Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans

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Hurricane Katrina

2005 Atlantic hurricane season

The effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans was catastrophic. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history. By August 30, 2005, one day after the Category 4 storm made landfall, 75 percent of the city of New Orleans was flooded, with some parts of the city under 20 feet (6 m) of water. The flood was caused by several levee breaches due to a combination of a powerful storm surge, strong winds and excess water in the bodies of water surrounding the city. The event continues to have major implications for a large segment of the population as well as for the economy of and politics in the entire United States.


Below sea level

New Orleans sits between (and below) the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain.
New Orleans sits between (and below) the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain.

New Orleans, much of which sits below sea level, is surrounded by the Mississippi River to the south, Lake Pontchartrain to the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the east. New Orleans and the surrounding communities were above sea level when the communities were built. Construction of the levees between New Orleans, the River, and the Lake began in 1879. The earthen barriers were originally erected to prevent damage caused by seasonal flooding and to allow the city to expand beyond the natural levees on which it had been initially constructed.

The area began to sink after the current levee system was erected in the 1940s and 1950s and accelerated when the shipping canal flood walls were completed in the mid 1960s. Unfortunately, the levees interfered with the normal process of the River depositing sediment and building up the land of the delta marshlands during the periodic floods. Interrupting a process that created the land of the Mississippi Delta over the course of thousands of years caused the land to dry out. The swampy lands of Southern Louisiana shrank like a sponge, the land began to sink and entire barrier islands disappeared as the land of the vast delta slowly settled.

Shea Penland, a geologist at the University of New Orleans and contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the levees, attributes one third of the land subsidence to the large number of canals through the delta. Barge traffic and tides erode the earth around the edge of the canals, and salty Gulf water seeps in along them, slowly salinating the ground and killing the vegetation that helps hold the land together. [1]

Other factors contributing to the subsidence of the land of southern Louisiana are the following:

  • natural ground subsidence from sediment settling, compaction and dewatering,
  • the leveeing of the Mississippi River,
  • the pumping of ground water from under the city,
  • the failure to address the environmental impact of development on the Mississippi Delta,
  • environmental damage caused by oil and gas production, and
  • the failure to maintain or upgrade the levee and flood wall system despite many studies that warned of impending disaster. [2]

The low lying land has became much more vulnerable as a result of the destruction of cypress trees and other vegetation at the mouth of the Mississippi River where it meets the Gulf of Mexico. This has led to the erosion and removal of the natural storm protection system that historically helped weaken storms before they struck heavily populated inland areas.


Main article: Predictions of hurricane risk for New Orleans

In spite of repeated warnings, no large-scale corrective measures had been implemented when Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

"The design of the original levees, which dates to the 1960s, was based on rudimentary storm modeling that, it is now realized, might underestimate the threat of a potential hurricane. Even if the modeling was adequate, however, the levees were designed to withstand only forces associated with a fast-moving hurricane that, according to the National Weather Service’s Saffir-Simpson scale, would be placed in category 3. If a lingering category 3 storm — or a stronger storm, say, category 4 or 5 — were to hit the city, much of New Orleans could find itself under more than 20 ft (6 m) of water."

J.J. Westerink, The Creeping Storm, Civil Engineering Magazine, June 2003.

The eye of Hurricane Katrina was forecast to pass to the east of New Orleans. In that event, the wind would back into the north as the storm passed, forcing large volumes of water from Lake Pontchartrain against the levees and possibly into the City. It was also forecast that the storm surge in Lake Pontchartrain would reach 14 to 18 feet (4 to 5 m), with waves reaching seven feet (2 m) above the storm surge [3].

Elevation map of New Orleans.  Cool shades are below the level of Lake Pontchartrain.
Elevation map of New Orleans. Cool shades are below the level of Lake Pontchartrain.

On August 28, at 10 a.m. CDT, the National Weather Service (NWS) field office in New Orleans issued a bulletin predicting catastrophic damage to New Orleans. Anticipated effects included, at the very least, the partial destruction of half of the well-constructed houses in the city, severe damage to most industrial buildings rendering them inoperable, the "total destruction" of all wood-framed low-rise apartment buildings, all windows blowing out in high-rise office buildings, and the creation of a huge debris field of trees, telephone poles, cars, and collapsed buildings. Lack of clean water was predicted to "make human suffering incredible by modern standards".

Further predictions were that the standing water caused by huge storm surges would render most of New Orleans uninhabitable for weeks and that the destruction of oil and petrochemical refineries in the surrounding area would spill waste into the flooding. The resulting mess would coat every surface, converting the city into a toxic marsh until water could be drained. Some experts said that it could take six months or longer to pump all the water out of the city. Even after the area had been drained, and afterward all buildings would need to undergo inspection to determine structural soundness, as all buildings in the city would likely be at least partly submerged [4]. In a cruel twist of fate, many of the predictions from a FEMA simulated hurricane response exercise held in 2004. National Geographic published FEMA's predictions for the city and the country following such a disaster in October 2004 [5][6] (see Hurricane Pam, [7]) correctly predicted many of the calamities that actually occurred with Katrina [8].)

Evacuation order and refuges of last resort

The Organization of Hurricane Evacuation structured the Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Evacuation and Sheltering Plan of January 2000. The plan named the responsibilities, the routes, transport and the shelters: The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses [...] may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating. http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/plans/EOPSupplement1a.pdf

Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, LA
Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, LA

In anticipation of destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, Max Mayfield, the director of the National Hurricane Center, called New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on the night of August 27 to express his extreme concern over hurricane Katrina, and then had a video call with President Bush at his farm in Crawford Texas about the severity of the storm on the 28th. [9]. Nagin first called for a voluntary evacuation of the city on August 27 at 5 PM and subsequently ordered a citywide mandatory evacuation on August 28 at 9:30 AM, the first such order in the city's history. Many neighboring areas and parishes also called for evacuations. "By mid-afternoon, officials in Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, Lafourche, Terrebonne and Jefferson parishes had called for voluntary or mandatory evacuations." [10] In a live news conference, Mayor Nagin predicted that "the storm surge most likely will topple our levee system," and warned that oil production in the Gulf of Mexico would be shut down. President George W. Bush made a televised appeal for residents to heed the evacuation orders, warning, "We cannot stress enough the danger this hurricane poses to Gulf Coast communities." [11]

