- host: hey, you know what, ted, we have to stop you. we have a lot of callers and we want to get as much as possible. any response to that, mr. amoss? guest: yeah, the agencies that safeguard our cities and notably, the u.s. corps of engineers, they're human agencies and they're indeed, fallible and that certainly was born out in katrina. the big canal that connect the port of new orleans to the gulf
of mexico more quickly than the mississippi river would caused tremendous damage over the years to our wetlands and our marshs and only yesterday did a judge in new orleans finally say that the federal government has to bear the entire cost of repairing the damage that was done by the federal government in the 1950's. that's one of the example that needs to safeguard the coastal cities in particular. host: and that is your lead story this morning on the president's visit. also want to show a map. this is the new orleans diaspora. all the people who were living in new orleans down here and where they have applied for aid and this is a map of the u.s. and all the counties that are not in white are places that new
orleans residents fled after katrina. constance is on our line with jim amoss from "the times-picayune." caller: good morning. i lived in carrietown which is right across the mississippi river from new orleans and i took all my kids, one live down in -- lived down in, oh, down in the southern part of indiana. she lost everything. and my other daughter, she sold her house and she was supposed to buy another home two days after the hurricane hit. well, that house is flooded. that was in the other side of lake pontchartrain and a tree fell down on it. but one of the problems. i left there with all my family d we when to indiana and i
couldn't get money out of my credit union for whatever reason it was. i when everywhere to get money from my bank and none of the banks or the credit unions in indiana to give me money because they closed down my -- i guess the whole banking system that i was under there. the second thing was is that when i did come back because they kept saying we could come back and look my home in terry town was damaged. i guess it was a tornado right in that area. i had trees in my swimming pool and the house roof was messed up. host: constance, how much of your damage was covered by insurance? caller: well, i had had pretty
it took so e, but long to gets the money back that i had to drive all the way from where i lived in terry town all the way to baton rouge just to see the people and then i think they only gave me about $2,000 or $3,000. but it couldn't -- i couldn't get all the money that i needed for the repairs. host: and are you planning on returning to the new orleans area at all? caller: i'm scared to because i the mold and om the -- they kept -- i lived right across the street from a huge apartment complex. and they threw all this stuff out the doors and they had hired
about 40 mexicans and they lived in this building with no food or, i mean, no electric, no nothing. and they were somehow or another, gotten heavy equipment and crushed the refrigerators with all the gas sitting in it and pushed all that stuff all down to the side of the road. host: all right. i think we got the idea. jim amoss, any response for constance? guest: well, constance, your story really resonates with me and it's one that in part, i've experienced or watched friends live through. i remember in the days immediately after the storm standing in endless lines in banks in baton rouge where there was just utter chaos and the -- in the banking system and accessing your account was virtually impossible. your ould like to alive
fears of new orleans as a much safer place to live and to raise a family and now, the mold problem, thank god, is long gone the water is long gone. and the flood protection that we njoy while it's not at the level of the kind of infrastructure that the netherlands, for example, enjoy, it's not category five protection, but still, it's an immense up gradkowski and it is the main reason why people in new orleans feel confident enough for the most part live in neighborhoods and rebuild. host: allen is calling in from louisiana by the airport. . caller: good morning. how are you guys? can you hear me? host: we're listening, sir. go ahead. caller: ok. i would like to say it's been 10 years and a lot of people have
been -- haven't been coming back because of the fact that it thinks that, you know, another one is going to come. and if another comes and they assume they're not going to be well protected. and the levees fail and the jewel of the city this french quarters. and if you notice, every time they have a big stone, they open up the industrial canal and let the water go in the ninth ward, the lower ninth and that's where most of your black people live at. and the jewel never gets destroyed because that's the french quarter. guest: if you live in a coastal city of the united states, you're just about as vulnerable
as new orleans is. it's been repeated by hugo and sandy on the east coast. and it's something that we have to face as a nation and we have to muster the political will that it takes to protect our cities. these are the places where most of our population is and where most of our customers and our trade originates from. but secondly about the french quarter, i would say and it is the jewel. certainly the tuvik -- tour risk , it soints jewel higher land and in some case, eight to 12 feet above sea level because to the deposits of the mississippi river over the
centuries. it wasn't until the 20th century that new orleans expanded toward the lake into what we know is the bowl or in some cases, eight feet below safely. -- sea level and is more vulnerable than some place that are high. host: what about his point about the industrial canal and the effect on african-americans? guest: it dispurportly affected the lower ninth ward, which was ajority african-americans. and it inundated neighborhoods like you, which is a middle class white neighborhood. so the water was unsparing and in some sense, it was an equal
opportunity disaster in terms of who was damaged and whose house was under water. the industrial canal happened to be the biggest body of water and it was right adjacent to one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. host: julian is calling in from louisiana. go ahead. caller: yeah, just in reference to that last caller, the river had nothing to do with the lower ninth ward. when they opened to the industrial canal, i goes in a lake unless the levee falls down. i notice the 17th streets with lake view, that was an engineering failure. did you ever find anything? when you say engineering, when you're talking about building a levy or a dike or whatever, you get -- that dictate what is the engineering's going to be because whatever you're going to put in the ground is only good for the soil you put in.
