David Benmocha
Freshman Essay

The Forgotten People of New Orleans

On August 29th 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck landfall which began one of the most destructive and deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. The hurricane brought over 14 feet in storm surge, winds topping off at 125 mph. With 80% of the city flooded we all knew a lot of money would have to be spent to restore its public and private infrastructures. While New Orleans did not suffer a direct hit by hurricane Katrina and the hurricane itself was only a category 3 hurricane, the damages to homes in the area were caused by severe flooding. This flooding not was caused by the hurricane itself but by the man-made engineering systems that failed to accommodate the surge. The total economic value of the immediate physical damage from Hurricane Katrina is estimated at 81.2 billion dollars, which is nearly double the estimated amount from Hurricane Andrew in the 1990s (Pascual, pars 1). Hurricane Katrina itself, however, was not the only or even primary source of damage, as 53 federally-built were breached or overtopped, levees broke during the storm causing an enormous flood which in the wake of the storm itself took over 80% of the city of New Orleans. Areas such as St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward, which is primarily black and poor, were the hardest hit by this catastrophic flooding. Most people in this part of New Orleans can not afford to rebuild their homes due to a low or no income. In St. Bernard Parish most people are retired or middle class and in years prior to Katrina. St. Bernard Parish’s total population lies around 67,229 whom report on average income of $41,759 a year (NBPC pars.5). St. Bernard Parish was rezoned out of the flood plans so most residents no longer had federal flood insurance, even after years of paying for it. The Lower 9th Ward population is estimated at 14,008 and their average income is approximately...
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