Pre-disaster scenarios estimated that 100,000 or more residents would not have the transportation means to escape the city. In the interest of protecting these residents, a "refuge of last resort" had been designated in advance - the Superdome. Beginning at noon on August 28th and running for several hours, some City buses were redeployed to shuttle local residents to the refuges. Several hundred school buses were not deployed due to the City being unable to find drivers. By the time Hurricane Katrina came ashore early the next morning, the Superdome was housing over 9,000 residents along with 550 National Guard troops. The elevation of the Superdome is about three feet (1 m) above sea level, and the forecasted storm surge was predicted to cause flooding on that site. The Superdome had been used as a shelter in the past, such as during 1998's Hurricane Georges, and because it was estimated to be able to withstand winds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h) and water levels of 35 feet (10 m), it was considered one of the best options available at the time. The mayor told those coming to the Superdome to bring blankets and enough food for several days, warning that it would be a very uncomfortable place. [12]

The entire Southern Louisiana region was declared a disaster area before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, and FEMA prepositioned 18 disaster medical teams, medical supplies and equipment, urban search and rescue teams along with millions of MREs (Meals, ready-to-eat), liters of water, tarpaulins, and truckloads of ice.


Shortly before midnight on August 28, local television stations WAPT and WWL-TV reported the first deaths in Louisiana related to Katrina: three nursing home patients who died, probably of dehydration, during an evacuation to Baton Rouge.

On Monday August 29, area affiliates of local television station WDSU reported New Orleans was experiencing widespread flooding, was without power, and that there were several instances of catastrophic damage in residential as well as business areas. All metropolitan New Orleans television news services had evacuated their studios in the city and were broadcasting from remote locations. As of 2 p.m., the east side of New Orleans was under 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m) of water. Entire neighborhoods on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain were flooded.

At 11 p.m. on August 29, Mayor Ray Nagin conducted an interview with WWL discussing the damage to New Orleans. He described the loss of life as "significant" with reports of bodies floating on the water throughout the city, though primarily in the eastern portions. There was no clean water or electricity in the city, and some hotels and hospitals reported diesel fuel shortages. The estimate of restoration of power was at least four to six weeks for the city. A breach in the levee at the 17th Street Canal was causing further trouble; the pumps designed to pump water out of the city redirected into Lake Pontchartrain, which then circulated back through the breach. The I-10 pumps overheated, causing valve damage, also negating their effectiveness during the flooding. A representative from St. Bernard Parish reported "total devastation" with 40,000 homes flooded. The National Guard began setting up temporary morgues in select locations. He also said houses have been picked up and moved. In summary, he described the devastation as a "nightmare".

The Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin told ABC's "Good Morning America" that residents of New Orleans should not expect to return to their homes for "twelve to sixteen weeks". However, on 27 September, Nagin invited in the first residents to New Orleans--much less time that his original estimate of "twelve to sixteen weeks". Nagin was asked by reporters on August 31 how many might have died in the hurricane. He said "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands" in the city.[13] Allen Breed of the Associated Press reports that New Orleans "descended into anarchy Thursday, as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out and storm survivors battled for seats on the buses that would carry them away from the chaos. The tired and hungry seethed, saying they had been forsaken." The fears of Mayor Nagin and the media that several thousands died have yet to be fulfilled, although the Times Picayune recently reported that 5000 missing New Orleans are still unaccounted for . [14][15][16]

Levee breaches

See also the article on Civil engineering and infrastructure repair in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina which gives a detailed timeline of the failures and subequent repair actions, and the article on Levee and flood wall failure in New Orleans (following hurricane Katrina) which describes the progress of the investigations into the causes of the failures

Flooded I-10 interchage and surrounding area of northwest New Orleans and Metairie, Louisiana
Flooded I-10 interchage and surrounding area of northwest New Orleans and Metairie, Louisiana

As of mid-day Monday, August 29, the eye of Hurricane Katrina had swept northeast and spared New Orleans the brunt of the storm. The City seemed to have escaped most of the catastrophic wind damage and heavy rain than what was predicted as a possibility.

However, at 8:14 AM the National Weather Service reported [17][18] that a levee broke on the Industrial Canal, a 5.5 mile (9 km) waterway that connects the Mississippi River to the Intracoastal Waterway, near the St. Bernard-Orleans Parish line (Tennessee St.) and 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 m) of flooding was possible. This area, also known as the 9th Ward, reported 3 pump failures.

On August 29, New Orleans City Hall held a press conference at 2 PM, and announced that the 17th Street Canal levee had been compromised. [19]. On August 30 at 1:30 a.m. CDT, CNN (via the Vice President of Tulane University Medical Center) reported that a wall on the 17th Street Canal, which normally drains into Lake Pontchartrain had suffered a two city-block wide breach and was flooding their building.

John Hall, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, initially said that the floodwall on top of the 17th Street Canal Levee had been overtopped by the storm surge. The water cascading over the wall eventually undermined the wall base, causing it to collapse outwards. Repairs were complicated by the presence of the low Hammond Highway bridge and a hurricane barrier on the Lake Pontchartrain side of the breach, which impeded access by barges and heavy equipment. Further investigation has shown that the floodwall failed as a result of shifting soil surrounding the base of the floodwalls. [20] Engineers studying the failures at the floodwalls have all but ruled out overtopping as a cause of flooding in several areas. "An analysis at the two canal locations has virtually ruled out overtopping as the cause of the failures, the engineers said. Overtopping occurs when rising waters spill over the top of a floodwall. The analysis shows that the water levels in both the London Avenue and 17th Street canals missed the top of the floodwalls by at least two feet, Nicholson said." The team of experts investigating these events include experts from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Science Foundation.

