Katrina: five years later

Just a little over five years ago what started off as a formation over the Bahamas and crossed over the state of Fla. What started as a category one hurricane turned into the sixth strongest hurricane (according to Atlantic Hurricanes) and caused catastrophic damage to 80 percent of New Orleans.

New Orleans has always been an area of concern in regards to natural disaster. The city sits on the banks of the Mississippi River and a study showed that the average elevation of the city is 51 percent below sea level. It was assumed the city was protected by levees and floodwalls.

A recent study conducted by the National Research Council stated that the levees and floodwalls surrounding New Orleans cannot provide absolute protection against overtopping or failure in extreme events and should have been looked to as an alternative if other flood proofing measures failed.

To an outsider, it would seem like New Orleans isn’t the safest place to live because of the high risk of natural disasters, but to Alexandria Age, 19, a nursing student and a New Orleans’ native, relocating and abandoning her hometown was not that easy.

“My house, my church, my siblings’ houses and my parents’ businesses [were there]. I lost everything and had to start over,” Age said.

Age admitted she hasn’t personally assisted in any of the relief efforts.

 “The money that was raised isn’t going to the city at all. I think it’s the government just putting on a show,” Age said. “I acknowledge the fact that Red Cross tried to help, but there isn’t too much they’re doing now.”

When asked if she knew the true strength of the levees, Age admitted that she had not been made aware.

“They (the government) made us believe that those things (levees) were strong enough to hold things like this back,” Age said. 

Relocation seemed like an easy option for those of us that weren’t affected.

“We considered relocating but there’s no place like home. My best friend of 12 years relocated to Texas,” said Age. “I think some people should’ve tried their best to get out, although some people couldn’t get out, most were being stubborn and just didn’t want to leave.” 

Age does not believe things in New Orleans will get any better.