Homes in Lower Ninth Ward
Homes undergoing renovation in the Lower 9th Ward (July 2008). (Photo credit: FEMA)

It’s been thirteen years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the effects are still felt every day.

Bell: “We still don’t have no grocery stores. We still don’t have no department stores or food chain stores. We don’t have nothing that we had before Katrina. Everything was destroyed.”

Reverend Richard Bell lives in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. During Katrina, floodwaters breached the city’s levees, inundating Bell’s neighborhood. Some areas sat in twelve feet of water for six weeks.

Bell was able to rebuild his house, but he says there are areas of the Lower Ninth Ward that still look like a wasteland.

Bell: “You got a lot of empty lots with tall grass growing where you can’t even look beyond the stop sign. We still haven’t got past Katrina. We have a long way to go.”

Climate change is making extreme weather more common. And though the news coverage about any particular storm largely disappears after a few weeks or months, people’s lives are often affected for years to come.

Bell: “Life will never be the same no more.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Sara Peach is the editor-in-chief of Yale Climate Connections. She is an environmental journalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American, Environmental Health News, Grist,...