The 17th Street Canal Levee is on the border of Metairie and New Orleans proper. When the levees and floodwalls failed they flooded most of the city under as much as 25 feet (8 m) of water. These breaches allowed the water of Lake Pontchartrain, which at the time was some six feet (2 m) above sea level, to flow downward into northern New Orleans proper, which lies between two and ten feet (1 to 3 m) below sea level. A 200-foot breach in the 17th Street Canal levee was confirmed by New Orleans Fire Department officials to CNN at 3:16 a.m. CDT on August 30 [21].

At 6:30 p.m. WWL-TV announced that the effort to sandbag (ongoing since 2 p.m.) the breach in 17th St. canal levee at the Hammond Highway bridge had failed, and it was expected that the pumping station at that location would fail.

At 10 p.m. CDT on August 30, Mayor Ray Nagin reported on WDSU that the planned sandbagging of the 17th Street Levee breach may have failed because National Guard Blackhawk helicopters that were expected at the breach were diverted to save some people in a church, and also reported that another 9 feet (3 m) of water was expected to fill the entire City. This means that even the French Quarter would flood within about 12 hours, up to the level of Lake Pontchartrain, three feet (1 m) above sea level. The failure to sandbag would add at least an additional four weeks to drain the city. He estimated that it would take about four months before the City would be habitable.

NASA satellite imagery released on August 30 showed that Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas had substantially overflowed and had nearly blended into a single lake separated only by a narrow strip of land. Significant flooding along local rivers was also indicated.

On Friday, September 2, it was estimated that ad hoc levee repairs would be complete by Sunday, September 4 and, once the City's system of pumps can be repaired and supplied with power, that unwatering the City would then take a minimum of 35 days (mid October) and up to 80 days (end of November) for some areas. Access from the lake to the 17th Street Canal was blocked, stopping water flow despite the canal breach still being open.

By Saturday, September 3, it had been discovered that the pumps used to drain New Orleans were no longer manufactured, so that the damaged parts would have to be remanufactured instead of replaced as had been hoped. It was estimated that at least a week would be required to dry out the pumps before repair could be attempted. Any residential structure submerged for two weeks will likely require demolition.

On September 4, Brigadier General Robert Crear of the US Army Corps of Engineers said that they had succeeded in closing off the 17th Street Canal. He added that it would take between 36 and 80 days to complete the task of emptying New Orleans of flood water. New estimates on September 10 indicate that it may be as few as three weeks before water is drained from the city, because of drier weather, favorable winds, and the use of deliberate breaches in the lower levees.

Investigations into the levee and floodwall failures and the subsequent flooding were commenced by several organisations. In October, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield announced an independent inquiry which is due to remote in eight months.

Damage to buildings and roads

An aerial view of the flooding in part of the Central Business District].  The Superdome is at center.
An aerial view of the flooding in part of the Central Business District]. The Superdome is at center.

On August 29, 7:40 a.m. CDT, it was reported that most of the windows on the north side of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans had been blown out, and many other high rise buildings had extensive window damage. The Hyatt was the most severely damaged hotel in the city, with beds reported to be flying out of the windows. Insulation tubes were exposed as the hotel's glass exterior was completely sheared off.

A number of brick façades collapsed into the street. At least three fires were reported in the New Orleans area, destroying several buildings. By September 2, fires had become a more widespread problem with some reports of arson.

The St. Bernard Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) said that on August 29 that the Parish's two shelters at Chalmette High and St. Bernard High were suffering much damage with flooding. He said Chalmette High shelter was losing its roof, and St. Bernard High had many broken windows. There were estimates of 300-plus evacuees at the two sites. "We cannot see the tops of the levees!" exclaimed OEP Director Larry Ingargiola.

At 11:00 p.m. of August 29, Mayor Ray Nagin conducted an interview with WWL-TV discussing the damage to New Orleans. He described New Orleans as "totally dark" with no clear way in or out, eighty percent of the City flooded, with some areas having water depths of 20 feet (6 m). Both airports were underwater, "three huge boats" had run aground, along with an oil tanker which was leaking oil. The yacht club was destroyed by a fire, and gas leaks were reported throughout the City. The Pontchartrain Expressway (Interstate 10 in Downtown, not to be confused with the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway) was "full of water" and the "Twin Spans" over the east end of Lake Pontchartrain were "totally destroyed".

As of 11:30 p.m. CDT, WDSU-TV reported at least part of the I-10 Twin Span had completely collapsed. On WWL-TV, Mayor Nagin stated that, according to a FEMA official, the entire length of the Twin Span had been destroyed

By September 2, NOAA had published aerial photography of many of the affected regions.

Communications failures

Coordination of rescue efforts August 29 and August 30 were frustrated by inability to communicate. Many telephones, including most cell phones, were not working due to line breaks, destruction of base stations, or power failures, even though some base stations had their own back-up generators. In a number of cases, reporters were asked to brief public officials on the conditions in areas where information was not reaching them any other way.

Amateur radio provided tactical and emergency communications as well as health-and-welfare enquiries

All local television stations were disrupted, but the news crews moved quickly to sister locations in nearby cities. Local newspapers moved out of the affected area. Broadcasting and publishing on the Internet became an important means of distributing information to evacuees and the rest of the world.

On September 4, Mayor Nagin told CNN reporter Nic Robertson that a communications hub had been set up at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown New Orleans.


Stranded residents

Victims of Hurricane Katrina continue to be evacuated out of the city of New Orleans by bus well into the night of August 31.
Victims of Hurricane Katrina continue to be evacuated out of the city of New Orleans by bus well into the night of August 31.

Because of the extensive flooding caused by levee breaches, a number of residents were stranded long after Hurricane Katrina had passed, unable to leave their homes. Stranded survivors dotted the tops of houses citywide; according to the Miami Herald, flooding the 9th Ward sent 116 residents onto rooftops seeking aid. Many others were trapped inside attics, unable to escape [22]; some reportedly chopped their way onto their roofs with hatchets and sledge hammers. Due to a mains break, clean water was unavailable, and power outages were expected to last for weeks [23]. Around 10 p.m. CDT, August 29, search and rescue were begun with boats in Plaquemines, St. Bernard and N.O. East.

