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Housing Problems Persist Two Years After Katrina

Two years after Hurricane Katrina's battered New Orleans, the city still faces lingering housing problems, particularly in low- and middle-income neighborhoods that were abandoned. Correspondent Tom Bearden begins a three-part series on the Gulf Coast's recovery.

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  • TOM BEARDEN, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Two years after Hurricane Katrina, most of the Big Easy's low- and middle-income neighborhoods are still a mess. The infamous Ninth Ward is a wasteland. Most of the homes have been bulldozed, their foundations lost amid towering weeds.

    Houses were left standing in other areas, but many have been abandoned. About a third of New Orleans' residents, more than 300,000, simply never came back.

    In contrast, parts of the Gentilly neighborhood are starting to look almost normal, at least on the streets where the flood waters weren't very deep. A year ago, Lamona Chandler was living in a FEMA trailer, the nearby streets mostly deserted. Now she's back in her house, and she says most of her neighbors are back, too.

    So what percentage of people are back?

  • LAMONA CHANDLER, Resident, New Orleans:

    We have the largest percentage in the city. And we have almost 80-some-odd percent back.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    No kidding?

  • LAMONA CHANDLER:

    Yes, this lady here is back, and they're working on the inside of their house over there. When I came back the first time, I said to myself, I said, "I can hear the hammers and the saws." I said, "That means that everybody is working and coming back." And that's exactly what happened.