and if you set a set of blueprint it's got an engineering stamp on it. was it a real engineer? guest: that's a complex question. but the corps of engineers itself acknowledged the floodwalls on the side of the drainage canal which is collapsed were not sufficiently anchored in the soil. and that eye walls were not appropriate for that kind of situation. and so when the water rose not only to the top of those floodwalls, the pressure loosens the soil below. they weren't sufficiently anchored the walls collapsed. the water inundated the city. as for the industrial canal, it was built to connect the river to the lake. and the lake waters were able to come into it. and so that's what caused the pressure on those floodwalls. host: next call, albert in lafayette, louisiana. albert, go ahead.
caller: okay. what i was calling about is the fact that the city is trying to get people to come back to new orleans. and i'm thinking that with all the political stuff that's going on down in new orleans, why is it that they only have these corner grocery stores? they need more supermarkets where people have to go like winn-dixie, different supermarkets down there in the lower ninth ward as well as upper ninth ward. now you only have one. and that's winn-dixie connected to a bridge. if they moved more supermarkets down to the lower ninth ward, i see the area that was destroyed by katrina, you will draw more people. but all the place they have is winn-dixie down there and everybody down there in the lower ninth ward and upper ninth ward have to go to st. bernard parish and they wonder why we don't have enough money when it's going to another parish. those people are established down there.
everywhere you go is a corner grocery store. if they took the money and time to put in a supermarket, you will drum more people back to new orleans. host: albert, i think we got the point. and mr. amoss, if you could, talk about how the city has changed in the last 10 years, its racial makeup, its economic makeup, etc. guest: sure. well, it's still a majority african-american city. but less so than it was in 2005. in 2005, the african-american percentage of the population was at about 67%. and it has gone down to about 58%. and these are the people we've been talking about for the most part who just have not returned, have not been able to return. another big demographic change has been the influx of hispanic people. used to be a relatively small
part of new orleans's population. now, almost 6% of the city's population is hispanic. a lot of them hispanic construction workers who came in to help rebuild new orleans after katrina and stayed. and we also have a significant vietnamese population, which has been true since the 1970's. another big change in the city. have mistaken er new orleans for an entrepreneurial magnet before 2005. and now, the number of start-ups and just the entrepreneurial pirit, the idea that is an incubator is a remarkable switch. and i would say that in the years after katrina, for a good four or five years after the storm, there was not a day that you couldn't go to new orleans airport and see large group office young people from high school kids to kids -- people in
their 20's arriving as volunteers to help rebuild, to work and teach for america, and many of these people fell in love with what they came here to do and stayed and they have changed both the demographics and the spirit of large neighborhoods in the city. so those are striking changes that i think are palpable today. host: you mentioned if you go a little more in-depth about the improvement of the schools and the changes in the new orleans public schools. guest: yeah. the biggest change is that new orleans public school system under the so-called recovery district, which is run by the state of louisiana has become almost entirely chatter school. it's a one giant charter school experiment. the biggest per capita in the united states. and not that charter schools are
the solution to all the ills of schools, but governorsed by parents on location has proved to be a big reform over the corrupt public school governance that we had before 2005. and indeed, that's born out in of new s, about 30% orleans' public school children met state standards in 2005. hat number is now up to 88%. e influx of young people who became teach for america teachers has had a huge effect on the quality of teaching in our schools. all of those things are among the great bright spots in the 10 years after katrina. host: annie is in san diego. annie, you're on with the editor of "the times-picayune," jim
amoss. caller: hi. yes. i remember watching this all on tv about 10 years ago. i remember a black -- a couple of black women assisting a white woman in front of the camera and a white woman was carrying a limp baby and she was talking about her baby needed water. they had a lot of -- and i wondered why it was so hard to just get these people water. if i had a helicopter, i would drop in water. how many children died because they did not get water? i thought we would see some statistics that we'll never get. thank you. guest: what you're talking about especially in the early days after the storm, it's utter chaos and disorganization of the relief effort especially on the part of the federal sector and the federal government really has to take some blame for that. it was -- you could see in the first couple of days after the
storm had hit, you could see private retailer trucks, wal-mart trucks and the like, crossing the mississippi river bridge and yet it was days before that kind of relief came from the federal government. and i think that's -- that was a national scandal and it was there for all the world to see. and hopefully as a nation, we learned something for that and we'll all be prepared. certainly in this city, we are. host: there are some discrepancies in the numbers of deaths in new orleans. here are some of the reports. this is from the 538.com website. state of louisiana, 986 deaths. television station in georgia says 1,200. accuweather, 1,800. and "the times-picayune" says 18 33 deaths in new orleans. why this discrepancy? est: i don't think the the
"the times-picayune" said 1,800. it is the entire gulf coast region plus new orleans by most estimates including everything from new orleans through waveland and bay st. louis and gulfport and biloxi. and so that is the main discrepancy you're looking at. but again, it's hard to -- it's hard to draw a line between the tcheaths were caused directly by flooding and drowning, the death that were caused by being in an attic for days and the stress of that and the deaths that were caused simply by older people, especially not being able to bear the stress of their lives being turned upside down and therewithin months of the are several ways of calculating that and each will yield a slightly different number. i think the overall number that
