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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  August 29, 2015 12:30am-1:01am EDT

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stop, strike a conversation and quietly start knitting. nicholas hawk, al jazeera, senegal. >> quick reminder, you can keep up with all the news on our website, the address,, that's >> we see development in other areas of the city that are definitely not happening out there. >> discrimination in the housing market. >> we're trying to push forward into a more positive future. >> reply community. >> new orleans as everybody knows it. even in vietnam? >> sweet home. >> when you look back there and think it's been ten years how do you feel about it? >> not good.
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>> thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. down here in the place where the river meets the sea, there's a strong spirit even katrina couldn't wash away. ten years after many of us, then young journalists, stood in the floodwaters and wondered whether this one of america's favorite cities would ever be the same. there's an official focus on resilience. on the lights that are back. the fun of the french quarter. the sense of community that has returned. still, look closer. there are still fragile fractures in many places in the city. our coverage begins with special correspondent soledad o'brien on what new orleans found exposed by katrina after the storm. >> reporter: in new orleans iconic jackson square, crowds of
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tourists gather. to take in the sights and sounds of the big easy. judging from the scene here, in the heart of the city, there seems to be no doubt, new orleans is back. but go just 20 minutes out of the city center and it's a different picture altogether. how typical is this? how many homes are like this in this neighborhood? >> on this one street i have actually seen at least four other ones. >> dawn hebert lives in new orleans east. after hurricane katrina, most of new orleans east was under water. >> it smells like this, it is the smell we all smelled right after the hurricane when we came back to our home. >> was your home like this?
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>> yes it was. >> you had to take it apart? >> had to scrape the mud out and then scrape it apart. >> hebert came back to survey the damage. >> hi six feet of water. the whole first floor was devastated. >> she received flood insurance money for the damage to her house and was able to rebuild. but hebertebert said the overall rebuilding has been painfully slow. >> we see development in other parts of the city that is definitely not happening here. >> before the hurricane, the east had a population of 90,000. the east became where many middle class african americans chose to live. >> i love the park, we had shopping area places to go out to eat entertainment, you know it was a nice neighborly
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neighborhood. >> today about 80% of residents have returned, but to their frustration, many businesses have not. >> this was our movie theater, the only one in norchls east. >> never reopened? >> never reopened. >> this is obviously a wreck. >> it was a nice place for the young people the come to, to come to the movies. it gave them something to do. so now since it does not exist, there are very few things as far as entertainment for the youth to do in new orleans. >> is this a deterrent for someone who might want to move their business out here? >> obviously. if one should ride along the interstate which this borders, it's definitely a deterrent. yes. because there's very few construction, nothing new has popped up except for lowe's and cvs. so why should a business come here when this neglect has been
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allowed to go on for so long? >> reporter: the neglect can be seen across new orleans east, abandoned dilapidated homes. almost a decade after katrina it's a stunning sight. but some neighborhoods have flourished like lakeview adjacent to new orleans east it took the brunt of a major levee break during the storm. >> this is the site of the main break that affected our neighborhood which of the canals is the worst of all the breaks the city experienced. >> how big was the break? >> 300 feet. >> allen petrie is a lifelong resident. >> they're rebuilding. >> the neighborhood has come back very strong. >> lakeview was one of the few neighborhoods in the city that remained predominantly white after new orleans became a majority black city in the 1980s.
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post-katrina it has some of the highest property values. >> there was flog left. >> petrie took us on a tour of his neighborhood. there's a vibrant restaurant row and lots of green space. >> but as you can see we've got a variety of restaurants, neighborhood style restaurants. >> ten year after katrina, lakeview is a bright spot in the tail of recovery. >> really nice garden. >> and petrie says the area is not just back, it's better than before. >> the churches are full. the schools have waiting list so we are at critical mass. >> after the storm residents were close knit well connected and most importantly many had resources to rebuild on their own. >> it's basically each individual homeowner is responsible for themselves. >> kevin is a sociology professor at tulane university
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who has been tracking redevelopment in new orleans. >> the city as well as other layers of government have said, people if they want to dom back to their neighborhoods they can come back but neighborhoods have to prove their viability. >> in the action of a government initiated rebuilding plan residents were on their own. the outcome: today's uneven recovery says got gotham. >> more affluent neighborhoods tended to be rebuilt faster than lower class neighborhoods. there were more resources that tended to go into more affluent neighborhoods. >> couldn't they reasonably argue we had our act together, yes we had more resources and those resources over the years have allowed us to be more organized, we've had a good homeowners association. >> yes and all that's very important and significant, it certainly is a driver of
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post-disaster recovery and rebuilding but we also have to look at there were programs that actually seeded and facilitated public access to government officials. >> he's are referring to the road home program, a federal initiative meant to provide money to help people rebuild. >> unfortunately, the road home system continued to build on the system of entrenched and systemic racism and segregation. >> kashana hill heads up the center. >> we found that white homeowners and black homeowners had a very large gap on the funds available to them based on the prestorm value of their homes. >> hill's organization launched a lawsuit against the federal government claiming the road home program was detrimentary.
