By Mark Guarino
NEW ORLEANS ADVOCATE
The roots of Melanie Deffendall’s family go deep in New Orleans. Her ancestors arrived in the city in 1721 and generations since have stayed put. Before Katrina hit and the levees broke, she was enjoying a life she established in Gentilly Woods: gardening, enjoying her home, and teaching at nearby Delgado Community College. On May 5, 2006, her son Benjamin interviewed her about her past, the impact of the storm and what lay ahead. What follows is an edited transcript of that conversation.