most statisticians agree on is a little over 1,800 for the entire region as a result of katrina. and somewhere between 900 and 1,000 for the new orleans metropolitan area. host: here this front page of "the times-picayune" published in paper on wednesday's friday's and sunday's. nola.com is the website associated with "the times-picayune." jim amoss is the editor. mr. amoss, thank you for being
>> this isn't america. you know, we have several hundred sights across the state. about 120 or so in the new orleans area. katrina was an enormous a very powerful storm and as it overwhelmed the system and that unfortunately would happen again. >> what katrina has done is -- e a cultural >> the devastation is still ere. >> the city of new orleans, one
year after katrina is now home to 50% of its population prior to the storm. a c-span video journalist traveled there in august to take a look at recovery efforts where some of the worst flooding occurred, the lower ninth ward where the canal breached. the chantilly district and the lake vue district where the lake view canals did not hole up. - hold up. >> a lot of the psychologists were recommending you need to get out of town for a weekend. you've got get away from this because it's really bad for your stress level. we started a program with sue spery with an organization who is preserving new orleans' historic district and also has
two programs, operation comeback and rebuilding ogether. even though there are historic homes here. >> how much flood was here in the seventh ward? >> people got, i would say street level eight or nine feet. i would say inside homes perhaps five to six feet depending on the home. these houses are raised in the traditional style. maybe not raised enough. but see this style of home, this is a double shotgun. and what's great about these
homes as far as being built for this environment is they are raised. water can go underneath them. they can be ventilated. they have windows and doors on all sides. good for air circulation. but the construction is what the best thing about it. it's cyprus framing and it's the old river cyprus that grows in water. so it didn't get flood damage. many of these people have heart pine boards which straightened out just fine. >> is it predominantly african-american. >> i would say predominantly. but it reflects the city's alance, i would say.
the street. but see, you don't know. there's a high water plark on that home. the grade is a little bit higher and it is raised a little bit. when you see these high water marks, it's standing water. and water wasn't nice, fresh bottled water type of water. the water was from canals. here's an example of a home. it's raised up. mold doesn't really kill you. mold eats on paper, eats on certain organic things. but once it's dry it dies. and once it dees then it's not going to hurt -- dies then it's
not going to hurt you. the problem with this neighborhood which is typical of so many new orleans neighborhoods is that people didn't have flood insurance or they were underinsured. this type of insurance is very, very expensive. let's say that the people that live in the house is 25 -- people that live in this house they bought this house 50 years ago. they've lived in it for 50 years. it's paid for. . e man is a retired maitre d' there are people that you rely on that give their lives to serve others. they didn't deserve for what happened to them happen. we got their home backing to before the home could be picked up. they're back in their home. and we -- i hate to drop in on
them but we might. >> tell me about your neighborhood. how many people are coming back. -- coming back? >> that's why i can't have a telephone. >> it's going to be three months before we can get a telephone because this was a -- you know, this area was really badly hit. it's going to be three months before we can get a phone. but they wanted to give me a phone. month but no fees, you know, like -- and no free minutes. and it's not like a cell phone, i can pick up. and i needed my cell phone, you
know, when i'm leaving the house because so many people are just calling me, you know? >> so you're the only one in the whole neighborhood -- >> this block. >> this block. >> three people drowned. see this is our senior area. around here this whole square like this and three of our neighbors drowned. and i'm the first one back here thanks to rebuilding together. and other neighbors in the house they didn't want to come back. the next door neighbor, she's trying to get back. and everywhere else all around here no others. >> one of the types of services are not back.
are there grocery stores? >> i have to go on the west bank. >> which is how far away? >> the west bank, that's a cross the bridge across crescent city -- >> across the mississippi river. >> across the mississippi river. >> but she knows about sam's where i have to get jerry's supplies from. they're trying to build up though. there's a few little stores trying to build up. -- whether have they build it up, it doesn't matter. we don't have transportation. >> buses or any other types of transportation? >> four different buses. >> how long have you been living in new orleans? >> all my life. 77 years. 77 years.
my daughter's is 55. she's 55. it's so hard to get to this spot. to try to get to me, it just seems like her husband is in the hospital. she has an appointment friday and i have to call tomorrow morning, you know? >> one of the biggest differences for you right now compared to before katrina? >> the biggest differences? shopping. shopping, transportation, communication, everything. t's hard for us right now. but there you go. have a roomful -- thanks to
rebuilding together. >> so why is the fema trailer outside? >> the fema trailer came a week .efore the house was finished the trailer was there when we got home. before trailer got here the house was finished that we could move in here. >> she can't live in it or open it up. see, that's the thing. they have seven contractors. seven contractors and a minimum to place a trailer. this happened to me. i had a trailer as well, you know, some of these things make sense. they have somebody that comes in and inspects the sight. ok. that's makes sense. somebody comes in an makes sure that all the electrical stuff is there. then they deliver the trailer. then someone else comes by. another sub sub crackor to
inspect the trailer now that it's there. then someone else comes by to do something else and hook up the plumbing and it's all set up and ready to go and then another separate contractor comes and gives you the keys an >> right. it's been there a couple of weeks. sue: and it costs about $55,000 from what i read in "the times" for the process of a temporary trailer. that includes having to pick it up. whereas for $40,000, you can get people home in comfortable and familiar surroundings. >> and this is for the police environment. sue: the first responders. she has police officers across the street.
