NEW ORELANS • Barstow resident Breanna Rosas said her recent trip to New Orleans reminded her that the city battered by Hurricane Katrina four years ago is still heading down a long road to recovery.
"Everyone kind of forgot what happened to New Orleans," said the 15-year-old. "It's still really devastating and damaged there."
Rosas was part of a group of five Barstow teens and four adults from Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Church that met with 38,000 people from across the United States who converged at New Orleans during the hurricane's fourth anniversary, according to Birgit Webster, church youth director.
While various groups worked around the city for five days doing everything from cleaning up parks to repairing schools that hadn't been opened since the hurricane hit, Webster's group worked on restoring a transitional house for abused or neglected teenage girls.
Ten of the 13 houses on the ranch were wiped out during Hurricane Katrina, Rosas said. So the teens rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty — painting the outsides of the homes, mowing the grass and pulling weeds.
Cristina Maher, 17, said she enjoyed meeting new people and attending nightly events at the Superdome where they listened to guest speakers and worship music.
Maher had visited New Orleans in the past — her grandmother and other relatives live in Baton Rouge — so she's seen how the city has changed.
"There was still a lot of work to be done," said Maher, "but it's getting better than what it was after the hurricane."
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