New Orleans Buries Katrina with Mock Funerals

Just as Katrina tried to bury New Orleans, this weekend people here tried to bury Katrina ceremonially. In dozens of ceremonies, Katrina's survivors remembered Katrina's dead and their own true grit.

Katrina was the near-death of a major city. Americans elsewhere watched spellbound and outraged. The desperation, the martial law, the air-sea rescues. For days, thousands of people, scared and scarred, were cut off from hope itself, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

Joyce Guint is the face of this city's never-say-die spirit. On Katrina's anniversary weekend, she finally got her house back, rebuilt by volunteers.

"A tub! A bathtub!" she says.

She's earned a good, long soak. For almost five years her home was a FEMA trailer on her front lawn.

" I'm forever grateful that I can get back in my house today," says Guint.

That gratitude - and resilience - also marked a funeral march through the city's lower Ninth Ward. But three-fourths of the homes in the Ninth Ward were never rebuilt. One hundred thousand people who fled New Orleans have never come back.

Almost 1,000 families here still live in FEMA trailers.

"These are people who owned a home, they made it in America," says Bernard Project co-founder Zack Rosenberg. "It's hard to own a home. And if they're not back, what about people who are less savvy?"

In a changed city, Joyce Guint represents the march of progress, day by day.

"Now I have a house," she says. "Oh my!"

Despite this mock funeral, it will be years before New Orleans truly buries the ghosts of Katrina.

Then again by now some people in New Orleans are tired of even talking about Katrina. Their attitude is, "Move on." But for most people, getting past Katrina is easier than getting over it.

More the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina:

Complete Coverage: Katrina Five Years Later
Katrina: How It Changed the Psyche of America
NOLA a Work in Progress, 5 Years After Katrina
Katrina's Damage Still Hurts Cities, Reputations
Coming Home to a Rebuilt New Orleans

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.