On Aug. 31st 2005, 80 percent of New Orleans was under water as deep as 15 feet after Hurricane Katrina struck. Marc Danna's Lakeview neighborhood was among the hardest hit.
He says they had three inches of water in the upstairs.
“From the crest of the road you'd be standing in 11 feet,” Danna says.
Across town, 4,000 homes were destroyed and many people died. Many had to be rescued from their roofs.
“It was very bad,” says Perry Duskin, who lives in the Ninth Ward. “We had at least nine feet of water.”
Days later, ABC7 was there as he and other homeowners were allowed back in for the first time. It was a chaotic scene. ABC7 went along on washed boats as people went looking for missing relatives, or just to see the damage done
It took two weeks for the waters to recede in this neighborhood. Danna's home like all the other was ruined. But he vowed to rebuild.
“It was like the Wild West living our here for the first year,” Danna says. “We lived in a FEMA trailer for 18 months.”
There are still many empty lots. But after years of delay, construction is booming. Though it has been slow going, houses are now being rebuilt. In the Lower Ninth Ward the efforts of movie star Brad Pitt have led to the construction of 86 houses. Another 70 are in the works.
"Those are some nice, nice houses,” says Duskin.
Super Bowl organizers and city leaders in New Orleans say they want to spread the word that it’s not just the Superdome which has been given a fresh start.
“We really believe that this is telling the world that New Orleans is back and its back stronger than ever,” says Mark Romig of the Super Bowl Welcome Committee.
Danna says that after all the suffering, he too hopes visitors notice the new vitality.
“I think it’s great that they're gonna see that man come visit us,” Danna says.
“We are back, I would say better than we were before Katrina in several ways,” says Mark Romig of the Super Bowl Welcome Committee.