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New Orleans After Katrina: On The Ground

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, the worst U.S. hurricane in a century, slammed into New Orleans, as well as other parts of Louisiana and the state of Mississippi.

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Two years later, after billions of dollars of federal aid and thousands of hours of work, neighborhoods in New Orleans and its environs are still struggling with the devastation

CNBC's Scott Cohn covered the storm and its aftermath two years ago and has been following reconstruction efforts closely since then. Here's a sampling of our Cohn's coverage this week marking the two-year anniversary.

Along The 17th Street Canal

You can tell by the empty lots that a lot of debris has been cleared in this neighborhood, which was flooded when the canal wall was breached. Neighborhood residents are still living in trailers as others rebuild. Some are choosing to elevate their homes, others are not.

The Army Corps. of Engineers is testing a new system involving a flood gate nearby, which is meant to protect the area if and when future storms hit.

Taking A Chance

New Orleans is a city with a shortage of housing and schools and a plethora of crime, which may not make it a prime destination for developers.

Some, however, are ready to take a chance on the city. For one, Donald Trump has promised to build a $400 million, 70-story condo and hotel complex downtown.

Miami developer R. Donahue Peebles also wants to build luxury condos and hotels. "With the right approach, the right incentives, we can make a project do very well here," says Peebles.

A Day In The Life

Tens of thousands of people fled New Orleans because of the 2005 hurricanes, but as Cohn reports many of those who stayed are still coping with the aftermath.

The Royal family is a good example. For most of the past two years, Kenneth Royal has been working a night shift so he could rebuild the family home during the day. His wife, Karran, has her own daily grind, including her efforts to get a new high school built. No school, no school bus either. Currently, she has to drive their son, Kendrick, back and forth to school.

Life could be easier, to say the least., but there are ample reminders -- like the FEMA trailers on her street -- that it could a lot harder.

Attacking A Giant Mess

Two years later, the blame game between state and federal authorities continues on, but progress has been made. The sheer size of the problem is one reason why it seems little has been done.

Among residents, there's a sense of accomplishment, but despite improvements to the levee system, there's still concern that the flood control system is safe and will hold should another storm hit.

On the encouraging side, the spirit of New Orleans is alive and well. More people have returned than thought, partly because they identify with the city and its culture.