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in 2012 it ruled it likely was. >> it's important to see how the history of segregation led to these lower home values and led to these neighborhoods with depressed home values. so policies like red-lining where banks would refuse to lend money to purchase a home in an integrated neighborhood. >> while the road home lawsuit resulted in more funds being paid out to some, hebert says her community is still suffering. >> it's not quite falling down but it's not really a good home. >> it's really damaging. i personally would not want to live next othis. it's because, the city has been sitting here for ten years with neglect. >> there's been progress here in the last couple of years. >> basically i asked the other councilpeople -- >> 32 of the east homeowners associations are now represented
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by one main group. >> and there's been more investment. a walmart opened last year to much fanfare. almost ten years after the floods, the hospital has reopened its doors. >> and i will say it's a gorgeous facility, top-notch. but it does not -- it did not come back as a hospital that it was before the hurricane. >> what was it before the hurricane. >> there were a limited number of beds, full emergency room which it isn't now. if you are having a heart attack or having a baby it's suggested that you drive into the city. >> one major sore point for residents here is lake forest mall, built in the 1970s and once, one of the largest shopping centers in louisiana, i.t. never returned. >> the dillard's was on this end, the
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sears, the peneys. penneys. >> they don't have any interest in bringing it back. what other reason could there be. we have over 80,000 people living out here. the median income is over 45,000. there's no reason why a business would not come out here and make money so yes, i do believe it's a racial issue and that our city leaders are not working hard enough to get them out here. >> for its part, the city says they have invested millions of dollars in new orleans east highlighting the hospital, a new library and orecently restored park among other -- and a recently restored park among other things. >> when you look back and thinkists been ten years, how do you feel about its? >> not good because honestly if i could move today i would. >> ten years after katrina, new orleans recovery is a tale of two cities. the fault license exposed by the storm still there and still
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defining the city's future. soledad o'brien, new orleans. >> a sharp divide and the truth in black and white. next, you can't go home again. unless, of course, your home can provide for your most basic needs. a community that set a high bar and the family that responded.
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>> on al jazeera america, >>'s a vital part of who we are... >>they had some dynamic fire behavior... >> and what we do... don't try this at home! >> tech know, where technology meets humanity... only on al jazeera america >> what does it take to bring a community home?
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a place to live, of course, an opportunity to work. to be able to rebuild, and one very basic need: food. after the storm, after so many desperate days and nights without enough food and water, one neighborhood knew it had to draw a line in the sand and it sent a warning to the business that had been a beacon for its entire community. we won't come home unless you do. >> my name is brett boudreau, it's been our family's business, we've been in business since 1938. one of the few food stores in the area. community market owned and operated by the city, it grew to be everything to the people in the community, doctor's office, dentist office, pharmacy still. katrina hit, we were in tennessee and saw images of the
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store across the news, water, people outside, it looked like we were in a war, you know? all i can remember black suvs just riding around and helicopters and it was dark. it was scary. >> whether we came back, finally came back to see how the store was it was in disarray. everything was gone. it was a mess. couldn't hardly breathe in here that's how bad it was. circle food store meant a lot to a lot of people. they kept pushing to have the store reopen. they didn't have a supermarket in the area, they didn't have any cars, elderly people, people that needed the store to be open. >> and reply dad came back as soon as they opened the city. he thought as soon as possible, i'm cleaning it out, i'm reopening the store. maybe a year. well, a year turns to two, to four, to eight. and then, eight and a half years
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later, you know, that's how long it took us to reopen. [cheering and applause] >> the day we reopened, it was january 17th, 2014, that was amazing, you know, to have people in here to be able to offer the services again to the people, because there was no other grocery store after katrina. my husband's phone would just ring all through night all through day. this was just so important, they used to tell him, we want you back we need you back we don't want the big box stores, we want the circle food store back. we can give them a nice grocery store we can give themes from produce, fret cuss meat. >> this store is not just about selling groceries. t's a big deal. we're one of the only black owned grocery stores in the
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nation. i think there's six of us. i do think of us as a symbol kind of for the change the city is going through. some of it is great and some of it is not so great. we're driving to push forward into a more positive future and doing whatever part we can do. >> circle food store back in business feeding body and soul. in a moment, they were refugees desperate to save themselves and their families. the surprising community that rebuilt itself in new orleans, twice.
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>> this was the worst civil engineering disaster in the history of the united states.
