Rising From the Ruins, Part 6

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Second Street Elementary School sits just a few blocks from Saint Louis Bay. The old white building constructed in 1928 was flooded out during Hurricane Katrina.

Despite classes now being held completely in portables, Principal Myron Labat feels things slowly coming back to normal.

"Kids are doing well from what I can tell, psychologically. They are so resilient. The teachers are doing well with all things considered," said Labat.

A group of fourth and fifth graders remember all to well what happened a year ago, each one sharing a different perspective on how things are now.

"It was really hard because I lost my entire home. We live right across from the beach, which made it harder. We also had a death in our family right after the storm," said 5th grader Merritt Beria.

Fourth grader Annabelle Huinh recalls how she felt.

"When the storm was hitting, I was so scared. We came back and it was all messed up. Now I don't feel as scared as I did before."

Fifth grader Alex Northington says having support has carried him through.

"Yeah, it's better to have friends going through times like these. They really understand because they went through it too."

In all, the students were hopeful.

"This year it is so much better, so many things have opened up and you don't see as much debris. The grass is actually growing now and the trees are getting greener, so it's much better," added Beria.

Labat says before Katrina the school’s enrollment was about 420 students. Now it is about 180, but he says the enrollment is steadily picking up. He also says contractors are now working to rebuild schools which were destroyed, but without pay.

"They've been very good about it. They have been very diligent on the job, but the school district, so far, has no money to pay them. It is coming very slow," added Labat.

In a few months the old school will be demolished. Meanwhile, students and teachers continue to rise from the ruins.


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