Tanya Harris

This third-generation Ninth Ward resident started battling to save her neighborhood while it was still underwater. Now Harris is head organizer for ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) in New Orleans. She spoke to Sarah Childress.

It's essentially empty. A little less than 250 residents [out of 14,000] have come back. But we have utilities, and we're starting to see more trailers come in.

We have problems with houses that haven't been gutted and debris still on the street. There's a school that hasn't been gutted--we can't seem to get down public buildings that need to be demolished. It's still there, festering and drawing rats and snakes. But every time I pull into my driveway, I feel at home.

I'll feel complete. Right now I feel strange, and in a fog--disconnected from who I truly am. I've never been able to sit in the bathtub and take a bath in the house I'm renting. It's not just about going home. It's not about "I win." I did win--I am going back to the house I said I would go back to 15 months ago. But it's more about me feeling like I can take off my shoes and walk around the house barefoot.