Nightly News   |  August 29, 2010

Katrina survivors mark day of remembrance

For the past five years, residents of the Gulf Coast have been living in the wake of the devastating storm, rebuilding, recovering, and today, remembering. NBC’s Kate Snow reports.

Share This:

This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, host (New Orleans): This part of the country knows about hardship. It's spent months now grappling with the oil disaster in the gulf. And for the past five years, folks here have been living in the wake of Katrina , rebuilding, recovering. And today they were remembering. Kate Snow 's here with us tonight with that part of the story. And, Kate , it almost feels like that today.

KATE SNOW reporting: It does. Bad memories for a lot of people, this kind of weather, Brian .

WILLIAMS: Yeah.

SNOW: And that storm, of course, when it came ashore five years ago, the flooding, the wind, the rain, it damaged several states. And today, many people from all of those states paused to remember. On this Sunday morning, survivors gave thanks...

Unidentified Woman #1: A walking miracle, yes, I am.

SNOW: ...and remembered those who were lost.

Unidentified Woman #2: Lawrence Sanders...

SNOW: From Biloxi , where high school students read the names of people who died during Katrina in every Mississippi town to the infamous Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans , at the very spot where the levee failed five years ago. Aaron Alsinder was overwhelmed by grief for family and friends who perished. They've marched from here every year to mark the anniversary, some optimistic...

Unidentified Woman #3: We need to take a stand and let everybody know that New Orleans is still New Orleans .

SNOW: ...others angry that things haven't changed enough.

Unidentified Woman #4: It just seems like the justice -- injustice upon injustice is piling up.

SNOW: The city's new mayor visited the memorial for 100 victims of Katrina who were never identified. And residents tossed a wreath off the Claiborne Avenue Bridge . In 2005 , people were stranded there for days. Jane Jacobs took the day off from renovating her home.

Ms. JANE JACOBS: Yeah. We stopped everything to honor this day.

SNOW: But not everyone did.

Mr. PAUL GIBSON: It's just another day. We just got to come back here and finish cleaning up the mess.

SNOW: Sixty miles outside New Orleans , Paul Gibson is rebuilding on the same lot in the town where Katrina made landfall and ripped the asphalt of the main highway right from the ground. That highway is back. The water tower that was brought down by a wall of water 21 feet high stands tall again today. And this weekend, for some that progress was reason enough to throw a party. It is the New Orleans way to throw a party. But, Brian , we talked about so many people today , and some didn't want anything to do with these commemorations. They just want to move on and forget that moment in history. But others said they want to embrace it and always remember.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Who can blame, them on either side? Kate Snow here with us thanks. Kate ,