August 28, 2015

Lower 9 + 10

Katrina bus tours go all over New Orleans, but it’s illegal for them to go into the Lower 9th Ward, the area that's been the slowest to rebuild. This week we go around talking to residents there about what matters the most to them (and what doesn't) ten years after the hurricane. The episode we did in 2005 the week of the storm is here.

Map of Katrina-related fatalities


Residents of the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans felt so strongly against hurricane tours after the storm, that legislation made the bus tours illegal there. Ira Glass talks to residents about the problem with bus tours, and takes us on a walking tour of the area, to meet people who are there now, 10 years after the storm. (7 minutes)
Act 1

First Stop

Robyn Semien talks to St. Claude Internet Café owner Kirk Washington about what’s changed the most in his life, post-Katrina. She finds out it’s literally everything, every minute, every day. (11 minutes)
Act 2

Second Stop

Zoe Chace goes to a favorite bar of the Lower 9th Ward: Mercede’s Place. She finds people who want so badly to go back to their lives before the storm, but know they can’t. (9 minutes)
Act 3

Third Stop

Lots of people in the lower 9th ward believe that the levees were exploded by the US government, and that’s why their neighborhood ended up under water. This makes a lot of sense when you learn about what happened in that same place in 1927. (6 minutes)
Act 4

Fourth Stop

A lot of people lost their homes during Katrina, but a lot of people lost their homes afterward, too—in ten years of post-storm debt, foreclosures, and hard loans. Zoe Chace talked with Roy Bradley, a Saints fan who’s facing losing his house right after he rebuilt it. (11 minutes)
Act 5

Fifth Stop

Someone has moved into Kirk Washington’s friend’s house—the guy from the first stop, whose friend died during Katrina. Her name is Sarah. Producer Sean Cole talked to her about what it’s like to move to a neighborhood, and into a house, that lost so much during the storm. (11 minutes)


Act 6

Sixth Stop

Lots of people don’t remember the storm: like people who are just becoming adolescents today. But they think about it a lot. We meet a couple kids in this situation, and then find one kid in particular, looking for his best friend. Then we find the best friend. And they talk, for the first time in ten years. (9 minutes)


“I'm Going Home” by Betty Taylor