NEWORLEANS-- The New Orleans Police Department's 5th District will mark the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina back at 3900 North Claiborne Avenue.
Officers that patrol neighborhoods from the Bywater to the Lower 9th Ward have moved five times since the hurricane destroyed their former headquarters. The new 17,000 square foot building can resist winds up to 150 miles per hour and has the generator power to provide electricity for up to a week.
'The facilities are remarkable,' said 5th District Commander Chris Goodly. 'It's a great day, a great step forward. Progress is being made. The officers are motivated and ready, willing an able to serve this community better.'
It has been a rough road to recovery for the 5th District. In 2008, WWL-TV showed the old headquarters left unsecured with potentially sensitive files and internal documents left in plain view. Two years ago, neighbor Clarence Dunbar told WWL-TV the city was not keeping the grass cut on the site after the building came down.
Dunbar now says what he sees next door is a sign of the times.
'It signals that perhaps we are getting back to before the storm of Katrina,' Dunbar said. 'In this area of the Upper Nine, we are going to be at least good as we were before or better.'
Goodly said the $17.2 million investment sends a strong message that the NOPD is not giving up the fight against violence on the streets of the city.
'We are motivated more than ever now to keep that fight going and to try to reduce crime as best as possible.'
The NOPD will continue to man the temporary 5th District headquarters at 4015 Burgundy, until the move to the new building is completed.