NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Nine years ago today, a Category 3 hurricane named Katrina made landfall along the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi, overwhelming the levee system in New Orleans and wreaking havoc on the historic city and much of the South.
Though many parts of the city have long since returned to normal, many neighborhoods remain scarred -- others (mostly in the Lower 9th Ward) are still empty, likely never to be rebuilt and repopulated. Residents of the Lower 9th Ward -- an area known for its poverty and housing projects as much as it's known for jazz legends like Fats Domino -- gathered Friday to commemorate those who perished nine years ago.
Local hip-hop artists and musicians joined residents in remembering the tragedy near one of the main levee breaches along the Industrial Canal. A small march was held and speakers read out the names of those who lost their lives in the flooding, but participants promised an even louder commemoration next year.
"Me and my brother just got together and said we're going to throw a march where the community gets to speak," local hip-hop artist Sess 4-5 told the Times-Picayune. "I just appreciate them getting at us early to do one massive event for the 10th anniversary."
This year's hurricane season has been quiet so far, with the Atlantic only witnessing 70 percent of its average activity so far. As of yet, only three storms have been big enough to earn names. But that's not necessarily out of the ordinary, as water temperatures usually peak in early September. A couple big storms could still swell up in coming weeks.
Weather scientists are currently keeping a close eye on a couple massive waves that recently departed the coast of Africa and could grow into tropical storms as they hit the warmer waters of the Atlantic.
Still, the NOAA says current conditions mean its likely that the hurricane season ends without too big of a bang. Those conditions, which the agency says is suppressing the Atlantic hurricane season, include: "strong vertical wind shear, increased atmospheric stability, drier air, enhanced sinking motion, stronger trade winds, a southward shift of the African easterly jet, and a suppressed west African monsoon system."