On the 10th anniversary of the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans residents and visitors crowded under a tent on Canal Street to hear Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and other officials remind the city and its people of their strength. “The people of Louisiana, of New Orleans, are resilient and tenacious. They cannot be kept down,” Jindal said in a speech carried live by WDSU-TV in New Orleans.
The ceremony was heralded by Jindal and other local officials as the beginning of a day of service in New Orleans to mark the 10 years that had passed since the deadly storm.
— Cameron McWhirter (@cammcwhirter) August 29, 2015
Jindal repeated the word “resilient” three times during his four-minute speech as he praised the city for its ability to recover from the disaster in 2005. Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest storms to ever strike the U.S. The storm led to more than 1,800 deaths and about $151 billion in damage, as the Associated Press reported. About 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded during the hurricane, keeping residents out of their homes for years to come.
During the ceremony Saturday, the Most Rev. Alfred Hughes, the retired Roman Catholic archbishop of New Orleans, read aloud the names of 164 people who died during Katrina. These victims perished in St. Bernard Parish, in the southeastern quadrant of the city, right by the water.
Archbishop Alfred Hughes: The loss of life during Katrina tested our faith. Slow recovery tested our hope. pic.twitter.com/Erzdnavq6V
— Paul Murphy (@PMurphyWWL) August 29, 2015
“We did not allow that storm to keep us down permanently. That is because of our resilient spirit,” Jindal said in his speech. “People have come back home because they believe in New Orleans. They believe in Louisiana.”
The city has seen progress since Katrina, as many residences, hotels and businesses have been rebuilt. About 81 percent of the homes damaged have been or are currently being renovated, according to estimates in a study by the University of New Orleans.
However, New Orleans is still facing a number of issues. U.S. President Barack Obama visited there Thursday, when he noted the potential harm that could come to the city. “We are going to see more extreme weather events as a result of climate change -- deeper droughts, deadlier wildfires, stronger storms,” Obama said in his speech.
Jindal sent a letter to Obama before the speech, asking him to avoid the topic of climate change, Al Jazeera reported. The Louisiana governor has served in the office since 2008 and is a Republican contender in the 2016 presidential race. His message Saturday focused on celebrating his state and the people within it -- but it also applied in parts to the U.S. as a whole.
“The American people love each other. That may sound like an odd thing to say,” Jindal said. “Americans are a different kind of people. We run into burning buildings to rescue complete strangers.”
The memorial service concluded with the playing of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” AP reported. Other anniversary-related events included a march down Canal Street. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 people volunteered to participate in the Citywide Day of Service, according to a New Orleans Twitter account.
— Met. Rhonda A. Lee (@Rhonda_A_Lee) August 29, 2015