Five Years Later, Roy Arrigo Still Marks Where Water Drowned His Home

Arrigo describes his neighborhood -- now nearly 60 percent repopulated -- in the weeks after the hurricane as a "scene out of an end of the world movie where there is no lighting, no electricity, no movement."

Nearly 500 people in Arrigo's area died, and 1,800 perished overall in New Orleans.

"Because of the flooding and the mud, there was no color," he said. "Even walking through here would be like a black and white photograph. Everything was a shade of gray."

He was first able to re-enter his home on Oct. 7, 2005, and by May of the following year, his home was completely rebuilt, everything but the wood floors reconstructed and paid for by Arrigo himself.

Arrigo recalls government workers still taking stock of the damage in his neighborhood being shocked that he'd been able to rebuild so quickly.

But rebuilding, and doing it quickly, was a necessity, he said.

"New Orleans is a very special city, my family has been here for hundreds of years," he said. "It's not just another city. It's got a soul of its own.

Hurricane Katrina Five Years Later: Looking Forward

"The people, the real New Orleanians, we are bound here," he said.

Arrigo said he'll participate in some of the anniversary events held around New Orleans on Sunday, the actual five-year anniversary of the storm.

But what's he's most looking forward to is the day after the anniversary -- when he says he hopes a sense of normalcy will return.

"On Monday, it's back to work," he said. "There is an element of looking forward to getting past all of this."

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