6 years later, Lower 9th Ward still bleak

I don't believe there was a plan to rebuild the lower 9th ward. It was in such disarray before Katrina. They hoped that the people would not come back. Unfortunately for them, some of them never left. The people have to fight for what they want, it will not just be handed to them. I hope they voices are heard.

In New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward, the grasses grow taller than people and street after street is scarred by empty decaying houses, the lives that once played out inside their walls hardly imaginable now.

St. Claude Avenue, the once moderately busy commercial thoroughfare, looks like the main street of a railroad town bypassed long ago by the interstate. Most buildings are shuttered, "For Sale" signs stuck on their sides. There aren't many buyers. And the businesses that are open are mostly corner stores where folks buy pricey cigarettes, liquor and packaged food.

Six years after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, the New Orleans neighborhood that was hardest hit still looks like a ghost town. Redevelopment has been slow in coming, and the neighborhood has just 5,500 residents -- one-third its pre-Katrina population.

But politicians, investors and celebrities continue to promise a better future. City leaders recently announced plans to rebuild a high school and pave the neighborhood's roads. And actor Wendell Pierce, who stars in an HBO series about New Orleans, is backing a new supermarket for an area that hasn't had one in 20 years.

While residents welcome the news, they remain skeptical. Promises have been dashed too many times.

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