New Orleans: Five years after Katrina - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

New Orleans: Five years after Katrina

By MARY FOSTER

Associated Press Writer

CHALMETTE, La. (AP) - Hundreds of mourners dropped notes, cards and letters - many of them stained with tears - into a steel-gray casket on Saturday in a symbolic burial of Hurricane Katrina.

One letter written by a child in red crayon said: "Go away from us." Another note remembered one of the 1,800 victims of Katrina: "R.I.P. Gloria, I will always love you." The casket, along with some of the anger, grief and frustration, was later interred under an appropriately dark sky as rain pounded umbrellas.

"I asked for no more suffering, for everything to come back to where it was," Walter Gifford, 47, said of his note. He rebuilt his home and moved back to the area near New Orleans. "I ask for the sadness for so many to end."

The church that celebrated the Mass, Our Lady of Prompt Succor, was flooded five years ago just like all but two buildings in St. Bernard Parish.

"I cried a lot while I wrote my letter," said Nancy Volpe, 61, who moved back into her house in November. "But I'm finally home. I can't tell you how much better I know the meaning of that word - home."

When the casket was finally closed, people applauded. "I've been to many funerals," said Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond. "But I'm sure this is the first time I've heard applause when they closed the casket."

Funeral director Floyd W. Herty Jr. planned the service. "I've been a funeral director all my adult life, and I know the power the service has to let people begin healing," Herty said.

The funeral was one of dozens of events planned to mark the fifth anniversary of the massive storm that wrecked New Orleans, south Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

On Sunday, President Barack Obama will speak at Xavier University - which, like 80 percent of New Orleans, was flooded when the levees failed.

He will remember those who died and reassure the others who have returned that he is committed to completing the rebuilding that couldn't even start in New Orleans for a month after the Aug. 29, 2005 storm, because floodwaters were still being pumped out of the city.

A march and "healing ceremony" were also scheduled in the Lower 9th Ward, where many houses still stand vacant, with a circle painted on them indicating they had been searched and whether bodies were in them.

The city of New Orleans will mark the anniversary with a quite ceremony Sunday night, including a tolling of the bells of St. Louis Cathedral, the famed building overlooking Jackson Square, and a candlelight vigil for the dead.

"I'm tired of the anniversaries," said Barbara Washington, 77, who lost her home in New Orleans and is now living in a suburb. "I miss my home every day. I feel lost. But I also know we are getting back. We're survivors."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-08-28-10 1731EDT

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Evangeline Parish schools cleared after bomb threats

    Evangeline Parish schools cleared after bomb threats

    Tuesday, February 20 2018 12:35 PM EST2018-02-20 17:35:34 GMT
    (Source: Pablo)(Source: Pablo)
    All Evangeline Parish schools have been cleared after bomb threats were made Monday, KATC is reporting. Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue said an investigation into who made the threats is ongoing. "We swept all of the schools," Lartigue said. "We got all that cleared." All schools in the parish closed Tuesday because of the threats.  Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.More >>
    All Evangeline Parish schools have been cleared after bomb threats were made Monday, KATC is reporting. Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue said an investigation into who made the threats is ongoing. "We swept all of the schools," Lartigue said. "We got all that cleared." All schools in the parish closed Tuesday because of the threats.  Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.More >>
  • SLIDESHOW: Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day with the cutest pet photos ever

    SLIDESHOW: Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day with the cutest pet photos ever

    Tuesday, February 20 2018 12:19 PM EST2018-02-20 17:19:05 GMT
    (Source Demi O'Neal)(Source Demi O'Neal)

    February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day. This is a day to hug your furry friend a little tighter. Pet-lovers everywhere can take this day to give your best friend extra attention and pampering...as if you don't already do that enough. It's a great day to really focus on your relationship with your pet and celebrate by letting the whole world know how much you love them. Here are some ways to celebrate: buy your pet a special treat, take them somewhere to spend quality time for lon...

    More >>

    February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day. This is a day to hug your furry friend a little tighter. Pet-lovers everywhere can take this day to give your best friend extra attention and pampering...as if you don't already do that enough. It's a great day to really focus on your relationship with your pet and celebrate by letting the whole world know how much you love them. Here are some ways to celebrate: buy your pet a special treat, take them somewhere to spend quality time for lon...

    More >>
  • Launch of Industry Works by SWLA Economic Development Alliance

    Launch of Industry Works by SWLA Economic Development Alliance

    Tuesday, February 20 2018 11:27 AM EST2018-02-20 16:27:04 GMT
    The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance has announced the next phase of their Ready, Set, Work workforce initiative called Industry Works. (Source: Industry Works)The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance has announced the next phase of their Ready, Set, Work workforce initiative called Industry Works. (Source: Industry Works)

    The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance has announced the next phase of their Ready, Set, Work workforce initiative called Industry Works.

    More >>

    The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance has announced the next phase of their Ready, Set, Work workforce initiative called Industry Works.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly