Five year anniversary: Hurricane Katrina makes landfall - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Five year anniversary: Hurricane Katrina makes landfall

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WKOW) -- Five years ago Thursday, Hurricane Katrina first made landfall, eventually causing a disaster in New Orleans.

Residents are now reflecting on their return home. Many evacuees came back to rebuild the lives they left behind back in 2005, but many people did not return.  Experts in New Orleans say thousands of homes and apartments are empty.

One resident said she didn't think twice about coming back home. "I am glad we left because I don't think I would have survived it," said Gertrude Leblanc, who lives in the ninth ward.  "I've lived here all my life and I had to come back."

There's still a long way to go in terms of recovery, but residents say there's a real sense of optimism in New Orleans that wasn't there two or three years ago.

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