For the residents of Honeysuckle Lane in New Orleans East, a few things have returned to normal: Street lamps are working, and some shops, a motel and one nearby gas station have reopened.
But the neighborhood still lacks telephone service. And even among the residents who, for the time being, have returned to their homes, uncertainty hangs over their future -- and that of their neighborhood.
Honeysuckle Lane is a few blocks south of the levee that keeps Lake Ponchartrain in its place. The area is relatively elevated, so the damage there was less severe than in many other parts of the city.
Sherman Copelin, a local politician who lives in New Orleans East, remains optimistic about the neighborhood's rebirth.
Copelin represents businesses and homeowner associations. He points out that big retailers such as Wal-Mart are signing contracts to build on the local mall.
He likens New Orleans to a war zone and says he is not upset about how much -- or how little -- progress has been made a year after the storm.
"Wherever there's devastation, that's what you see until it's cleaned up," Copelin says. "Does that mean you stop living, you stop breathing, you stop functioning? No."
But a neighborhood needs more than a Wal-Mart.
Before Katrina, Methodist Hospital near Honeysuckle Lane had more than 300 beds and more than 1,000 jobs. It's been closed since the storm, and there's no sign that it will be in business any time soon.
Fred Young used to run the hospital. He says it would take at least 12 to 18 months to reopen the hospital, and that's under the best of circumstances.
But most doctors can't afford to wait a year and half, says Dr. Donald Palmisano, a surgeon who practiced at Methodist for decades.
"They have current obligations, they have children in school, their home may have been destroyed, and so as they regroup and decide where should we buy a home, should we rebuild our home?" Palmisano says.
"The debate that goes on, and the rebuilding, and they get very frustrated and believe there's a lack of leadership," he says. "It's a sad statement, but we're losing many, many of our young doctors as well as the older doctors who were near retirement."
It's in this context that the more than 20 middle-class families who live on Honeysuckle Lane are reassessing and rebuilding their lives. Here are some of their stories.