It is estimated that 150 to 200 thousand of the evacuees initially landed in Houston. Although predicting evacuation numbers and movement is not an exact science, it is known that most of the initial evacuees have returned to New Orleans. It is estimated by some that Houston is now home to anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 New Orleanians, and that these newest residents of Houston have become positive, viable and productive citizens of this city. Although it has now been 7 years since the Katrina disaster, its affect on the lives of former Orleanians is enduring.
According to the NOAH Convener and Chair, Dr. Mtangulizi Sanyika, “the Memorial Observance is intended to remember our losses and celebrate our resilience. Many of us loss loved ones, life moments and property during Katrina, yet like the phoenix, we have risen from the waters and began our lives again here in Houston and elsewhere. Thus, we remember our losses while we celebrate our resilience.”
NOAH Co-Chair Elois Teno who lost her husband, Rev. Joseph Teno Jr. during Katrina pointed out that “the country never forgets what happened in other disasters such as 9/11, and we should never be allowed to forget what happened on 8/29. “
NOAH Co-chair Lowell Taylor further added that “we must make sure that such a disaster never happens again; thus the Observance is one way of insuring that we focus on avoiding a similar human made and natural disaster.”
The program on the 29th will consist of music, spoken word poetry, dance, reflections, messages from New Orleans, testimonials about 2005, and perspectives on where we are now and where we go from here. The Memorial will conclude with New Orleans food (modestly priced Gumbo and Red Beans), music, dance and fun.
The NOAH is a one-year-old non-profit network of former New Orleanians and Louisianians organized to: 1.)promote networking and connections for fellowship and social enjoyment; 2.) provide mutual support of families and persons in their transition and adjustment to Houston; 3.) facilitate the sharing and maintaining of the culture of New Orleans and Louisiana; 4.) act as a forum to discuss issues of relevance to New Orleanians and 5) engage in advocacy for Orleanians on issues and problems when needed. NOAH also actively supports New Orleans focused businesses, causes, activities and other New Orleans organizations in the projects and work that they do.
The Memorial Observance is free and open to anyone from the public who is interested in attending. NOAH extends a special invitation to all New Orleanians, Louisianians and Houstonians who were affected by, or were a part of assisting during Katrina and Rita. For more information, call, Dr. Mtangulizi Sanyika at 713-376-3364, or e-mail: NOAH at firstname.lastname@example.org.