DDH_ICONS Hurricane Katrina

In New Orleans’ Hardest-Hit Neighborhood, A Recovery — By Sheer Will

The very first customer cried 'cause she said she never thought the Lower Ninth Ward was coming back.

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Nearly a decade after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, residents of the Lower Ninth Ward were still struggling to get back on their feet. Businesses had been destroyed, and getting basic necessities like groceries required taking 3 busses. Veteran and father Burnell Cotlon decided someone needed to fix that—and that someone was him. He saved money earned working at fast-food restaurants and dollar stores to buy an incredibly dilapidated building on an empty block. After many a 15-hour day, he turned that building into the area’s first grocery store post-Katrina. And he’s committed to rebuilding his community one business at a time.