In town hit by Hurricane Rita, many are priced out of recovery, feel overshadowed by Katrina

By Michael Kunzelman, AP
Thursday, September 23, 2010

5 years after Rita hit, some left out of recovery

CAMERON, La. — Five years and one day after Hurricane Rita nearly obliterated the Louisiana coastal town of Cameron, the First Baptist Church there will finally celebrate its grand reopening Saturday.

Such upbeat milestones have been rare in Cameron. Its population has shrunk from roughly 1,500 to 280 since Rita and later Hurricane Ike delivered punishing blows.

Rita was a Category 3 storm with winds in excess of 120 miles per hour and a 20-foot storm surge when it roared ashore near the Texas-Louisiana line on Sept. 24, 2005. It sparked a chaotic evacuation of Houston, and in its wake left more than $11 billion in damage.

Like the church, some coastal communities in Rita’s path have faced a slow recovery — and many people have been left behind.

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