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Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEWORLEANS- Reverend A.C. Fields and his wife Ora Lee like to spend time sitting on their front porch. Lower 9th Ward residents since the 1970s, they remember the thrill of rebuilding after Katrina.

'When they finished my house, I couldn't believe it,' laughed Ora Lee Fields. 'I was the happiest person around here.'

'I come through the wringer and the wash,' said Rev. A.C. Fields. 'And you're glad to be back home? Glad to be back home.'

But the Lower 9th Ward they knew has changed drastically since Katrina. Now their home is surrounded by overgrown vacant lots.

'I had two houses on this side or me (before Katrina), and two here,' said Ora Lee. '(Now) I don't have no neighbors.'

'Still devastated,' said Activist Vanessa Gueringer. 'In a lot of cases it's still like Katrina happened just yesterday.'

Gueringer, who is with A Community Voice knows the current Lower 9th Ward population is just a fraction of what it was before the storm. The once close knit community is dotted with abandoned houses, and parts have become a jungle of overgrown lots littered with garbage and debris.
'Little to no progress. I'm still very upset.'

On August 30, A Community Voice will stage a Katrina memorial, to remember those who died in the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood when it flooded nine years ago. But they'll also look at what still needs to be done here to recover.

Gueringer, 'Nine years after the storm, we are still saying where did the money go?'

A.C. and Ora Lee Fields note there are positive changes, but they still face the tall grass that surrounds their home.

'And we pay tax, and everything, and I just can't believe that they ain't trying to do something for us,' said Ora Lee. City leaders hope that if the plan to sell lots for $100 passes, it will spur development in the Lower 9th Ward.

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