Katrina Memorial 3

Ron Favre dances next to the Industrial Canal levee breach in the Lower 9th Ward in remembrance of the 11th anniversary of the federal levee failures following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, La. Monday, Aug. 29, 2016.

New Orleans’ 9th Ward is marked by disaster and resiliency. The largest of the city’s wards, the 9th ward encompasses all of eastern New Orleans from Franklin, Almonaster and People’s avenues to the city’s eastern boundaries.

After Hurricane Katrina, the Lower 9th Ward was flattened by floodwaters from the Industrial Canal. Some sections have yet to be reestablished. But even before the 2005 hurricane, the area repeatedly faced hardship.

Much of the ward is low-lying, swampy, and before pumps were introduced to the city, flooded easily. But because the land was cheap, African Americans and immigrants from Ireland, Germany and Italy moved there as early as the 1800s. The area was devastated by a hurricane in 1915 and Hurricane Betsy in 1965 before Hurricane Katrina. In the 1920s, the area was split in half by the Industrial Canal. The 9th Ward was home to the Florida and Desire housing projects and the Agriculture Street Landfill, later a Superfund site

Still, the population grew.

In about 1880, the Holy Cross neighborhood near the Mississippi River and the St. Bernard Parish line began being developed. Jackson Barracks was established in the ward to house army troops and Holy Cross boys' school was in the neighborhood for 140 years.

Some residents had truck farms that supplied fresh produce to New Orleans. The area was home to Lincoln Beach, an amusement park for African-Americans, and to fish camps in the area known as Little Woods.

The area was also home to some of the city’s most famous celebrities including Fats Domino, Kermit Ruffins and Marshall Faulk.