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From the LA Times:

This weekend the nation will observe the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Survivors are expected to gather at the Super Dome, where so many took refuge from the storm. President Obama is set to visit New Orleans on Sunday. The more than 1,800 dead will be remembered.

There are plenty of signs that the city is bouncing back from the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, even in parts of the city devastated by the flood, such as the Lower 9th Ward. But in the middle of vibrant New Orleans neighborhoods, such as Lakeview, there still are time-warped pockets of an unshakeable past. Scott McDougal still lives in a FEMA trailer hooked up to his mother’s home on Canal Boulevard.

His mother is living upstairs while rebuilding work slowly proceeds on the flooded downstairs.

The damaged house is for sale, though if someone buys it, McDougal isn’t sure where they will go. He has been only slowly recovering his health since being stricken by a devastating parasite infection that caused his lungs to bleed. He got it wading through the filthy waters that flooded the neighborhood after the storm.

“I don’t think everybody’s life is back to normal,” he said, speaking quietly on the front porch, his voice halting with uncertainty. “It takes time. It takes a good while, you know what I mean? A lot of people still don’t realize how hard it hit. I don’t think you ever recover from something like this. People don’t realize that when you’re that close to dying — I mean, I just didn’t think I was going to make it, personally.”

“I can imagine,” a reporter says, trying to express sympathy.

“No,” he says firmly, the first time he has spoken assertively in a long conversation. “I don’t think you can imagine. I don’t think anybody can, really.”

— Kim Murphy, from New Orleans

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