Residents Eager to Reclaim New Orleans East

Many residents of New Orleans, scattered in the exodus caused by Hurricane Katrina, are anxious to come back to see what has become of their homes. Now gathered in Baton Rouge, some residents of New Orleans East are planning to drive back in a caravan, even though officials have yet to approve their return.

Kelli Wilkerson sweeps water through her flood-damaged house. i

Kelli Wilkerson sweeps water through her flood-damaged house on Honeysuckle Lane in New Orleans East. Much of her home has been damaged by mold, seen on the wall behind her. Cheryl Gerber hide caption

itoggle caption Cheryl Gerber
Kelli Wilkerson sweeps water through her flood-damaged house.

Kelli Wilkerson sweeps water through her flood-damaged house on Honeysuckle Lane in New Orleans East. Much of her home has been damaged by mold, seen on the wall behind her.

Cheryl Gerber

Robert Siegel begins an occasional series of reports about how neighbors on Honeysuckle Lane, in New Orleans East, make the passage from exile to normal.

The area is across a canal from the rest of the city and is home to mostly African-American families, some of whom are middle-class, a few upper middle class, and others poor. So far, the city has not allowed people in this part of town to re-enter to even see the damage to their homes. And there's been no timetable for that.

Lisa Tebault, right, is comforted by fellow New Orleans East resident Delaunna Bartholomew. i

Lisa Tebault, right, is comforted by fellow New Orleans East resident Delaunna Bartholomew at a meeting Tuesday in Baton Rouge to discuss plans to re-enter their homes. Ben Bullins hide caption

itoggle caption Ben Bullins
Lisa Tebault, right, is comforted by fellow New Orleans East resident Delaunna Bartholomew.

Lisa Tebault, right, is comforted by fellow New Orleans East resident Delaunna Bartholomew at a meeting Tuesday in Baton Rouge to discuss plans to re-enter their homes.

Ben Bullins

Tuesday night at a meeting in a church in Baton Rouge, people from New Orleans East announced they would try to re-enter Friday — whether or not New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin approves it.

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