In some instances, stranded residents were able to communicate their location through cellular phones, requesting help. In one such instance, MSNBC quoted resident Chris Robinson, in a phone call from his home east of downtown, "I'm not doing too good right now. The water's rising pretty fast. I got a hammer and an ax and a crowbar, but I'm holding off on breaking through the roof until the last minute. Tell someone to come get me please. I want to live."

Civil disturbances

Main article: Civil disturbances and military action in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

Superdome refuge

Refugees bringing their belongings and lining up to get into the Superdome.
Refugees bringing their belongings and lining up to get into the Superdome.

As the largest center of refuge, rescued residents were brought to the Superdome to await further evacuation. Many others made their way to the Superdome on their own, hoping to find food, water, shelter, or a ride out of town. Despite increasingly squalid conditions, the population inside continued to grow, according to Ray Bias, a nurse with the American Ambulance Association. The situation inside the building was described as chaotic; reports of fights, rape, and filthy living conditions were widespread. As many as 100 were reported to have died in the Superdome, with most deaths resulting from heat exhaustion, but other reported incidents included an accused rapist who was beaten to death by a crowd and an apparent suicide. [24] [25] Despite these reports, though, the final official death toll was significantly less: six people inside (4 of natural causes, one overdose, and an apparent suicide) and a few more in the general area outside the stadium. [26] Also, the reports of rampant crime has turned out to be another urban legend. [27]

[28] On the evening of August 30, Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, adjutant general for the Louisiana National Guard, said that the number of people taking shelter in the Superdome had risen to around 15,000 to 20,000 as search and rescue teams brought more people to the Superdome from areas hard-hit by the flooding [29]. As conditions worsened and flood waters continued to rise, on August 31, Governor Blanco ordered that all of New Orleans, including the Superdome, be evacuated. [30] The area outside the Superdome was flooded to a depth of three feet (1 m), with a possibility of seven feet (2.3 m) if the area equalized with Lake Pontchartrain. Governor Blanco had the state send in 68 school buses on Monday to begin evacuating people.[31] She later issued an executive order [32] commandeering buses from school districts across Louisiana, and those buses helped over 15,000 leave the Superdome area. It was announced by FEMA on August 29 — in conjunction with Greyhound, the National Guard, and Houston Metro — that they would relocate the by-then 22,000–25,000 Superdome evacuees across state lines to the Reliant Astrodome in Houston. Roughly 475 buses were promised by FEMA to ferry evacuees with the entire evacuation expected to take two days [33]. Those buses did not arrive until Thursday and Friday.[34] Governor Blanco found out that those buses were still in Northern Louisiana on Wednesday night.[35] By September 4, the Superdome had been completely evacuated. With the roof damaged by water and wind, water and electricity spotty at best, damage to the overall interior and exterior structures, and a "potential biohazard" from human waste and trash, the Superdome's fate is uncertain.

The New Orleans Convention Center

The New Orleans Convention Center was not a city refuge, but people who gathered there broke in and opened the doors. By Thursday, September 1, the facility, like the Superdome, was overwhelmed and declared unsafe and unsanitary. Reports indicated that up to 20,000 people had gathered at the convention center, many dropped off after rescue from flooded areas of the city. Others were directed to the center by police as a possible refuge. However, even though there were thousands of evacuees at the center, this was not reported by any national news source until late on August 31, and FEMA did not find out about the use of the Convention Center as a shelter until September 1. Those able to walk the distance could have left the Convention Center, and the city, via the Crescent City Connection Bridge, but were prevented from doing so at gunpoint by Gretna, LA sheriffs [36]. Unruliness among some evacuees contributed to the difficulty of relieving conditions at the center; in one case, a supply helicopter was unable to land due to crowding. Eventually, soldiers managed to toss supplies to the crowd from 10 feet (3 m) off the ground. [37] By Friday, September 2, military support at the convention center had established a steady supply of water and emergency rations as evacuation efforts were in progress; buses arrived later that day to pick up the refugees and take them elsewhere. By September 4, the Convention Center had been completely evacuated.

Evacuation efforts

Hurricane evacuees relocated on a highway being helped by the Air National Guard
Hurricane evacuees relocated on a highway being helped by the Air National Guard

As evacuation orders were given on August 31, relief organizations scrambled to locate suitable areas for relocating refugees on a large scale. Among early candidates was the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas, which was announced as the primary relocation area for Superdome refugees. Officially, the Astrodome shelter was to be reserved for Superdome evacuees only; however, on September 1, National Public Radio (NPR) reported that the first busload to arrive at the Astrodome was actually a "renegade" bus. The bus was driven by a private citizen, Jabbar Gibson, who commandeered one of many abandoned school buses, picked up stranded citizens, and drove them to Houston. [38]

Authorities in Houston decided to admit them, and eventually admitted other evacuees as well. Houston agreed to shelter an additional 25,000 evacuees beyond those admitted to the Astrodome. San Antonio, Texas also agreed to house 25,000 refugees, beginning relocation efforts in vacant office buldings on the grounds of KellyUSA, a former air force base. Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas was also mobilized to house incoming refugees, and smaller shelters were established in towns across Texas and Oklahoma. Housing efforts were not limited to those sponsored by state and federal government; shelter was provided by hundreds of individuals and organizations. Arkansas is also expected to take in up to 100,000 evacuees in various shelters and state parks throughout the state.

Expected to last only two days, the evacuation of remaining refugees proved more difficult than rescue organizations anticipated as transportation convoys struggled with damaged infrastructure and a growing number of evacuees. On the afternoon of September 1, Governor Kathleen Blanco reported that the number of evacuees in the Superdome was down to 2,500; however, the AP reported that by evening, eleven hours after evacuation efforts began, the Superdome held 10,000 more people than it did at dawn. [39] Evacuees from across the city swelled the crowd to about 30,000, believing the arena was the best place to get a ride out of town.

