About My Fathers Business, Rebuilding in New Orleans Post-Katrina

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After Katrina scattered children and their families, with many never returning, the Jesuit coaching staff identified local families and students whom they felt could help rebuild their program. That's what led them to Cal, Tahonas and Deion. As an elite basketball player who had been on a traveling team since the age of six, a skilled recreational football player and a Katrina survivor, Deion Jones had already been groomed within a family held in high esteem.

A lot of kids displaced by Katrina were forced to repeat grades when they returned, but Deion remained on track and eventually graduated early from Jesuit. She helped raise a lot of people's kids. She brought a lot of kids home, and she'd treat them like our siblings. And that kept us grounded, kept us humble. But if it wasn't for Cal on one specific occasion, Deion might have given up long ago. When LSU head coach Les Miles called Cal in the spring of and criticized Deion's effort level as a freshman, Cal remembered having to push Deion during a similar fight-or-flight football moment several years earlier.

More of a running back on the playground and in ninth grade, Deion became discouraged when Jesuit moved him to linebacker in his sophomore season. But his father urged him to stick with it, and Deion was excelling as a starter within a few weeks. He's a full-time linebacker now, but he didn't see the field much in college until his senior season—a reality that didn't sit well with him, particularly in that first year.

Deion felt he was ready to play from the get-go, but he wasn't getting consistent snaps. His mind may have been a step ahead of his body, especially in the SEC.

Some hit harder than others

Naturally, that became somewhat of a problem. He said no, and we haven't had a problem since. It does feel as though a lot of those "Katrina kids" were ready mentally, and some physically, at early ages. Like Jones, a lot of those early bloomers had hiccups. Lacy's conditioning has been a problem early in his NFL career. Beckham's intensity has at times gotten the better of him. But there's a lot of evidence these guys are mature enough to acknowledge their flaws and proactively get back on track.

On One Block, Resilience and Despair

That shared resiliency might stem from their shared experience. And that Jones responded as well as he did to that wake-up call from Les Miles and his father is an indication that he also gets it. After Katrina, thousands of displaced students had to attend school at night, and Keiser notes that many of them had to spend their off hours helping tear down and rebuild homes.

You could argue that it also enabled kids like Landry and Jones to view all of the advantages in their lives with a fresh, mature perspective. Giordano hopes to promote New Orleans as the host of the Davis Cup tennis tournament in , which will require help from all levels of the city — from grass roots to the tourism industry.

Amy Woodruff, the artistic director who founded the group in , compiled the script, designed the set and costumes, and also starred as the main characters in their first, one-actor show. Each project, she says, is a learning experience. Her husband, Blake Buchert, a cartographer, is on the board of directors and is chairman of the Board of Trustees for the company, which was incorporated as a non-profit theater in the state of Louisiana in Woodruff and Buchert, along with Chrispin Barnes and Jennifer Buras, the current resident artists, also look forward to developing more touring opportunities.

Though Wendel is responsible for programs along the East coast, she remains a New Orleanian. Because the Riverwalk Market is ranked as the number three activity for visitors, reopening after Hurricane Katrina was a crucial step forward in the recovery process. Tourists generated 90 percent of its center sales, so spreading the word remained a number one priority.

Wendel will help lead Riverwalk Marketplace into its 20th year, and she says that they will continue moving forward with progress. Though he has he ties in both cities, Kenner has his heart. After obtaining a Management degree from Loyola, Percy Marchand decided to officially establish a printing business. Located in Gentilly, Marchand Ink, a design and printing center that produces social and commercial stationery, opened in Marchand had been working towards establishing his printing business since he was a teenager, after receiving his first computer.

The past year has undoubtedly been challenging for everyone, but Marchand is confident about the future, and with good reason. In addition to handling the company with three other people, Marchand also teaches a printing class at Youthstartup. In the near future, he plans to expand Marchand Ink and its community programs, and eventually run for a political office. Having recently moved into its third generation of family leadership, American Coffee Company, Inc.

Chicory drinkers are ferocious in their loyalty to the richer flavor. Duplessis, who also works in the banking industry, is an example of a citizen who takes action against an injustice.

Though her first term is drawing to a close, she plans on running for re-election. Born in New Orleans, Craig Tracy is no stranger to the artistic eccentricities of the city; in fact, he is quickly becoming one of its major contributors. Tracy spends his days and nights in the French Quarter, which is the home to his personal art gallery, Painted Alive — the first bodypainting gallery in the world.

