On the surface, New Orleans seems to have rebounded in the decade since Hurricane Katrina. The French Quarter is filled with tourists, construction cranes tower over the skyline, and city leaders boast of a revived economy. But the 'new' New Orleans is whiter and more expensive to live in.

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Horse-drawn carriages await passengers in front of Saint Louis Cathedral in the French QuarterMario Tama/Getty Images
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Women walk in the city's famous French Quarter, a magnet for touristsMario Tama/Getty Images
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People gather at a rooftop pool in the French QuarterMario Tama/Getty Images

has been uneven in the city that took the brunt of the storm in 2005. Many properties still bear physical scars from the hurricane, particularly in poorer African-American areas.

In the Lower Ninth Ward, just a 10-minute drive from the bustling jazz clubs and bars of New Orleans' historic downtown, abandoned houses sit on overgrown plots.

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Damaged houses and vacant plots are seen in the Lower Ninth Ward, one of the most heavily demaged areas of the city following a levee breach along the Industrial Canal during the aftermath of Hurricane KatrinaMario Tama/Getty
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Abandoned hurricane-damaged houses are seen in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, 10 years after KatrinaReuters/Getty/AFP
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Willi Carter, a local resident of the Lower Ninth Ward neighbourhood, walks his dog past a house that was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina hit the areaCarlos Barria/Reuters
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A child walks on a street in the Lower Ninth Ward neighbourhoodCarlos Barria/Reuters

Only 34% of residents of the mostly black Lower Ninth Ward have returned since Hurricane Katrina. The population of New Orleans is now about 385,000, representing about 80% of its pre-Katrina population, according to US Census figures. Before the hurricane, African-Americans comprised 67% of the population. By 2014, that had dropped to 60%.

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Two men paddle in high water in front of the Claiborne Bridge in the Lower Ninth Ward on 31 August 2005, and a school bus drops off a student in front of the bridge 10 years after Katrina

Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans on 29 August 2005, bringing with it a storm surge that overwhelmed flood protection systems protecting the city. Soon after, Hurricane Rita hit the region, further complicating recovery efforts.

Hurricane Katrina was ultimately responsible for 1,833 deaths and damage estimated at $151bn (£96bn), including $75 billion in the New Orleans area and along the Mississippi coast, according to the United States Census Bureau.

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A man paddles a canoe in the Lower Ninth Ward on 31 August 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, and a woman walks a dog in the same area 10 years after Katrina (Mario Tama/Getty)

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, New Orleans has been fortified by a new $14.5bn flood protection system. The Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System is designed to mitigate storm surge before it enters the city's borders.

Flood walls help block water incoming from Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain before it reaches drainage canals within the city. Levees are reinforced. Flood walls on those levees are stronger and embedded deeper. Massive pumping stations now help push water out of the city during major storms.

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The $1.1bn Lake Borgne Surge Barrier, nicknamed the Great Wall of New OrleansMario Tama/Getty
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A woman walks along the rebuilt Industrial Canal levee wall in the Lower Ninth WardMario Tama/Getty

Outside of the city, efforts have lagged to protect small towns and villages that are losing land every year to erosion, and as that land buffer disappears, New Orleans becomes more vulnerable. Scientists say Katrina was especially destructive because of the disappearance of all the buffer land, which helped keep a deadly hurricane that hit a century ago from flooding New Orleans.

In the past century, more than 1,880 square miles of Louisiana land has turned into open water. An average 17 square miles disappear annually, according to the US Geological Survey. Katrina itself caused about 190 square miles of land erosion in just days, the loss of an area bigger than New Orleans itself.

Barrier island chains, lighthouses, bridges, roads, schools and entire towns have been washed away. Since Katrina, Louisiana has established new agencies focused on coastal restoration, launched pilot projects to reclaim open water by pumping in mud and developed a 50-year, $50bn master plan to reverse land loss. None of it has worked so far.

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Sediment is dumped on wetland marshes to create new solid ground near New Orleans. Experts believe that the rebuilding of barrier islands and wetlands near New Orleans will help protect the city from rising sea levels during future stormsCarlos Barria/Reuters
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An aerial view shows wrecked shipping containers and other debris from Hurricane Katrina flooding in a wetland areaMario Tama/Getty
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A wrecked ship remains in a wetland area near New OrleansMario Tama/Getty
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A tattered American flag hangs on the dock of a bayou near the Isle de Jean Charles. The small island, inhabited by French-speaking people has lost most of its population due to coastal erosionLee Celano/AFP
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A man walks through water outside a burning house in the 7th ward on 6 September 2005, and the same street 10 years later
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Water floods a cemetery outside Saint Patrick's Church in Plaquemines Parish on 11 September 2005, and the same cemetery 10 years later (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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