>> we don't have violence, not in this area. sue: not with a whole trailer park full of cops. [laughter] you are not going to have that problem. reporter: are you waiting on fema to take this away now? >> i'm not telling them to take it away. it is not bothering me. we still use it. we worked so hard to get it. [laughter] so, whatever they say. whenever they are ready. because we are in the house now. everything is in the house. we are very pleased, very satisfied, very comfortable. i feel safe. i really do. we lock the doors at night.
we really feel safe here. you know, you don't see problems around here or have problems around here. so we really feel safe around here, you know. reporter: so just the transportation is the biggest album. >> that is my biggest problem. go to the doctor, trying to get it right with the telephone and trying to get our doctors back again, all these doctors. reporter: have the doctors left town? >> yes. tulane university hospital, all of them haven't come back or they are retired and they are not coming back. but i feel good. i feel good. and i thank god that we are back home.
it is not what we had before, the surroundings. i am back home in new orleans . no place like new orleans. we are back home thanks to rebuilding together. sue: that is the place that stayed open. people are just getting around to gutting. there is an august 29 katrina anniversary deadline with getting your house gutted. but seniors, especially if they have evacuated, it is just not possible, they need to have some help. reporter: individuals have to do that themselves?
sue: a lot of times, it is family members. the family gets together and does that work. there are a lot of agencies that handle it. many agencies handle that. people ask us about it. we don't do gutting. we did in the beginning a little bit. but there are so many volunteer groups that are doing it. we recommend that. that is a really hard process to go through. i went through it myself. it's like you just have to throw your entire life out on the curb. it is moldy and it stinks and it's hot and it's a heartbreaking process to throw everythi away. but once you get into gutted and cleaned, you really feel like you can start again. announcer: a mile away from this area sits another fema trailer
park for first responders. jim: we have 53 mobile homes and travel trailers. what fema tried to do at the request of the city is put up first responders, firemen and policemen, very quickly into a travel trailer site so they could able to provide essential services to the city. this is one of those sites. reporter: can we walk around a little bit? jim: sure. we have a few across the state, about 120 or so in the new orleans area. the travel sites are further folks who do not have a personal
site set aside. if they are renters or other is not suitable for trailers, they are eligible to be placed in a group site. we established a these and various locations around the city. reporter: what is the estimated time folks will be living there jim: that is a good question. the ideal a temporary housing is that folks will be there for 18 months. they given the size and breath of this disaster, we will have to revisit that at the end of 18 months. generally speaking, we would offer the applicants the option of renting the travel trailer from us. we will just have to see when the time comes in february where we are in the rebuilding and recovery process. reporter: is it possible to go in one of these? jim: as i said, these are for
first responders. there may be a policeman off shift. i don't mind knocking on a door in seeing if somebody is home and talking with them for a moment. but we do need to respect the privacy. it would be like walking around in a neighborhood and asking to come into their house. we don't have any restriction on the press coming in and talking to the folks in the travel trailer parks. reporter: when did this come up to speed? jim: i don't have the date on that. this was fairly quick, in september or october. since it was for first responders. but this is relatively typical of what our group sites are like across the state. as you notice, there were security guards on the way in
that are either contracted by the contractors that built the group site or by fema. reporter: where did all these trailers come from? jim: they were purchased by fema. there were some contracts prior to the hurricane season. and there are manufacturers across the country. so they could have come from anywhere. i am not sure where these came from. some of them were bought directly off of travel trailer lots. reporter: do know how much these go for? jim: there are about $10,000 apiece and that doesn't include the site preparation, the utilities, the hauling and the setup. that adds to the cost per unit. reporter: how did you pick this area?
jim: we sent out strike teams to identify potential areas to put group sites. these strike teams came back with recommendations. they approached the owners of the land. then we went through a process with the city and city council to get those sites approved. and then we went through contracting and got the sites leased. our contractors came in and built them. it is not a turnkey operation. there are a lot of steps to that. we are still finding those steps sometimes cumbersome as we try to build more sites across the city. reporter: are these first responders for this specific neighborhood, for this specific area? jim: i don't know. it would make sense that we would put them close to their stations. some of these moved off the crew ships. we house a lot of first responders on the cruise ship. >> how are you doing?
reporter: you live here. >> i do. reporter: i'm dying to see what one of these looks like. do you mind? >> sure. go ahead. reporter: how long have you been living here? >> since february. turn on the lights in here. reporter: sure. >> there we are. we have the bathroom back here. you see i have a lot of junk here. there is a lot of stuff to put in here. reporter: how many here sleep?
>> this can take up to five. this converts to a bed and this converts to a bed and there is the bedroom back there. so five people at the most. reporter: where is your bedroom? >> the bedroom is right here. reporter: what is it like living here? >> i like living here. as a matter of fact, the people here are wonderful and warm. i gave two barbecues here already. we are going to do catfish on saturday. you are welcome if you want. the cooking here is good. it is great. we have cooks here. it is fun. i love it. i am not that far from my job. reporter: what is your job?
