不過雖然有很大的進展，紐奧良部分地區仍如一片廢墟。許多民眾仍然住在聯邦緊急事務管理局(Federal Emergency Management Agency)所提供的拖車內，包括了密西西比176個家庭以及路易斯安那的707個家庭。
「聯邦緊急事務管理局的公共援助方案是延遲復甦的原因之一，」蘭德魯說，「管理局的員工在風災過後拖延了聖伯納得教區(St. Bernard Parish)的污水處理設施建設長達數年，他們和貨運公司簽下了數百萬美金的合約，使用渡輪每週將廢水運出教區，使得當地區民被迫忍受缺乏基礎建設的生活，期間長達數年，而不是幾個月而已。」
在沙爾梅特(Chalmette)的聽證會中，紐奧良鄰里房屋服務公司(Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, Inc.)的執行長安德森(Lauren Anderson)說，「當堤防潰堤時，我們失去的不只是我們的房子，我們失去了我們的社區。我們的生活被撕裂。所有的社區都很重要，紐奧良有豐富的文化傳統，潛在的損失更顯得重要。」
On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and members of the Cabinet will travel Sunday to New Orleans.
The hurricane wrought some $110 billion in damages, making it the costliest hurricane in U.S. history. Seven states and more than 15 million people were affected.
Since taking office, the Obama administration has cut bureaucratic red tape to provide residents of the Gulf coast with the tools that they need to recover, including obligating nearly $2.42 billion in Public Assistance funds for Louisiana and Mississippi that had been stalled for years, the White House said in a statement.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit southeast Louisiana as a Category 3 storm. The most severe loss of life occurred in New Orleans, which flooded as the levee system failed hours after the storm had moved inland. Eventually 80 percent of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks.
The worst property damage occurred in coastal areas, as Mississippi beachfront towns were flooded with waters reaching inland 12 miles from the beach.
President Obama is speaking at Xavier University because its successful recovery is a good example of the efforts throughout New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the White House said.
Floodwaters covered the entire campus with several feet of water for two weeks. Katrina scattered Xavier students, staff and faculty across the nation, and its aftermath cast the survival of the university into serious doubt.
Yet, due to the determination of the students, faculty, staff, and the community, Xavier cleaned up, rebuilt and reopened after just five months. Nearly 80 percent of its students returned to campus in January 2006. Today, enrollment is very close to what it was before the hurricane.
"What happened to New Orleans represents the greatest disaster this country has ever had," said University President Norman Francis. "That we were able to come back in such a short period of time is a credit to the faith, commitment, and passion of our staff and faculty, who put aside their personal losses and problems to make this miracle happen."
But while enormous progress has been made, some of New Orleans is still in ruins. Still living in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, are 176 displaced households in Mississippi and 707 households in Louisiana.
"The levees, marshes, and barrier islands that should have protected Louisiana's coast from Hurricane Katrina had been weakened over time, and were ultimately insufficient in large measure due to decades of underinvestment and gross mismanagement by the federal government," the senator said. "In addition, the federal response to this unprecedented tragedy was slow, planning was insufficient, and personnel and funding came up short."
The state of Louisiana is winding down the largest housing program in U.S. history, having disbursed $10.4 billion to 127,000 homeowners and thousands more to renters and small landlords. "However," said Landrieu, "it took nearly two years to secure federal funding for Louisiana that was proportionate to its share of the overall damage."
"FEMA's Public Assistance Program had been a source of significant delay in the recovery," Landrieu said. "FEMA staff delayed the rebuilding of St. Bernard Parish's wastewater facility for years after the storm, opting instead to pay contract trucking companies millions of dollars to ferry sewage out of the parish on a weekly basis while people were forced to endure not months, but years without this most basic of services," she said.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told the hearing the progress made by the agency since Katrina is the result of "legislative enactments, broad administrative action and an overall change of attitude within FEMA."
"An example of this shift," he said, "is the establishment of two Public Assistance review panels, which help expedite decisions on pending Public Assistance projects, and give us the opportunity to work closely with applicants to review long-standing disputes."
Created by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in 2009, the panels "can help stalled projects move forward," Fugate said.
Senator Landrieu's brother, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, told the hearing, "After five painful years, our working relationship with FEMA has improved.
"Just yesterday," he said, "the agency confirmed that the city will receive a $1.8 billion lump-sum settlement to rebuild the schools destroyed by Katrina. We will finally be able to get our children out of temporary buildings. This settlement will fund the next phase of our school facilities master plan, which will make schools the centers of neighborhood renewal."
Nonprofit groups have been key to the rebuilding and recovery of New Orleans.
At the hearing in Chalmette, Lauren Anderson, Chief Executive Officer Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, Inc., said, "We did not just lose buildings when the levees broke, we lost communities. The fabric of life was torn apart. While all communities are important, New Orleans because it is the embodiment of a rich cultural tradition; the potential loss was all the more significant."
"What we have experienced in the intervening five years is that as determined as residents were to rebuild their homes; they were equally determined to rebuild their communities," Anderson said. They reached out to owners of vacant and destroyed properties, helping them to rebuild or to sell to someone who would rebuild.
This week, the group Rebuilding Together will celebrate the spirit of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans as another 50 homes are rehabilitated, and Rebuilding Together comes closer to the pledge of 1,000 homes completed in the Gulf.
Anderson said, "One of the thoughts that sustained me in the aftermath of Katrina was a Chinese saying that within every crisis is an opportunity and Katrina has presented each of us with many opportunities to learn and to grow as individuals and as a body politic."
But Mayor Landrieu put his finger on one problem that still plagues New Orleans - the urgent need for better protection from future hurricanes.
"We must have category 5 flood protection, and we must rebuild our coast," the mayor said. "South Louisiana's coastal wetlands not only provide a staging and processing platform for 25 percent of our domestic energy supply. They provide the most important barrier to catastrophic storms that our coastal communities have. And as Katrina has surely taught us, New Orleans is now a coastal city. The Mississippi River delta is the fastest-disappearing land mass on Earth. We must do all we can to stop the damage and restore our wetlands."