New Orleans, 10 years on from Katrina

  • 29/08/2015

By Tracy Smith

Exactly 10 years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, former US President George W Bush has returned, declaring the city "better than ever".

A decade earlier, he was criticised for viewing the destruction from the comfort of Air Force One.

More than 1800 people died, and a mismanaged government response stranded thousands more for days.

Michelle Langsford gave birth to twins 13 weeks premature. Only Kade survived, and at just over 450g (1lb), he was clinging to life in a New Orleans neo-natal unit when the monster storm hit.

"Windows were blowing in; tiles were coming off the walls; people were getting nervous," says Ms Langsford.

As the waters rose, Kade and 120 other babies had to be evacuated without their parents.

After the longest 48 hours of their lives, the Langsfords were reunited. But like so many others in Katrina's path, their world was shattered.

Now 10 years old, Kade is healthy and a pretty good basketball player. With insurance money and a loan, his parents built a new house north of town. She says they have recovered.

Katrina displaced more than 1 million people along the Gulf, and destroyed more than 130,000 homes in New Orleans alone.

But many, like Dollie Owens are still trying to find their footing.

Ms Owens refused to leave her elderly and ailing parents in New Orleans. When the hotel where they had sought refuge flooded, she was helped out.

Even now, Ms Owens wonders where she's headed.

"I'm still stuck," she says.

She lost her mother, Callie, in 2007. Her father, Soloman, died in 2012.

"There's nothing to go back to."

She's renting a house in Baton Rouge.

Granddaughter Jere is now 11 and lives nearby.

But despite all she's lost, Ms Owens has kept her family together.

"Through it all when I look at my children, my grandkids, they always gave me that real hope that I'm going to make it."

And with them, she'll always be home.

CBS News