>> i work with the water board. we work with the drainage pumps. reporter: you are from new orleans? >> yes, i am. reporter: tell me about that. >> we came here -- we stayed through the storm. we lost 60 cycle power. our water supply was cut off. we were trapped inside the station. the water got almost up to the third level of the station where we were. as the storm went over, the water began to settle down and we went to work. we had generators. we had to rig the stage up and get them running. once we got them running, we got the pumps running. we run the pumps 24 hours, around the clock for a whole
month. it was quite an experience. reporter: where was your home? >> in the gentilly area. got messed up. you had people coming in there your place and there was that understood owing on. reporter: what is the status of it, your home now? >> i lived in an apartment. i'm not sure if the landlord -- he hasn't done anything to it yet, as of yet. i much or if he is going to do anything to it. i don't know. i will probably relocate somewhere else outside this parish maybe. because new orleans, i may come i never see nothing like that in my life. i was here for betsy. they had guys who got us on boats and we went to the
claiborne bridge and we said if -- we stayed up there until the water went down. katrina was worse. reporter: what were you paying in rent of the place where you are living? >> i had a one-bedroom. i was paying $395. but i don't do now. everything is going up. reporter: we have heard that the rental market is quite high. >> they are so in demand right now. supply and demand, that is what it is. reporter: can you go over again what the setup is here, first responders, what kind of assistance you are getting, when that will end. jim: the temporary housing
assistance will end after 18 months. then people would be asked to pay rent on their trailers. again, i'm not real sure what is going to happen at the end of 18 months at this point. but at this point, the guidance is they will be expected to pay rent on the trailers. reporter: 18 months will be up when? jim: in february. this travel trailer park was established for first responders and folks like nate who have to be here to keep the city running and be ready for the next storm or even a rainstorm, to keep it pumped out. like you said, we live in a bowl. reporter: nothing happened with your job. you still have your job. >> yes, sir. next month, it will be 20 years on the job.
i love what i do. reporter: what is your impression as you drive around the city? >> wow, you know. devastation, man. everything is happening so slow. i can understand. you've got to get the funds and so forth. there is a lot of red tape to get things moving. i guess it will come back pretty soon. me, myself, i already know a couple people who committed suicide already, seeing the devastation of this city, family displaced everywhere. two of my coworkers that i work with committed suicide. me, i have high spirits, me, myself. i just know things are going to come back. may be not like it was before. but it will come back.
reporter: what about family? do you have a lot still here in new orleans? >> i did lose a brother. i only have a niece and a nephew here and that is it. everybody else is gone. i keep in contact with everyone. they are all over the country. chicago, florida, texas, oklahoma. everywhere. i keep in contact. reporter: what about things that a lot of people outside of new orleans take for granted, shopping, gasoline, electricity, laundromats, all those types of amenities -- has that changed? >> yeah. a lot of people took things for granted. now we have those things in very small supply. we have very few stores opening and businesses and so forth.
it will be a slow process coming back. but you just have to deal with it. you just have to readjust your life. that is what i have done. i have readjusted my life to where things are now. it is very difficult for other people to do that. they are so used to be able to go to the store at night. two or three month after the storm, things were closing by 6:00 or 7:00. you get off of work and everything is closed. but now they are starting to stay up until 9:00, 10:00. like i said. it is slowly coming back. slowly, for sure. reporter: your friend who committed suicide, was it a direct result of katrina? >> yes. i think it was a direct result of katrina. seen the devastation. a lot of people were depressed. after the storm, there were a lot of people on that boat. there was people coming back and forth from houston, texas to
here. she killed herself. i think it was going to houston, not liking it out there, coming back here and doing this devastation, you know, a lot of people went through some things with their insurance companies and all that kind of stuff. so many things i had to deal with and family all over the country, friends. that's why i try to give stuff here where people can mix and mingle and develop friendships. like catfish rise, barbecues, for the people at this site. they are developing friendships and they are exchanging numbers and they can talk about it. yeah, i think it was a direct result of katrina, these people who have taken their lives. it's a sad thing. reporter: thank you.
the fema trailer program, the fema trailer parks have come under so much scrutiny. fema got so much bad press about them. why? jim: in early days, we probably weren't as prepared as we should have been to get this going. i don't think anyone likes being confined to a trailer to begin with. but it is the option we have available for temporary housing at this point in time. maybe one day we will have something better. congress appropriated $400 million to look at alternative trailer solutions or alternatives to this temporary solution for housing. we are ready to kick off the program in the gulf states and looking for ideas to better house people. you've got to remember, we put out about 140,000 of these among the states in the gulf and that is what event. reporter: any mistakes with this
program? jim: i would say the only mistakes we made was not being fully prepared. reporter: and with fema trailers being of such interest to the press, what is the policy with the press coming into these places? jim: our policy right now is that the press can come in as long as they show valid credentials. just as you would in any neighborhood, we don't stand in anyone's way. reporter: you provide security for all of these parks? jim: we do. either through the contractors who built them or direct security contracted by fema area announcer: next, a look at nor -- lower ninth ward where the walls were breached. >> going over the industrial canal over to the lower ninth.
and over to the left, that is the major break where that new concrete wall is. sort of ground zero. if you recall, there was a barge sitting up in that green space. we talked earlier, mark, about this road clayborn being the dividing line of where the utility services have been provided and where they haven't. on the right side, you will see some travel trailers on private sites because there are utility -- utilities available now. generally on the north side, the utilities are not dependable enough to for travel trailers back in.
