Katrina: The Debris

By Jason Saul

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Katrina: The Debris is stories about what was left behind by the storm and the floods that followed, aiming to pick up some of the narrative threads of the storm and follow them into the present and future.

Episode Date
Katrina: The Debris // The R Word: Resilience
Well, we’ve made it. Almost. It’s been a long, hot summer and this is our last episode as we come up on the tenth anniversary of Katrina. The city is abuzz with journalists and experts and NGOs and politicians. We thought we’d use this last bit of The Debris to explore a word they’re all using to talk about New Orleans: resilience.
Aug 24, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // Newcomers
Lots of people who visit New Orleans today are surprised to find the city in such good shape. The rebuilding effort has been long, arduous, and largely successful in most areas (with a few notable exceptions, like the Lower 9th Ward ). New Orleans would not be where it is today without the students, church groups, retirees, professional organizations and lone good souls who gave their time and energy to rebuilding. At least a million people, by one count, and likely many millions. Newcomers poured into the city after the storm, and many became new New Orleanians.
Aug 17, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // The Debris
This week on Katrina: The Debris, we're exploring the actual debris — the stuff left behind when the winds died down and the floodwaters receded. Katrina changed our relationship with that "stuff" — the tangible things that make up our modern lives. Some things became much more important, while so much else became just trash to be left on the curb for pickup.
Aug 10, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // Mental Health
The devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the floods that followed is most visible in pictures of ruined houses and people’s destroyed possessions lying out on city streets. But there’s unseen damage that runs even deeper: the collective emotional trauma experienced by the thousands of people who lived through it.
Aug 03, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // Missing
According to numbers from the US Census and the IRS, 236,970 people left Louisiana between the summer of 2005 and the summer of 2006, mostly because of Hurricane Katrina. Census details can’t tell who is a former resident returning and who’s new, but as of last year, the state had only recovered about 100,000 people, less than half of those who left. Whether it's a bandoned houses or empty chairs at the dinner table, New Orleans is rebuilding around a conspicuous absence. This week on The Debris, stories of people and things missing from, and just missing, New Orleans.
Jul 27, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // Education
Of all the changes New Orleans has seen in the ten years since Katrina, the restructuring of the city's public school system is perhaps the most drastic. In place of a traditional school district, most Orleans Parish schools are now governed by a loose confederation of charter operators. What does this new model mean for students, teachers and parents in New Orleans?
Jul 20, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // Nueva Orleans
According to a study by the Data Center , the Hispanic population of the New Orleans metro area has nearly doubled since the year 2000. Many people immigrated from Mexico and Central America, or migrated from other parts of the U.S. to work in cleanup and construction after Katrina. The Latino population of greater New Orleans continues to grow and reshape the culture of the city.
Jul 13, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // Houston
Nearly a quarter of a million people evacuated to Houston from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and in 2006 there were still about 150,000 Katrina evacuees in the Bayou City. As of 2012, 40,000 had resettled permanently from New Orleans to the Houston area.
Jul 06, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // On The Road
You don't realize how much you appreciate traffic lights until you have to drive around a city without any. This week on Katrina: The Debris, getting around New Orleans, during and after the storm.
Jun 29, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // Generations
New Orleans is a family city. Grandparents and grandkids, cousins, aunts and uncles often live in the same house, share the same traditions. When Katrina hit, many families evacuated together — three generations crammed into one car.
Jun 22, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // Ingredients
The root of the word “restaurant” is in fact the French verb restaurer ​, to restore. And New Orleans restaurateurs , the proprietors, were seen as key figures in restoring the life and spirit of the city. But in those first months after the flood, nobody was sure how or even if the city's most famous restaurants were going to reopen. We hear tape from an October 2005 meeting of New Orleans chefs — including John Besh , Susan Spicer and Leah Chase — about how to get the city's restaurant industry back on track. And we talk to present-day John Besh about how Katrina changed the way he does business. A consultant from Martin Wine Cellar talks about what it's like to deal with thousands of cases of ruined wine after a natural disaster. And we hop on the streetcar for a late night ride with New Orleans' service industry workers. Click here to subscribe in iTunes. WWNO's Listening Post project sent out a text asking New Orleanians about their experiences with food right after Katrina. Here
Jun 15, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // Green Dot
The first comprehensive map for rebuilding New Orleans came out in early 2006, about six months after the flood. Saying it was highly anticipated would be an understatement. On it, some symbols that appeared as a death knell for some neighborhoods: green dots. To New Orleans native Wendell Pierce , star of The Wire and Treme — and to thousands of others — those dots meant: "your neighborhood is not welcomed back." Meet a woman who helped bring back her Green Dot neighborhood of Broadmoor , with help from her mailman. Check out a Green Dot zone in New Orleans East that still longs for basic services and retail to return, even though it's regained sizable population. And, an urban planner talks about lessons learned from the Green Dot debacle, and how the plan that sprung from its ashes broke new ground in community participation.
Jun 08, 2015
Katrina: The Debris // Incredible By Modern Standards
Incredible by Modern Standards— June 1 New Orleans is a weather town. As hurricane season begins, hear the most emotional federal weather bulletin ever written. Plus, more on how the National Weather Service is using social science to improve forecasts. And hear from New Orleans residents who say the argument to call our 2005 disaster “The Federal Flood” instead of just “Katrina” still holds water. Why that weather wording matters. Read the National Weather Service's report on its service during Hurricane Katrina . The weather in New Orleans right now .
Jun 01, 2015