Overwhelmed by incoming refugees, by the evening of September 1, CNN reported that the Reliant Astrodome in Houston was ruled full and could not accept any more people. At the time it sheltered just over 11,000, less than half the number that New Orleans had been told to send. The adjacent Reliant Center and Reliant Arena was soon opened as an additional shelter on September 2, as well as the enormous George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.

Lawlessness delayed evacuation efforts. Lt. Kevin Cowan, spokesperson for the Louisiana National Guard points to difficulties in the second evacuation, "There are still a lot of people out there to be rescued. Unfortunately with these common thugs and criminals out in the streets that are taking pot shots at the rescuers and the helicopters, it is only delaying that. Unfortunately people may be dying from this nonsense."

Evacuation efforts were hastened on September 2 by the wider dispersal of evacuees among newly-opened shelters. Louis Armstrong International Airport, which had recently reopened to allow flights related to relief efforts, began to load evacuees onto planes as well. At one point, the evacuation was interrupted when priority was given to remove 700 guests and staff from the Hyatt located near the Superdome in order to provide housing to relief and security personnel. By the end of the day, 94,308 refugees were housed in 308 shelters in the region. [40]

On September 3, some 42,000 refugees were evacuated from New Orleans, including those remaining in the Superdome and Convention Center. Efforts turned to the hundreds of people still trapped in area hotels, hospitals, schools and private homes. [41] [42]

On Sunday, September 4, it was reported that US officials had asked the European Union for help with the relief effort. According to EU officials, US government representatives asked for first aid kits, blankets, water trucks and 500,000 prepared meals.[43]

On September 6, the mayor of New Orleans issued order of forced removal of people refusing to leave the city. As of September 7 rescuers were taking only those who wanted to leave because speed is of the essence, with the intent that rescuers will come back later and forcibly take those still alive.

Health effects

Sick and injured people being evacuated aboard a C-17 Globemaster III
Sick and injured people being evacuated aboard a C-17 Globemaster III

There is growing concern that the prolonged flooding will lead to an outbreak of health problems for those who remain. In addition to dehydration and food poisoning, there is also potential for the spread of hepatitis A, cholera and typhoid fever, all related to the growing contamination of food and drinking water supplies in the city compounded by the city's characteristic heat and stifling humidity. Survivors may also face longer-term health risks due to prolonged exposure to the petrochemical tainted flood waters and mosquito-borne diseases such as yellow fever, malaria and West Nile Virus.

As of September 2, an emergency triage center has been set up at Armstrong airport. A steady stream of helicopters and ambulances are bringing in the weak, elderly, sick and injured. Baggage equipment are being used as gurneys to transport persons from the flight line to the hospital set up in the terminal. The captain in charge described the site as "organized chaos" but the emergency medical staff assembled from around the country is keeping pace. Equipped to handle anything from bruises to critical cases requiring ventilators, the site is triaging survivors and then sending them on to medical centers in the surrounding states.

By Saturday, the situation at Armstrong airport started to stabilize. Up to 5,000 people had been triaged in the past two days and fewer than 200 remained at the medical unit.

Hospital evacuations continued into Saturday. Reports from the Methodist Hospital highlighted the suffering in the city with people dying of dehydration and exhaustion while the staff worked unendingly in horrendous conditions. The first floor of the hospital flooded and the dead were stacked in a second floor operating room. Patients requiring ventilators were kept alive with hand powered resuscitation bags. [44].

On September 6, E. coli was detected in the water supply. According to the CDC five people have died from bacterial infections caused by the toxic waters [45]. The deaths appear to have been caused by the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, of the Cholera family.

Loss of life

A U.S. Coast Guardsman searches for survivors in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.
A U.S. Coast Guardsman searches for survivors in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.

By early November 2005, the number of confirmed fatalities in Louisiana was 1056. On September 4, Mayor Nagin speculated to CNN reporter Nic Robertson that the death toll could rise in the thousands after the clean-up is completed. Some survivors and evacuees reported seeing dead bodies lying in city streets and floating in still-flooded sections, especially in the east of the city. The advanced state of decomposition of many corpses, some of which were left in the water or sun for days before being collected, hindered efforts by coroners to identify many of the dead.

Bodies at refugee centers, such as an old woman in a wheel chair who had been covered with a cloth, or a man dead on the interstate, were shown on network newscasts on September 1 and possibly earlier. There were six deaths confirmed from the Superdome. Four of these were from natural causes, one was the result of a drug overdose and one a suicide. At the Convention Center, four bodies were recovered. One out of these four is believed to be a result of a homicide.[46] There were 6 or 7 homicide victims in the city after Katrina, according to the medical examiner.[47]

Body collection throughout the city began about September 9. Prior to that date, the locations of corpses were recorded, but most were not retrieved. There was a focus on living residents who refuse to evacuate.[48] [49] [50]

Business impacts

The local utility Entergy Corporation was impacted severely, and Entergy New Orleans filed for bankruptcy protection on September 23, 2005 [51] - lower revenue and storm restoration costs were cited. Parent company Entergy Corporation promptly arranged $100 million in financing.

Long-term repercussions

Reconstruction of New Orleans

Over 150,000 properties in New Orleans were damaged or destroyed by wind, water, and fire in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This section attempts to outline the immense reconstruction efforts that will be needed after the water has been drained from the City.

The Army Corps of Engineers had determined that it will take around 40 days to drain the water from New Orleans[52]. The wind damage was not as severe as had been projected by meteorologists and most buildings survived intact. However, the failure of several levee systems caused extensive flooding in New Orleans and surrounding parishes and resulted in extensive water damage to most affected buildings. Many buildings that withstood the storm and the direct force of the flooding probably were damaged beyond repair by the deleterious effect of long immersion. Among the threats to buildings is the rapid propagation of mold. [53]. It is unclear how planning for reconstruction will proceed.