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>> new orleans hassalities been filled with great survivor stories, a home of redemption and in some cases resurrection. in a little pocket of the city far from the glow of the french quarter a lesser known survival story, a community that rebuilt itself in the community not just once but twice. refugees with a surprising determination to call new orleans home. who uprooted by tragedy and conflict in their native land decades ago, felt a sheer need to rebuild here after the storm. the rains brought trouble that time, too. this is your family? >> yes. >> can you tell me who's who?
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>> kim knows the downpour that came and the storm that destroyed her family. an uncle who had worked for the americans. another gunned down by the vc. a brother her own father. >> all got killed. >> only she was able to leave vietnam during the 1975 fall of saigon. and live to tell her family's story . >> did you think you would ever see vietnam again? >> translator: it's been 40 years and i have not returned. because of the fight of the viet kong. i do not want to go back. >> you knew that day you would not come back? >> no. i don't want remember. >> translator: i don't want to remember anymore . people around me were running, and crying.
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people starved and died. >> but faith guided kim neung to takneung nguyento take her place on a new vietnamese community on the other side of the world. sunday services are standing room only at mary queen of vietnam parish in new orleans east. >> it is center of the community. >> a few minutes from the docks, vietnamese refugees were first drawn to put down roots here 40 years ago, just a few weeks after the fall of saigon. a local parish welcomed 100 families, 1,000 quickly followed. >> a group came here.
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>> the bishop nowrnlgt the encoo come. >> he encouraged them to come. >> more vietnamese than any other community outside of vietnam. >> in california, atlanta, somewhere like that they do have big community but they're not live close together like here. >> concentrated. >> concentrated. that exactly. everybody hear about this american vietnam, they know right away this is community. >> versailles, new orleans east. >> versailles, new orleans east. >> everybody knows it? >> everybody knows it. >> even in vietnam? >> even in vietnam. >> their pastor drew them to build the new vietnam. but to feel more like at home. >> what is this? basil? >> a climate that could support the kind of vegetables they did in vietnam. working on the water, fishing
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and shrimping like they had done before. on every corner signs of the old days and the old ways. it seems like you rebuilt vietnam. >> yeah, it -- i think it's exactly like vietnam, where i say right now is where i walk out i see vietnamese and i go to church with the vietnamese. i go to buy groceries like the food that i wanted, vietnam. so it really feel like vietnam. >> one of the most popular stalls at the saturday open air market is toli's fresh tofu. silky strands and ginger syrup sell out quickly. lee's family was among hundreds of thousands of boat people desperate to escape after the communists took control. >> so you snuck away on boats.
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what was that like? >> oh my god it horrible. it horrible. nobody help or anything. whoever is strong they climb up to the boat. whoever weak or whatever, they just children, woman, just drop on the ocean and die. i was sick and they said if you don't get well and you die we have no choice but to drop you off the boat. >> what sustained her and so many others was the hope of reaching safety, freedom the america her father had described. >> i say what is this american? he say they are like heaven. so that's all i can -- i can understand, oh so we go to heaven. in vietnam, the only chicken that we have is we have to kill them. >> boy, you know it's not like the grocery store. >> the community grew for three decades until katrina.
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new orleans east bumps up against the ninth ward, the city's city's hardest hit area when the hurricane hit. it was an eerieie echo. >> my second son he called me said mom this is the last call you will be getting from me. if you don't hear from me again that means i'm dead. the boats came to rescue people who stayed behind. >> once again they became refugees surrounded by chaos. >> translator: it reminded me of the scene in 1975, because everyone was running away at the time. i saw the soldiers arresting looters, and thieves. even with all that, it's so much
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better than vietnam. >> nowrnls east becamnew orleane a home worth fighting for. the bp gulf oil spill five years ago, forced some to abandon versailles for work in other parts of the country. still from this new soil grows a reminder that even for a community that twice lost so much every harvest brings a second chance. >> it's my community. they have to say that that's their home. home and sweet home. >> a home sweet home. now raising a new generation in this american vietnam. she knows that because of jobs or education, her boys might have to leave the city at least for a time but she believes that
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they, like she, will always return. that's "america tonight." please join us for more coverage from new orleans on saturday. we'll meet new orleanians in exile. who say they can't afford to is come back. please visit our facebook or twitter page and please come back, we'll have more of "america tonight," tomorrow. >> in the wake of the baltimore riots. everyday citizens are fighting to take their neighborhoods back. >> it's a movement to make a difference. >> educating. >> i feel safer in here. >> the library means something to the people here. >> healing. >> we really have to talk about how can we save lives. >> restoring. >> we given' a family a chance because some of the houses are bein' rebuilt. >> can they rescue their city?
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>> a court in egypt is expected to give its verdict on three al jazeera journalists. hello, we are in doha. also ahead. >> i appeal to all governments to [indiscernible] migration. >> more must be done to help migrants. europe planyemen plans to