here are a result of a break from the water lines. that all adds to the challenges of getting utilities in here. the electricity is probably still not on, obviously. gas lines remain compromised. but we are pretty close to ground zero where the water just flowed right through here. if you look at it from the air, you will see a clear spot because all of those houses were demolished in place. reporter: what about for the inhabitants of this area? i do know if it is a local, state, federal policy. it is -- is it allowed for them
to come back in. jim: i cannot speak for the city or the parish. as far as fema is concerned, we put travel trailers, our mobile homes on-site that don't have viable utilities. we just can't do that. that is why you do not see them here. by the same token, the lack of utilities is probably going to slow development. my thought is that, right now, i don't think the city or parish is sure what will happen in the ninth ward, and this area in particular. there are a lot fewer cars now. those are being removed and salvaged and scrapped as they are picked up.
>> the way we see the ninth ward, it is not for us to say whether it should be built or rebuilt. it is reasonable to ask that they have a flood system that is going to work. but when you see this just a few blocks up the road, there is the holy cross and all of the vacant housing. you would think, well, first things first. maybe get people to higher ground. because that house cannot be rebuilt. it is not possible. and you can still smell that death smell. you will notice it later when someone tells you you smell bad. this is the kind of house where they are still finding people. because they cannot go in there
until they demolish it and when they tear down a house like that, they bring the dogs first. that is a typical house where they would find a body still. this is, you know, this is really the shame of it really. a year after the event, the president should come down here and be ashamed. this is in america. all of this should have been dealt with. all of these people should have restitution or some kind of housing. you cannot bring a trailer down here. there is no electricity, no water, nothing. and i don't think you need an expert to tell you -- reporter: [indiscernible]
sue: oh, yeah. that this is uninhabitable. there is a container from a ship. these would have been homes, or working-class people. it is a misnomer that the ninth ward was the hood or the worst part of town. it wasn't. this was a good neighborhood, very stable. but a lot of working people, a lot of elderly. that is a lot of deaths. a lot of the deaths that occurred with the drowning people here were elderly people who for a lot of reasons don't evacuate. they do have anywhere to go. you can't pry them from their homes. they don't want to leave their pets. it is extremely difficult. so anyone who stay down here lost their lives. reporter: we can see what it looks like now.
how much different as a look now than it did in those couple of months after the storm? how much has been cleaned up down here? sue: oh, my goodness, it's a hundred times better. for the first five or six months after the storm, there were homes where we are standing in the street. and there were some twisted homes over by the wall. that was wide open. there was a giant barge here on the road on top of the school bus for months and months. and that was quite an undertaking, to float that thing on an actual sidewalk or a street. yeah, there were homes here, but they were all over the place. on top of each other, close to the levee break. it is almost like his huge wall of water hit. it was like the evil head of
mother nation -- mother nature pushing everything its path and eight large cluster. it almost resembled water, the ocean, this big wave on how this twists and house on top of one another. you could not come down here for a long time and you can't live down here. there is no infrastructure whatsoever. but the fact that it is cleaned up and it doesn't smell like death or you don't need a mask come down here. the disaster such that i don't know that anyone could have coped with it that would have satisfied everybody. it is well documented. it has been very well documented and you can see that not enough has been done. we have in the city a great amount of progress. but this is not an overnight solution. down here in this area, it would be good to see more things done.
it would be good to get money in people's hands are deserve it. it would be good to have neighborhood plans that are all buttoned up. but when you are talking about 80% of a large city, you can't expect miracles. you won't find a lot of people who will say that the government response at any level was anything to be proud of. reporter: what is your opinion, if you were to come to this neighborhood a year from now? will there be people living here? is this ground zero and it is not going to come back for years? sue: this is really one of three ground zeros that we have in new orleans. this is the one that has garnered the most attention. this is really where you saw evidence of it in the most dramatic manner.
no one will know what will happen a year from now. a year ago, my goodness, a year ago at this time, i think i was at the pool. never could have imagined what would happen. and then the event happened. couldn't imagine that it would just go on and on and on. i think the city will just have what we feel like is a low-grade fever for a very long time, this underlying distress, this grinding and difficulty. but it's worth it. we feel it is worth it to live here. and the city has a great future. there are also great opportunities here. we can fix things that needed to be fixed. few cities have an opportunity to start over. it just depends on how much our government and our business leaders and civic leaders will continue to support us.
our country doesn't get tired of us, in a years time, i would like to see some sort of plan for this area. it may be to the benefit of this area to not have development at this time. reporter: how is the city approaching different areas? is there a grand plan at this point on how to redevelop these neighborhoods? sue: the initial plan that was started immediately after everybody got back had a lot of consultants and recommendations. the urban land institute was in charge of that. and they really recommended that we start rebuilding in the original city footprint. and that is the crescent on high ground, like the holy cross, as you have seen.
