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Lower Ninth Ward Residents See Their Homes

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Lower Ninth Ward Residents See Their Homes

Katrina & Beyond

Lower Ninth Ward Residents See Their Homes

Lower Ninth Ward Residents See Their Homes

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At the end of Caffin Avenue, Helen Walker's small, brick house is badly damaged, but still standing. Anthony Brooks, NPR hide caption

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Anthony Brooks, NPR

At the end of Caffin Avenue, Helen Walker's small, brick house is badly damaged, but still standing.

Anthony Brooks, NPR

Walker spent much of the day trying to salvage what she can, which is very little. Anthony Brooks, NPR hide caption

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Anthony Brooks, NPR

Walker spent much of the day trying to salvage what she can, which is very little.

Anthony Brooks, NPR

Residents of New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward were allowed to return to their homes Thursday for the first time since Hurricane Katrina hit. Residents were permitted to stay for the day and had to leave by sundown.

For Helen Walker, 63, it was an emotional day. "It's really devastating to come back and look at something that you have worked for half of your life — and it's all gone," she says.

Since Katrina struck, Helen Walker has been living with friends and family in Mississippi. She says she applied for a trailer home from FEMA more than a month ago, but has heard nothing since then.