A city known to many tourists as “The Big Easy” hasn’t quite lived up to its name over the past 10 years for many New Orleanians. For some, it has been everything but an “easy” time to say the least.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina changed the lives of many citizens in neighboring gulf coasts regions including New Orleans. Days prior to what now has been deemed, the worst and most costly national disaster on American soil, local citizens were told to vacate their city as a Category 5 hurricane was bearing down on the gulf coast.

The devastation of this storm would test the strength of a region and its people. It would test the resilience and hope of New Orleanians to believe in what the Crescent City stood for. More importantly, it would also test our ability to rise against all the scrutiny, disrespect and negative perceptions that people had of us around the world. While there was talk of locals being looters, uneducated and crazy for living below sea level – we were literally trying to keep our heads above water!

As a native New Orleanian let me lay to rest a few myths! The images depicted of my city were far from how we lived on a daily basis. Media coverage monopolized on our vulnerability and ceased an opportunity to report stories their way, and not from the perspective of the people who endured hard times.

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