The flood waters were contaminated by a very high number of sources, and interactions between these sources and the urban environment are very hard to predict. It was feared that the mixture of chemical and biological contaminants would not disperse naturally for months or years. There was concern that contamination from these pollutants remaining in domestic and street environments would be pervasive and ubiquitous, thus presenting considerable difficulties in ensuring a complete decontamination of affected areas. However, testing found these floodwaters were not unusual.

Some people, including Dennis Hastert,[54] questioned whether federal funds should pay to rebuild New Orleans. Others considered New Orleans's unique cultural heritage and history as important to the United States as, for instance, that of Venice is to Italy, and maintain that to not rebuild and reoccupy the city would be an immeasurable loss in that regard.

Scattering of the city's population

Relief effort

Main article: Hurricane Katrina disaster relief
U.S. Air Force C-17s unload hundreds of tons of supplies at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.
U.S. Air Force C-17s unload hundreds of tons of supplies at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Many branches of the armed forces were involved with the relief effort, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, and the Marine Corps.

Foreign assistance

Main article: International response to Hurricane Katrina

Individuals around the world donated to a variety of NGOs helping relieve the affected areas. The American Red Cross is the largest such organization, and Yahoo, Google and later Amazon set up donation pages for the Red Cross; there are many more.

On August 31, 40 members of the Vancouver Urban Search & Rescue Team were flown to Lafayette by a WestJet Airlines aircraft, along with several thousand pounds of rescue gear, to assist with the rescue and recovery effort in the state.

On September 1, three Republic of Singapore Air Force CH-47SD Chinooks with 38 crewmen arrived in Fort Polk, Louisiana to assist the Texas Army National Guard in their relief operations. The Chinooks are from a Singaporean overseas detachment military base in Fort Prairie, Texas, where the RSAF conducts training for its crewmen.

On September 2, the Canadian government announced that it was deploying three warshipsHMCS Athabaskan, HMCS Toronto and HMCS Ville de Québec— and Coast Guard vessel Sir William Alexander to the Gulf of Mexico to assist in relief efforts. Several H-3 Sea King Helicopters will accompany the Canadian ships. Canadian aircraft will also be deployed as part of a NAFTA military assistance pact.

A German Army Airbus plane landed in Florida on Saturday with 10 tonnes of food rations to be transported to the disaster area. Offered help included German air force hospital planes and pumping services. [55]

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela ordered a million barrels of gasoline as well as 5 million dollars in aid to the United States. It has yet to be accepted. [56]

Prime Minister John Howard of Australia pledged 10 million dollars in aid to the United States.

Criticism of relief effort

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Political effects of Hurricane Katrina. (Discuss)
Main article: Political effects of Hurricane Katrina

Critics of the relief effort have said that the government — at all levels — had not done enough to minimize casualties before the storm, as well as provide relief to victims.

An ABC News Poll with 501 respondents, conducted on September 2, showed slightly more blame is being directed at state and local governments (75 percent) than at the Federal government (67 percent), with 44 percent blaming President Bush's leadership directly. [57] A later CNN/USATODAY/GALLUP POLL with 609 participants, taken September 5-6, showed a shift to holding the federal government to blame. 13% held President Bush as most responsible, 18% said "federal agencies"; 25% said "state and local officials"; 38% said "no one is to blame"; 6% had no opinion.

Criticisms of federal response

New Orleans' top emergency management official called the effort a "national disgrace" and questioned when reinforcements would actually reach the increasingly desperate city. New Orleans' emergency operations chief Terry Ebbert blamed the inadequate response on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "This is not a FEMA operation. I haven't seen a single FEMA guy", he said. "FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans." [58] At the time, the main staging area was only 6 miles away along the adjoining I-10 at the Causeway intersection, and FEMA had apparently been at the Superdome three days earlier.

Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans, in an interview broadcast on WWL (AM) on the early morning of 2 September, expressed his frustration at what he judged to be insufficient reinforcements provided by the President and federal authorities. The interview was picked up by the news media such as CNN later that morning. Complete Transcript MP3 Audio Windows Media Streaming Audio.

Additionally, many police, fire and EMS organizations from outside the affected areas have reportedly been stymied in their efforts to send help and assistance to the area. Official requests for help through the proper chains of command have not been forthcoming. Local police and other EMS workers are apparently traumatized themselves. At least two officers have apparently committed suicide, and many have apparently deserted and turned in their badges.[59][60]

In addition to claims that FEMA was not present in sufficient numbers, there have been many reports of FEMA blocking relief efforts from outside agencies and individuals. Globalstar reported that a truck carrying more than 1,000 satellite telephones was barred from the disaster area. Aaron Broussard, the President of Jefferson Parish, which neighbors New Orleans, criticized the governments response on the September 4, 2005 edition of NBC's Meet the Press. Broussard claimed that FEMA blocked water deliveries from Wal-Mart, blocked the shipment of fuel to his area, cut emergency communication lines and described how the local sheriff posted armed guards to protect the lines after they were reconnected;

We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn't need them. This was a week ago. FEMA--we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, 'Come get the fuel right away.' When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. 'FEMA says don't give you the fuel.' Yesterday--yesterday--FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice [61]

Broussard broke down on live television while telling the story of one of his employees who, he claimed, kept getting phone calls from his mother who was trapped by flood waters in a nursing home:

And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.

Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.

Video of Broussard's Meet The Press interview

It was later established that this story was not true. 'When told of the sequence of phone calls that Broussard described on Meet the Press, [Thomas Rodrigue, the Jefferson Parish emergency services director, whose mother was the person who drowned] said “No, no, that’s not true.” ... Officials believe that the residents of St. Rita’s died on Monday, Aug. 29, not on Friday, Sept. 2, as Broussard had suggested.'[62] Broussard later explained that he was describing the events in general terms, rather than attempting to describe it in wholly factual detail. He added that he was trying to emphasis not only the denial of evacuation help to this particular woman who drowned but also the abandonment that felt his whole parish suffered from.[63]

Owners of St. Rita’s Nursing Home, in St. Bernard Parish, were later arrested for negligent homicide. [64] Over 40 residents of the home, including the mother referenced in the story above, died after the failure of the owners to evacuate their residents. There are conflicting stories about the reasons they did not move their residents. St Bernard Parish did not order a mandatory evacuation. "St. Bernard Parish has recommended all residents evacuate, though it likely will not declare a mandatory evacutation because the parish won’t offer shelters, said Emergency Management Director Larry Ingargiola." [65]

State and federal troops

Another criticism of the federal response comes in the form of the National Guard. Often the first defense for hurricane-hit areas, the Louisiana National Guard would often be the first to respond to a scene. While the National Guard is usually activated through gubernatorial process, the president also has the authority to call national guard into action. President Bush did not do this. Critics also claim that use of National Guard to boost troop numbers in Iraq left them depleted and unready to handle disasters at home.