Resilience and Despair on One New Orleans Block - WSJ

In , he was selected as the overall winner in the 8th annual World Bodypainting Festival, held in southern Austria. He competed against other bodypainters from 40 nations across the globe. This year, he was a judge. He is in the early stages of co-authoring a book on the subject. As the president of the Broadmoor Improvement Association and the manager of Greater New Orleans Education Foundation, Latoya Cantrell has recently worked on the redevelopment plan for the Broadmoor neighborhood, which she looks forward to helping implement as soon as possible.

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There are around people involved in the Broadmoor Improvement Association, and Cantrell is the leader and a guiding light for displaced residents of the area. Pre-Katrina, Broadmoor housed approximately 2, residents, and Cantrell says that at least 1, plan on coming back, if they are not back already. She spends hours a day attending meetings around the city and she is constantly on the phone with displaced residents, giving them resources and information. For the New Orleans Education Foundation, Cantrell handles grant-writing, financing management and program management.

The Broadmoor community is rallying for a charter school system, and they are in need of educators to help out with this great challenge. As a business president, real estate developer and three-year owner of Houmas House Plantation, Kevin Kelly is playing a critical role in helping the tourism industry get back on its feet. The exquisite plantation suffered little damage from the storm, but with so many devastated surrounding areas, Kelly recognized that tourism would be a necessary component to recovery.

Kelly immediately got the word out that Houmas House Plantation was open, and he urged people to visit the unique historical destination, which was once the largest sugarcane plantation in Louisiana.


He plans to build a luxurious addition to the plantation — the Sugar House Inn, which will hold 88 rooms and occupy six stories with balconies overlooking the Mississippi River. Arnie Fielkow is somewhat of a Renaissance man. Stoop-sitting is frowned upon. On some days, a new security guard will ask him and his friends to leave, saying the complex is for residents only. For those without a unit, it can be a struggle. Landing a housing voucher takes years: A waiting list thousands of names long remains from , the last time new applications were accepted.

Many of those who do have vouchers are happy to rent their own houses and have their own yards. Others are nomads. The auspicious fate of this mostly white neighborhood shows how the haves of New Orleans, not surprisingly, were destined to have an easier time rebuilding than its have-nots.

The haves could pay rent on a temporary place while paying a mortgage on a destroyed home. They could use private funds to improve those homes while waiting for government rebuilding subsidies. And they could hire lawyers, as needed, to navigate the sea of paperwork. Now when you drive around Lakeview, a once-swampy rectangle just south of the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, there are signs of a fine, flourishing moment. Young mothers in workout gear push expensive strollers.

Big, handsome homes have replaced smaller ones.

Rebuilding Pontchartrain Park

A gift store called Little Miss Muffin, full of housewares and baby clothes, has doubled to 6, square feet in the years since Katrina. Residents of Lakeview tend to bristle at any attention to their improved fortunes. Even though the average household income here in was more than twice that of the Lower Ninth Ward, there were always gradations of wealth.

And they say rebuilding was difficult for everyone. It was also an aging neighborhood before Katrina. Some of the elderly here were killed in the flood. Others moved away, never to return. Today it is a neighborhood full of optimism and mourning, gratitude and regret. The Little Miss Muffin boutique, on a badly flooded commercial strip, was able to expand because the business owners next door did not come back. Simone Bruni, 43, lost her home in Katrina, and her job as a party planner.

But Katrina also made Ms. Ten months after it struck, she began to festoon the ruined neighborhood with signs for her new post-storm venture, a company that she had cheekily named the Demo Diva. She played up her femininity, deploying hot-pink Dumpsters and trucks, and built a multimillion-dollar business tearing down ruined homes. Many of the original, smaller Lakeview houses, which would have fit in architecturally in any American suburb, have been replaced with grander models that replicate the19th-century styles of the Uptown and Garden District neighborhoods.

There is perhaps no topic of the last 10 years as polarizing: a piecemeal, state-run experiment begun before Katrina that took off afterward as among the most radical education overhauls in the country. What had been a perpetually failing, corruption-battered school system is now hardly a system at all, but rather a network of largely autonomous charter schools, with some of the biggest name brands in education, like Kipp, represented along with homegrown versions.