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Katrina survivors sued by Louisiana after using grant money to rebuild

After Hurricane Katrina, struggling homeowners said, they were told not to worry about the fine print when they received grants to elevate their homes.

David Hammer / Eyewitness Investigator, Richard A. Webster (The Advocate | The Times-Picayune)

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Published: 9:00 AM CDT May 12, 2022
Updated: 6:36 PM CDT May 13, 2022

Celeste Matthews spent last summer’s 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in a panic at her cousin’s house in Uptown New Orleans as another monster storm, Hurricane Ida, roared through the city. With every gust, she was terrified the windows would shatter.

The next day, she returned to her home in the Gert Town neighborhood to find part of the roof torn off. With the electricity out, she had to sleep with the windows open. Mosquitoes swarmed around her bed. 

“It was horrible,” said Matthews, 67.

After three days without power, Matthews had her daughter drive her to Houston. A week later she returned home, closed the curtains and sank into a depression, spending the next several days in bed.