Governor Blanco requested additional National Guard troops to come from other state Guard troops to supplement the Louisiana National Guard troops. She requested these troops via a request through Washington. The Federal Government took over 2 days to process the paperwork. She made that request on Tuesday, a full day after the hurricane hit. Because of legal guidelines, New Mexico's Governor Richardson, who offered assistance to New Orleans two days before the storm hit[66], could not send a single soldier until approval came from Washington, specifically the National Guard Bureau. Washington, meanwhile, could not give such approval without a formal request from Blanco. That request was made Tuesday, after New Orleans was almost completely under water. It would be two more days, until late Thursday, before that authority would come from Washington. And by then, almost four days had passed since Katrina hit the coast. [67]

Governor Blanco later acknowledged that she should have called for more troops sooner, and she should have activated a compact with other states that would have allowed her to bypass the requirement to route the request through Washington.[68]

Congress has vowed to investigate the Guard's sluggish response as well as the lack of activation of many government plans such as the Civilian Reserve Air Fleet, which could have put commercial and private planes into action to help drop cargo or evacuate civilians.

President Bush, having ordered New Orleans a state of emergency two days before Katrina's strike, stayed on vacation two days after the hurricane made landfall. Bush's ranch has access to all the equipment available at the White House with full communication to cabinet members. Congress, as well, was on recess.

Normaly, under the Posse Comitatus Act, prohibits the use of Federal troops or forces other than the Coast Guard and Navy for law enforcement unless the Governor of the state formally requests aid, or in times of emergency. Gov. Blanco did dispatch a letter to the White House asking for a state of emergency to be declared on 27 August [69], but did not specifically request the use of the regular military. The Louisiana National Guard remained under her control.

Criticisms of city and local response

Buses left unused during the evacuations, after miscommunication between State Government and FEMA.
Buses left unused during the evacuations, after miscommunication between State Government and FEMA.

Many have also criticised the local and state governments, who have primary responsibility for local disasters. Mayor Nagin has come under criticism for allegedly failing to execute the New Orleans disaster plan, which called for the use of the city's school buses in evacuating residents unable to leave on their own. [70]

On Saturday August 27, several hours after the last regularly scheduled train left New Orleans, Amtrak ran a special train to move equipment out of the city. The train had room for several hundred passengers, and Amtrak offered these spaces to the city, but the city declined them, so the train left New Orleans at 8:30 p.m., with no passengers on board. [71]

Having chosen the Superdome as the refuge of last resort, some have alleged that the Mayor did not preposition food and water. While accepting that if the Superdome had not been opened up to the public, as requested by the Mayor, the casualties would have almost certainly have been far greater, some claim had he used the plan the city developed, the people would have been bused out of New Orleans and the catastrophe would have been ameliorated.

However, Governor Blanco has said FEMA had asked for school buses not to be used as they were not air-conditioned, and a potential risk of causing heat stroke, and that FEMA had informed them of more suitable buses they would be providing. Concerned over the slow reaction, Blanco sent in the state's fleet of 500 buses to aid in the evacuation process. It was not until late on August 31 that Blanco learned the FEMA buses were being sent from outside the state, and could not arrive immediately. [72]

Governor Blanco issued a voluntary evacuation order and acknowledged that she received a call from the President on August 27, 2005, urging her to make it mandatory in order to get as many people as possible out of the path of the storm. On Saturday August 27, Governor Blanco did request [73] that President Bush "declare an emergency for the State of Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina." The White House responded to Governor Blanco's request that same day, August 27, by declaring the emergency and authorizing FEMA "to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency."[74]

Others have also leveled criticism at Governor Blanco for not having activated Louisiana National Guard sooner. These critics claim that there was inadequate preparation at the state and local levels in the case of Hurricane Katrina. Past disasters have relied on some federal assistance but with the state and local governments taking the lead.

According to a Washington Post report on Sunday, September 4, "Shortly before midnight Friday [September 2], the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans." Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request, and doubted that it would provide better managment of the crisis.

Op-ed criticisms

Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times on September 2: "Thousands of Americans are dead or dying, not because they refused to evacuate, but because they were too poor or too sick to get out without help - and help wasn't provided." He commented: "Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk." In the same article, the former FEMA chief James Lee Witt is cited as saying at a Congressional hearing: "I am extremely concerned that the ability of our nation to prepare for and respond to disasters has been sharply eroded. I hear from emergency managers, local and state leaders, and first responders nearly every day that the FEMA they knew and worked well with has now disappeared."[75]

The New Orleans Times-Picayune published only its third issue since Hurricane Katrina struck, and included a editorial demanding the firing of many of those possibly derelict in their responsibilities during the disaster, such as FEMA director Michael Brown. [76].

Many, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Democratic Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, have urged people and media to delay criticism of the government's response until those stranded in New Orleans can be rescued and relocated. Bill Clinton on September 5, 2005 said the Federal Government 'failed' the people of the coastal communities affected by the storm. [77]. Laura Bush gave a press conference in Lafayette, Louisiana, on September 3, 2005, in which she noted that "bad things are not happening here" and urged the news media to convey the message of how communities are working to help people. She refused to criticize the federal response to the crisis when questioned. She described the international offers of aid and assistance as "very sweet", but did not indicate whether they had been, or would be, accepted.

