After the Flood
After the Flood
Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, killing over 1,000 people and displacing over 1 million. As the rebuilding process began, musicians, Mardi Gras Indians, and Social Aid and Pleasure Club members began trickling back. Culture prevailed as politics failed. The life force of music and memory, determined to survive, came back to the shattered city. The hurricane wasn’t the only devastating force: the city had undertaken many urban development projects in Tremé throughout the second half of the 20th century, demolishing historical areas and displacing people. New Orleans has also long suffered from government corruption, and several politicians were arrested throughout the 2000s. Yet hope and vibrancy abound. The 2014 funeral for Larry Bannock, Big Chief of the Golden Starhunters, drew a large gathering of black Indians in a magnificent cultural spectacle. Amidst much political and social controversy, Mayor Mitch Landrieu removed the Robert E. Lee statue from the city in 2017. As New Orleans begins its fourth century, it faces issues of gun violence, poverty, and gentrification, but opportunities from a flourishing digital economy, resurgent music scene, and cultural mecca as well. It is still the vibrant, diverse society composed of people whose roots lie across the world, whose resilience has been a rudder through the storms and violent upheavals throughout the centuries.
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