Houston, the Grateful Dead sang, is too close to New Orleans. But for as many as a hundred thousand residents of New Orleans forced from their homes by the catastrophic flooding of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the distance — about 350 miles — was just about far enough. According to a report in the Guardian, many of the evacuees found reasons not to return to their former homes (see: "'New Orleans West': Houston is home for many evacuees 10 years after Katrina," by Tom Dart.
"Carl Lindahl, a University of Houston professor, said that two sections of the displaced population in particular tended not to return: parents of young children, who felt Houston was safer and had better schools, and the elderly, who believed New Orleans lacked social services," the paper reports.
Do they like it there? Well, yes and no. Photographer Dallas McNamara told the paper, "I think people are kind of surprised by how much they like Houston. They have a nicer home, they like the schools. They’re blown away by the amount of driving that they do but they tend to become pleasantly surprised." On the other hand, she noted, "I do miss the politeness that was just ingrained ... and there are more rules here. You can't just walk out of the bar with your cocktail or your beer."
Another resettled evacuee, Mtangulizi Sanyika, remarked: "The most negative aspect of Houston for most New Orleanians is the transportation. The other is the food. It’s a very different kind of taste. A Texas gumbo doesn’t taste quite the same.”