On April 27, President Bush went to New Orleans for a photo-op and visited 74-year old Ethel Williams, whose house was badly damaged when Hurricane Katrina struck. Putting his arms around Williams, Bush promised that her house would be rebuilt:
Mrs. Williams has invited myself and the Mayor and the Governor and Congressman into her home which had been wiped out by the storm. And she went to Texas for a while and she made it clear to me she was glad to be out of Texas and back home. But the amazing thing that’s happened in her home is that there are people from across the country here who are helping to rebuild it.
But four months later, as NPR reports, “not much has happened.” Williams said, “[W]e all disappointed because nothing’s been done.”
Unfortunately, the rest of the New Orleans hasn’t fared much better. A recent report from the Brookings Institution found that rent prices have sharply increased over the past year, while unemployment rates remain higher than pre-Katrina levels. Crime levels are also up in certain districts, and 60% of houses and businesses are not receiving electricity. New Orleans’s current population is only at around half its pre-Katrina level.
– Rohan Mascarenhas