N.O. still struggling to rebuild city

"It still looks Aug 29 down there, without the water," said Brandon "Debo" Scott a junior from the 3rd ward of New Orleans.

It has been exactly one year since Hurricane Katrina devastated the lives of New Orleans residents, killing thousands and leaving countless families homeless.

A year later, and some New Orleans students of Grambling still are displaced.

"My family tired of living in a trailer," said Chatham Johnson, a junior from the 9th ward.

Contractors were supposed to rebuild his families home in July, but today Johnson’s family is still cramped in a small trailer.

It is especially not easy for Johnson, a student well over 6’3 to live in the small trailer.

"The bathroom is so small you got to soak your feet to use the toilet," said Johnson,

The news often shows images of reconstruction and new homes. But Eric Burbank, a transfer from Dillard University thinks differently.

Burbank said the only areas that seem to be thriving are neighborhoods that were not badly affected by the hurricanes.

After the hurricanes, Burbank and his family had to relocate to La Place, a town about an hour away from New Orleans.

Burbank came to Grambling, following the advice of his friend Johnson, who told him that displaced students could attend Grambling for free during the Fall 2005 semester. When he came, he didn’t have a dorm room to stay in.

A year later, and Burbank is still at Grambling, and plans on finishing his schooling. His family decided to stay in La Place.

Burbank’s outlook on the state of New Orleans now, is far from optimistic.

"I don’t want people to think it’s getting better, cause it’s really not," said Burbank. "A lot of people are still homeless." "Old residents are not coming back."

When Willie Woods, a junior from Algiers, first heard about Hurricane Katrina coming last year, he had no idea of the devastating affect it would have on his home city.

"I didn’t think it was going to be that drastic,’ said Woods.

Woods called his family a day after the Hurricanes. His family was able to make it safely out of New Orleans and relocate to Houston.

However, Woods, who had no contact with his father’s side of the family, did not see his father until December. A couple of days later, his father passed away of diabetes.

"If it wasn’t for Katrina, I would have been able to see him more before he died," said Woods.

Woods’ mother was able to get her old job back, and the family is back in New Orleans.

In remembrance of Katrina and Rita the members of Omega Psi Phi in conjunction with Campus Ministry held a memorial service on Wednesday. On the steps of the Favrot Student Union, a usually noisy place full of chatter and laughter, students gathered solemnly, taking a break from their classes and other activities to remember the tragedy.

"Victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Fema, you have a friend in SGA," said Alexier Barbour, president of the Student Government Association during the opening of the memorial.

After prayer, and a reading from the Bible, Reverend Connie Breaux, from New Orleans, left students with a few words of inspiration and encouragement. She compared the city of New Orleans to the mythical Phoenix bird.

"A Phoenix bird dissolves, but it comes back. It’s not over yet," said Breaux.