[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/29/art.vert.katrina.rebuilding.jpg caption="Rebuilding continues in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, last year." width=292 height=320]Ismael Estrada
At first glance, driving in from the airport in New Orleans last night, things didn’t seem much different than the last time I was here. 3 weeks ago, I was here working and things have been improving. We interviewed people in the lower 9th ward and talked with business owners who all said, New Orleans is on the way back.
Last night the interstate was jam packed as people were headed to the New Orleans Saints pre-season game at the Superdome and things seemed normal. Then, I got out of my car and started talking to people.
Raynell Hamilton works at our hotel and couldn’t help but tell us her worries. Raynell just moved back to New Orleans one year ago. She has been struggling working long hours and volunteering, but felt she needed to move her family back home to the 9th ward, where she lost everything. She says she did so at the urging of her family and husband to keep her family together. She moved to Houston where she says she lived for over a year, where she says, she was impressed with the opportunities the city had to offer. She was employed, getting out of the debt that the aftermath of Katrina put her in 3 years ago. But she felt compelled to move back home. Now, she says, if Gustav continues on it’s course toward New Orleans, she is leaving and never coming back. It’s too much, she says, to do all over again.
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