so their recommendation was tied geographical areas and neighborhoods where the infrastructure and the housing stock, you know, was more repairable than you might be down here. the city issued a report with what they called priority for rebuilding. it didn't all happen because these are private properties, private homes. whether a house can come back or what will happen to the house will depend on the homeowner and that homeowners own individual financial and other resources. but the city has a planning commission. they are understaffed, like
everything is here but the city's plan is what we have been doing for the last year, which is neighborhoods need to get organized. neighborhoods need to prove their viability. mr. nagin was very controversial when he said that. people were saying why should we have to prove our viability? it seemed very unfair. but when you look at it and you look at what has happened in some of the other neighborhoods that are coming back, maybe we did not have the best job if he or maybe they didn't have a lot of wealthy people could afford it who are doing tremendous work. people bother viability from the people who live in that neighborhood with their determination and severe as that proved a neighborhoods viability. so in the end, a neighborhoods strength is not due to the brick-and-mortar in the buildings. it is due to the residents and
homeowners and how much they believe in coming home. announcer: the holy cross area of the lower ninth ward was flooded but did not receive as much water as other parts of the ward. again, jim stark from fema talks with us about their efforts in the neighborhood. jim: we are still in the lower ninth ward. this is where modern utilities have been restored. reporter: what is the process they have to go through to get one of these? jim: applicants apply for the trailer. they call for the 1-800 number and call for a trailer to be placed on their bet -- there best site. that a contract team will come out and make sure the site is viable, that it has hook up to water and electricity and gas. reporter: what do you normally
tell folks about the timeframe it takes to get one? jim: generally, 30 to 60 days. that is a long time. in early days, there was a backup as we had so much demand. now the sites are harder and harder to make ready and there are fewer and fewer of them. reporter: what about the size of them themselves? is it dependent on the number of people in your family? jim: it is a number of factors. if you've got a large family and you can accommodate a mobile home, then we will place a mobile home there is that of a travel trailer. reporter: what about size -- justin: i believe that will be about three or four people.
reporter: and the terms with these are different from the trailer parks. jim: this is still temporary. reporter: if this goes beyond 18 months and you are not staying at a hotel. jim: typically, within the 18 months, some will find what is necessary. it looks like a couple of these houses are pretty close to being completed. i imagine pretty soon they will call our 1-800 number and one of our contractors will take the trailer away. reporter: what about you personally? you lived in new orleans before this ever happened. what are some of your personal
outside the job and the future of the city. jim: i grew up in a place that was high and dry. there were a lot of travel trailers. i think a lot of them are families who may have been does waste from neighborhoods like this, who have relatives on the other bank of the river. are camping out, for lack of a better term, in their relatives yards. personally, we did very well on the west. we talked about it the fortunate that things went that way. i came back and i am committed to the city and the job i am doing now. it is discouraging at times to see the slow pace of recovery.
we talked earlier about the pace of recovery and other disasters area this one overshadows the size and magnitude of any of the other was before. hurricane andrew took two years before miami was back on its feet, especially the homestead area and we can see that here. it will take turns. i think early on, our response was -- we were slow in responding. there were some command and control issues that needed to be worked out ahead of time. again, the sheer magnitude everyone unawares and mistakes were made early on. and it should not be blamed on fema, quite frankly. >> with the hurricane season, we are much better prepared to move right in. announcer: a couple of blocks away is another part of the holy us neighborhood where rebuilding efforts have taken place. sue: when the consultants first
came and helped us ring the world the bad condition. the initial recommendation, which states a whole lot of sense, was to rebuild on the higher geography, where there was a lot of housing before the storm that needed to be has it -- they still have no telephone service here. this is where garbage took up is almost not existent. there is no mail service. the mail is picked up at the school. i mean, this is really -- you are a real urban pioneer to be here.
this house, we are going to fix this house. this house will look as good as good as that house. we have completely done and the homeowner a living in the house. she is struggling and not happy with some things. several years ago, the person who bought it, it flooded to -- the person who bought it, she could not have afforded to own a home otherwise. and she flooded. with her insurance proceeds, she did a lot of nice of rate. not only did she repair the home, but she had these nice shutters and things installed and has worked really, really hard. this block is as far as you can see there and as far as you see
there. people are getting ready to occupy. but there is only a handful of people that are living in holy cross for now. there is no reason for this not to have been a focus area, especially since so many people in the lower ninth ward lost everything and have absolutely no ability to return. when you have blighted and abandoned countries, a property that people are selling for no money, that those cannot be let back into service and repopulated. so many people on the other side of claiborne avenue that really are lost. that is what breaks my heart, personally. all of these are really good houses. half of them don't belong to anybody. reporter: let's walk down this way. sue: ok. this neighborhood has the whole mix of architectural styles.
hi, we are with a preservation resource center. we are doing some houses, fixing the house and a whole bunch of houses. >> i was on the bridge -- on my roof when they called. i was in there. the water came in. reporter: where are you living now? >> i just got a trailer. i am working at the same time. i was scared. i stood on the roof for about a day. a guy came out with a boat. he picked us up.
then we walked across the bridge. they had buses and trucks. seven days. [indiscernible] there was cooking for everybody. but that sunday morning when they really made us leave -- [indiscernible] it was happy. you couldn't do nothing. reporter: [indiscernible] >> one on my block. and i have one of the nicest blocks on the side. instead of putting a trailer
down there, i called them and they said my trailer was there it took them three weeks to loaded up. i mean it. sue: don't you think that this area, being on such high ground and so many homes that nobody has been living in and can be fixed that the people over in your neighborhood, in that part of the lower nine, where their house is gone -- it took them three weeks to take it. i have been in it for three weeks.
