NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A traditional African ceremony of calling the ancestors and those who were lost was a part of the remembrance during the 17th Annual Katrina Memorial in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward on Monday.
“What this day means to me is honoring my aunt Joyce Green who perished on the rooftop on Tennessee St. along with her great-grand baby,” Joycelynn Green Askew told WGNO’s LBJ.
Joyce Green’s name was one of dozens posted on the signs near the levee breach, and while some of the residents in the 9th Ward were able to leave, many faced a tough time getting back to a community they no longer recognized.
“I left some that didn’t want to go and I thought for sure we were going would return back home, but apparently we didn’t,” said resident Valerie Schexnayder.
The recovery of parts of the 9th Ward has been spotty at best, and vacant lots stand where many homes were destroyed, but one thing is for sure: this is a proud community.
“If you look at what Katrina did, just to see that this neighborhood still survives and still exists, I’m proud to be from this community,” Councilman Oliver Thomas explained.
The remembrance then became a march and eventually a second line in tribute to what still lives in the hearts of the people here.
“It’s like a memory that comes to you on the day this happened,” said Arlene Thomas.
And while this commemoration is a tribute, some also see it as a call to action.
“As we approach almost two decades, we have to figure out 1)how this happens again and, 2)how we make the people that are still affected whole,” explained Wild Wayne with Q-93 Radio.
See the ceremony: