Alia Fleury grew up in Gentilly and moved to Metairie after Hurricane Katrina. When she's not studying chemistry, the Xavier University pre-med student is in the recording studio, writing lyrics for others and working on songs of her own.
"I feel like the high school system has gone down, seriously. I went to McMain [Secondary School], and when I go back to visit, all of the old faculty tell me how getting into the school is not as selective a process as it used to be. I think that's because a lot of the schools haven't re=opened after Katrina, so people don't have the variety of schools they used to have. It's just different. You're used to everything being it's own entity in a sense.
"I feel like the younger generation is appreciating culture more. Before Katrina, I never went to second lines and stuff. But now, I realize how it's an important way to bring the people of New Orleans closer together. It's more of a variety of people, even at Jazz Fest.
"Neighborhoods have also changed. I've noticed that since a lot of people haven't come back to the city after the storm, people don't really have the kind of relationships they used to have with their neighbors. My old neighborhood in Gentilly used to be a really good, diverse neighborhood. Now it seems deserted. You'll have a house that's vacant and only two people living on a single block. You don't see kids playing outside anymore either. There aren't as many parks and summer camps as they used to have when I was growing up." — As told to Nia Porter
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