International Response

Several foreign leaders have expressed frustration that they couldn’t get a go-ahead from the Bush Administration to administer help. President Bush said on the ABC News program Good Morning America that the United States could fend for itself; "I do expect a lot of sympathy, and perhaps some will send cash dollars," he said. "But this country is going to rise up and take care of it." [78]

The immediate response from many nations was to ask to be allowed to send in self-sustaining SAR teams to assist in evacuating those stranded. France had a range of aircrafts and two naval ships standing ready in the Caribbean. Russia offered four jets with rescuers, equipment, food and medicine, but their help was declined. Germany had offered airlifting, vaccination, water purification, medical supplies including German air force hospital planes, emergency electrical power and pumping services, their offer was noted and on September 4 they recieved a formal request. Similarly, Sweden waited until September 12 for a formal request to send a military cargo plane with three complete GSM systems, water sanitation equipment, and experts.[79] [80]

Ultimately, the death toll was not in multiple thousands, as Mayor Nagin suggested it might eventually reach, but rather something over 1000. "We know there is a significant number of dead bodies in the water," and others dead in attics, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin said Wednesday [August 30th] during an impromptu news conference at the Hyatt Hotel. Asked how many, he said: "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands." [81]

Some British tourists trapped in a New Orleans hotel have accused the authorities of preferential treatment for Americans during the evacuation as Katrina approached.[82]

Criticisms by celebrities

On NBC's Hurricane Relief Telethon, broadcast live to the east coast of the United States, rapper Kanye West criticized the Bush administration for failing to do more for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Following a monologue delivered from a prepared script by comedian Mike Myers, West nervously made the following statement:

I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, 'They’re looting.' You see a white family, it says, 'They’re looking for food.' And, you know, it’s been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because I’ve tried to turn away from the TV because it’s too hard to watch. I’ve even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I’m calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help – with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way – and they’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us.

Rapper Kanye West criticizes President Bush during Hurricane Katrina benefit concert.
Rapper Kanye West criticizes President Bush during Hurricane Katrina benefit concert.

The first part of West's criticism was most likely aimed at Yahoo!, which had photos of hurricane victims posted on its website. An Associated Press photograph of two African-American women was captioned, "Looters carry bags of groceries through floodwaters after taking the merchandise away from a wind damaged convenience store in New Orleans on Monday, 29 August 2005."

Another AP photograph of an African-American man was captioned, "A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, 30 August 2005..." [83]

The next photo, of a white couple, was labelled as follows: "Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store in New Orleans..." [84] This photo was from Agence France Press (AFP).

Many individuals picked out the differences between white people "finding" and black people "looting", and these observations led to controversy. After controversy on these photos erupted on sites such as Flickr and Salon, Yahoo released a press statement regarding the issue. AFP later requested that their picture be removed from major client databases, and Yahoo's link to the photo has since disappeared.

An article at Snopes contends that the photographer taking the picture of the African-American women actually witnessed the looting, while the photographer taking the picture of the white couple says they were not looters, and did actually find the bags:

I wrote the caption about the two people who 'found' the items. I believed in my opinion, that they did simply find them, and not 'looted' them in the definition of the word. The people were swimming in chest deep water, and there were other people in the water, both white and black. I looked for the best picture. there were a million items floating in the water - we were right near a grocery store that had 5+ feet of water in it. it had no doors. the water was moving, and the stuff was floating away. These people were not ducking into a store and busting down windows to get electronics. They picked up bread and cokes that were floating in the water. They would have floated away anyhow. I wouldn't have taken in, because I wouldn't eat anything that's been in that water. But I'm not homeless. (well, technically I am right now.)

He posted this at SportsShooter (to find his post search for "Chris Graythen").

After West's impromptu speech, Myers resumed hosting duties of the segment, reading once again from the prepared speech. After he handed back the floor to Kanye West, West said: "George Bush doesn’t care about black people." NBC then cut the feed.

The special was edited for West Coast audiences, and West's remarks about George W. Bush were removed. West's remarks have taken on a life of their own on the web. The blog, Boing Boing, has details of a protest mash-up containing his comment about President Bush.[85]

Recovery effort

On Monday, September 5, power began to be restored to buildings in the central business district of New Orleans on a priority basis. [86][87]

On Tuesday, September 6, the Port of New Orleans, the biggest U.S. port by tonnage handled, was able to receive and service relief ships. It was estimated that resumption of commercial shipments would take at least 14 days [88].

On Monday, September 12, officials [89] gave the following estimates for unwatering New Orleans given average seasonal rainfall:

Five hospitals in the New Orleans area had reopened as of Monday. One of those had a full schedule, including elective surgery. However, the mandatory evacuation had caused a dearth of patients, resulting in predictions of staff loss and reduced service. Two other hospitals were being used as recovery worker accommodations. [90]

Mayor Ray Nagin founded the Bring Back New Orleans Commission.

Recovery of infrastructure

Checkpoint in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans at the Industrial Canal, between functioning Bywater neighborhood and the Lower 9th Ward, where only residents were allowed in to examine and salvage from their property during daylight. 25 October, 2005.
Checkpoint in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans at the Industrial Canal, between functioning Bywater neighborhood and the Lower 9th Ward, where only residents were allowed in to examine and salvage from their property during daylight. 25 October, 2005.
Main article: Civil engineering and infrastructure repair in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

See also


External links

Vulnerable Cities: New Orleans
A discussion of impacts of hurricanes and flooding on New Orleans.
NOVA scienceNOW: Hurricanes 
New Orleans' unique vulnerability to hurricanes.
Extraordinary Problems, Difficult Solutions 
The challenges and issues in rebuilding New Orleans, including possible uninhabitability from soil contamination.
Post Katrina Satellite Imagery
From Google Maps.
Draining New Orleans 
New York Times interactive maps of the New Orleans' area.
Drowning in New Orleans 
Scientific American October 2001; by Mark Fischetti; 10 page(s)
"Get Off the Fucking Freeway: The Sinking State Loots its Own Survivors," Guerilla News Network
Hurricane Katrina photos of damage

Lost and safe lists

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