Ten Years After Katrina

In this Sept. 10, 2005 file photo, homes are surrounded by floodwater and oil slicks in St. Bernard Parish in New Orleans, La. (CNS photo/Frank J. Methe, Clarion Herald)

On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina buried one of the world’s most iconic cities in a flood of biblical proportions. More than 1,800 people lost their lives. “It was like a war zone. No sign of life,” said the now-retired archbishop of New Orleans, Alfred C. Hughes. Across the region, 200,000 homes were destroyed or heavily damaged. Dozens of public, private and Catholic schools closed forever. But in the midst of the devastation, the Catholic Church jump-started the city’s initial recovery by opening up as many Catholic schools as quickly as possible. These schools accepted all students, including those who had attended public schools, and did not charge tuition. The current archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory M. Aymond, who came back to his hometown as archbishop in 2009, sees God’s blessings everywhere he looks: “He was walking in the floodwaters. He was in the attic. He was in the Superdome. [H]e didn’t abandon us.” Speaking on “America This Week” on Aug. 26, Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans said the city “is a great story of resurrection and redemption...of people coming together to help each other out.” He commends the “tremendous progress” the city has made, but adds that there is still “a long way to go.”

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