For the past two years, Anderson says he's returned to the Gulf Coast almost every month to report on the challenges facing hurricane survivors. "I made a promise to keep coming back here," he says. "[And] while there has been progress in New Orleans, it hasn't come fast enough by any measure."
In New Orleans's famous French Quarter, shops and restaurants are back in business...but not every neighborhood has been so lucky. Anderson returns to the Lower Ninth Ward, an area that was practically swept away by Katrina's flood waters. "The Lower Ninth Ward [is] where we saw so many of the scenes of just utter horror two years ago," Anderson says. "This is where we saw so many bodies just floating in the streets."
Despite promises to rebuild, Anderson says the neighborhood is still a wasteland. "If the miles of destroyed homes, businesses and the FEMA trailers don't tell you the full story, [there are] some cold, hard facts that will," he says.
According to Anderson, only about 60 percent of the pre-Katrina population has returned to New Orleans, and more than 14,000 families still live in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers. Those who have moved back must deal with rampant crime—FBI statistics show that the murder rate in New Orleans is now the highest in the nation.
"I've walked down the streets here in New Orleans that I was literally floating down two years ago in a boat," Anderson says. "I don't want people to forget what they saw here those terrible days after the storm. I don't want people to just move on and not remember."