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New Orleans Still Recovering One Year After Katrina

A year after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, residents find that despite promises of aid from local, state and federal governments, the city still lacks adequate medical care and other basic services.

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  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    People want to come home. They can't put up trailers. You know, it's just — it's awful.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Hardly a day goes by without people getting together to grouse about what has not been done in their neighborhoods in New Orleans.

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    We have a situation where there is inaction, there is indifference, there is a lot of arrogant attitudes about what we should be and how we should accept the no answers, the no progress.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    They are frustrated because, one year after Katrina, and in spite of promises of recovery from the city, state and federal government, the wheels of bureaucracy have turned slowly.

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    Somebody needs to do something. They need to do something with the school. They have never gutted that school out or took anything out of that school.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Even today across the city, basic electricity, water and phone services are undependable. Piles of trash are still everywhere. The National Guard is on patrol because crime is on the increase. Meanwhile, the city's beleaguered police department continues to lose officers who've left for greener pastures.

    The slow road back has created stress across a matrix of neighborhoods in a city that, at this point, has an uncertain future. Historic Gentilly, a racially diverse, middle-class area, which is home to the first commercially developed neighborhood for African-Americans in the country, sat under eight feet of water one year ago.

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    What do you visualize that could happen to change Gentilly for the better?

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    Today, its residents meet regularly to talk about the vision they have for the future.

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    To bring families back into the area; that is critical to our viability.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    But day-to-day life for those who have returned to Gentilly is like living on the frontier. There's no functioning public school, no hospital, no library. Water mains regularly clog with garbage. Potholes abound. City services are practically non-existent.

    Still, retired school teacher Lamona Chandler considers herself one of the lucky ones. After waiting for months, she now has a FEMA trailer to live in. Every day, she takes a walk to check in with neighbors to see how life is going.

  • LAMONA CHANDLER, New Orleans Resident:

    How you doing today?

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    Pretty good. How are you doing, Ms. Lamona?

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    She points out massive water leaks in city lines, leaving residents with inflated bills and low water pressure. She says the sewers don't drain properly and there's standing water everywhere.

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    If you see flies and everything else there, this is a…

  • LAMONA CHANDLER:

    Environmental hazard.

  • NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT:

    I'm saying.