It’s been 10 years since floodwaters washed away lives in New Orleans—for most, figuratively or temporarily, but for more than 1,800, literally. We who call this place home all lost something—homes, possessions, jobs, pets, loved ones, our sanity. Mold and muck marked our days for a long time, but now, we seem somehow better for it.
Ten years later we are 10 times stronger, with sturdier levees and homes, better public schools and public housing, state-of‐the‐art hospitals, greater commerce (more shops and restaurants!), and an influx of young entrepreneurs that has freshened our outlook.
We have hosted a Super Bowl (and even won one!) and welcomed a growing number of conventions (including the 2013 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting). NOLA has been called the #1 Brainpower City (Forbes), the #1 Most Improved Metro Area (Wall Street Journal), the #1 Most Inspiring U.S. City (Good Magazine, 2014), and more. Katrina was a defining moment for us. We’ve rebuilt—but upon our centuries-‐old traditions for which we are known and loved.
In fact, there has been so much to cheer about that it’s easy to forget that not everything, and not everyone, has “come back.” They may never. And we are still plagued by problems common to other great American Cities. We still mourn. We are still in recovery But we are “irrepressible,” to quote President Obama. We have perhaps an unwarranted confidence in our future.
We will keep moving forward—but keeping an eye to the sky, of course. ■
Caroline Helwick is a reporter for The ASCO Post and lives in New Orleans.