Ten Stories that Changed Our Lives This Decade: #10 Katrina

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Today you say that the name Katrina, and most people can immediately recall the image of the storm that rocked New Orleans in 2005.

The storm slammed ashore on the last Monday of August.

It left people on rooftops of homes surrounded by water, others stranded at the New Orleans Superdome and Convention Center.

It's hard to forget the X's spray painted on homes to indicate authorities had  checked the house for bodies. 

Today, it's still the main topic of discussion in the city.

"Everyone in New Orleans still talks about it nearly every day," said Dave Cohen, the News Director at WWL Radio in New Orleans.

"When you talk about something the question is, 'was the before the storm or after the storm?' "

He says in many ways, the city we'd see as tourists is much the same, and maybe even a little shinier, but New Orleans is not the same.

"We still have only about 80% of the pre-Katrina population.  There are areas where people have not returned."

People who have come back are smarter.

"People are now building their homes higher off the ground.  The floodwalls and levees are being improved.  The pumping system is being improved.

Dave says that if you want to see Katrina's impact in places you would go, like the French quarter, you still can go see it.

"There are tour operators, and though it's the subject of much controversy, there are people who give tours.  You get on a bus, and you will be driven from one community to another in the region that are in various states of devastation from Katrina.  You will go to the lower 9th Ward, where very, if any, rebuilding has happened."

In some ways today, New Orleans is better, while in other ways, it's not.  Either way, one of America's most storied cities is changed forever.