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Do you remember where you were on August 25, 2005?

Like most people I have a general idea.

I know I was living in Chicago at the time and had recently returned from Africa where I was shooting a documentary on the children of Africa and AIDS.

But I couldn’t give you specifics.

The people of New Orleans would probably tell you the same thing even though a few days later their lives and their city would never be the same again.

On August 25, 2015, which was a Thursday, Katrina was what weather experts refer to as a C1 storm.

It did reach hurricane status that day but barely with 85 mile per hour winds as it passed over the National Hurricane Center and just south of Fort Lauderdale airport.

The next day it was downgraded to a tropical storm before picking up steam and eventually becoming a full-fledged hurricane.

Katrina would sit and spin and gain power and energy for four days before making its third landfall on Monday, August 29th when the levees broke and all hell broke loose.

Most people remember where they were then, especially the people of Louisiana and Mississippi.

But where are they now ten years later after the deaths of more than 1,800 people?

The Public Policy Research Lab at Louisiana State University (LSU) released on Monday a survey on the progress and/or lack thereof in New Orleans ten years after Katrina.

The study finds that whites and blacks see things a whole lot differently when it comes to progress a decade later.

It shows African Americans had more difficulty returning to their homes within a year than whites.

70 percent of whites were able to return to their homes in the first year while only 42 percent of blacks were able to do the same.

African American women had the most difficulty returning to their homes.

62 percent of white women were able to return to their homes in New Orleans within a year after the storm compared to 34 percent of African American women.

77 percent of white men returned within a year.

55 percent of black men returned.

At the time mayor Ray Nagin promised that New Orleans would remain a “chocolate city” after residents returned to the city after Katrina.

Well, ten years later, the LSU survey finds that, “The demographic and socio-economic profile of New Orleans has changed” and residents are younger, “less African American, more highly educated, and have higher household incomes than before the storm.”

Blacks made up 67 percent of the population before Katrina but now they are 60 percent of the population.

Whites were 28 percent of the population, now they are 32 percent of the population.

African Americans, 60 % feel their voices were and are not being heard in the rebuilding of the city.

More whites than blacks feel their city has mostly recovered, 78 percent to 37 percent.

Only 20 percent of African Americans say their quality of life is better, 40 percent-about the same.

41 percent of whites say their quality of life is better, 43 percent-about the same.

For as much as New Orleans has changed since Katrina it has stayed the same.

Your perception of your station in the city depends on where you live, how educated you are, how much money you have and the color of your skin.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

There’s a link to the full LSU survey on


Don Lemon: 10 Years After Katrina Is New Orleans Still A Chocolate City?  was originally published on