Vigils, Prayer Mark Katrina Anniversary

New Orleans residents remember the day the city's levees broke a year ago

To mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans residents gathered at vigils to remember the dead and celebrate life.

Residents planned to ring bells to mark the moment one of the city’s flood walls breached, flooding the northern parts of the city, the Associated Press reports. Wreathes will be laid on the sites of each levee break, dotting the city with bouquets.

A jazz funeral was to wind through downtown streets, according to the AP, beginning with a somber dirge and ending with a song of joy.

At the city’s convention center, where evacuees gathered seeking food, medical care and buses to evacuate them, President Bush was expected to join an ecumenical prayer service.

Others said they would mark the occasion privately. “I’m going to pray to the good Lord that he put his arms around the levees,” said Doretha Kitchens, 58, who lost her home to a 10-ft. wave. Mayor Ray Nagin said on Tuesday’s Today show, “We’ve changed the strategy of how we deal with evacuation.” Neighborhood awareness is in effect, he said, and the entire city will not be emptied should any storm stronger than category three approach the city.

He also said “we’re a little ahead of schedule as far as re-population is concerned.”

Nearly 1,600 people died in Louisiana, and 49 bodies remain unidentified in the city morgue.

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