>> they had a lot of people. st joined they jujs this side and i said the middle of the bridge. sue: this neighborhood is so great. it is the easiest neighborhood to get back into service. there are still so many problems. somebody is working on this. are they going to come back? oh really? [inaudible] reporter: do you have phone service? >> cell phones. no cable.
>> is reverend troy there now? he needs to know we are working in the neighborhood and not stealing like so many people are. the thieves are sophisticated. they know what they are doing and how to dismantle a bracket. the national guard patrols here but they are very slick. they have a fake letter from a homeowner that says we can take these things. they can't stop them because there is no homeowner around to verify. reporter: you talked about the woman who moved into the house. >> it is negative. i hate to say it. on the record. reporter: what is going on?
>> why she was broken into, no phone. the usual suspects of life in neighborhoods here. there is a rat problem. she has had a rat infestation. the rats attacked her dog and she had to take her dog to the vet. that is her last straw. i know she won't leave. she is strong and independent, but she is a single gal living on her own and she has weathered everything in the neighborhood that has happened. the one thing she can't stand is rats in her house. river rats. the rats have so much. this is disney world to a rat. you don't have any people or rat bait to chase them away and they can forage for all kinds of things because so much of this
neighborhood -- you can tell by smell people have not addressed may things inside the refrigerators. >> what are these markings? >> this is search-and-rescue markings. this is a painful reminder for everybody who lives here. we love it when you come back and the first thing you say is painted over this. this marking here, the top is the date that they came to do search-and-rescue. on the left side is the agency or unit who did the inspection. a troop number, 118. in a means no entry. the bottom quadrant is how many found dead. they are still finding bodies
here about every week. there could be somebody stuck in the attic, or the house collapsed and it is unsafe. here is something we are thrilled to see. a year later they are starting on this. getting the church back shows faith in the neighborhood. they can't get trailers down here. they had to wait for electricity. look and leave is you can't be here after 4:00 p.m. no one was allowed to stay the night here until may.
how are you doing? this is robert. this is miss bennett son. your mom is going to come home when you are done. are you waiting? oh. [inaudible] >> what are you doing? >> not too far now. >> why are you tearing the ceiling down? >> the whole roof got wet. the rain came through. >> bad news. reporter: we are you living now? >> in a trailer. four blocks.
reporter: is in a trailer park? >> no, it is in front of my daughter's house. reporter: you're coming back. >> i would be back but i didn't have flood insurance. reporter: a lot of people didn't have flood insurance. one year later what is it like for you? >> glad to be back home. it will take a while. the whole city was devastated. you have the whole city. 200,000 people. you can't do nothing overnight. reporter: are a lot of people going to come back? >> yes. they are waiting on a grant. reporter: from who? >> home in new orleans.
by the time i got the roof fixed i needed the money to pay bills. reporter: what is your impression of the government's response? >> before it was just the ninth ward. now it is the whole state of louisiana. reporter: you don't blame fema or the government? >> they did the best they can. it was not something small. reporter: how long have you been living here? >> 70 years. i'm 71 years old now. reporter: what is the biggest challenges now? >> money. buying sheet rock, electric, everything. reporter: how long will it take to get fixed up?
>> it won't take long if we get the money. it just takes the money. reporter: where can you go for groceries? >> across the bridge. they have a lot places open across the bridge. [inaudible] they didn't have flood insurance either. announcer: our last stop was at a place called the musicians village, being developed by habitat for humanity. sara evans spoke with us there. sara: musicians village is a camp for musicians and nonmusicians to have affordable housing. it is an opportunity for that --
there is a keystone project, the community center located just around the corner from here. the idea is there will be classrooms and practice room so musicians can teach the children, and the children of nonmusicians, and pass on the traditions and cultures of new orleans. reporter: whose idea was it? >> ellis marsalis and harry connick. there is a connection here. reporter: when did it start? how does it work? >> we started building on this lot june 1. we now currently have 27 homes under construction. we will be dedicating the first -- three have been dedicated.
it will dedicate another 30 lots on this site august 19. 33 families, 11 of them are musicians locally here in new orleans. once the houses are complete we will begin building on the interior of this lot. an additional 40 lots. some are going to be elder friendly units. they are not going to be selling those. to make sure the older generation of musicians also have affordable housing options. there will be 40 more homeowners going on this lot. musicians village is this particular core area. our focus at the norlin's habitat humanity is the upper ninth ward.
we are going to be sustaining our building projects here. reporter: why the upper ninth ward? >> like every other neighborhood, it needs revitalization. reporter: how do you apply and qualify? >> the first step of the application process, the first step is a credit check. the second is a loan application. the third is a home visit. they do a home visit where we go to their home. they take those factors and consideration. reporter: what has katrina done to the entertainment industry
here? has is it affected it? >> katrina has done an immense amount of damage to the music community. but katrina has done is caused a cultural diaspora. our culture has been sprinkled out all over the country instead of concentrated in new orleans. we are all over the place now. in some sense that is a good thing. we are like cultural ambassadors. some areas where they were previously not noticed. now, we are spreading our culture throughout the united states. >> people are good musicians from here. half of them -- >> new orleans has been a musical community ever since i can remember. the african culture brgh