Hurricane Katrina By: Cade Groman

The greatest displacement of citizens since the dusbowl era.

In late August 2005 Hurricane Katrina caused great damage to the areas of Alabama, Florida Mississippi, and Louisiana. There is no official death toll, but it is known that over 1,800 people died and by 2011 still 700 were missing.

Out of all the cities, New Orleans was hit the hardest with floodwaters covering over 80% of the city. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation a day before the hurricane hit, but still about 20% of the population stayed in the city. Most of these people were elderly or too poor to leave on their own.

Unprepared for disaster

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, headed by Mike Brown, was criticized greatly due to inadequate response to this crisis. There was proof that FEMA knew years ahead of time that New Orleans' levees could not withstand anything above a category three hurricane. Brown would eventually step down from his position, leaving congress and the president to investigate how this situation spiraled out of control.

Mike Brown
"We have been abandoned by our own country. … The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history."

-Aaron Broussard (President of Jefferson Parish)

Involvement of President Bush during Hurricane Katrina

The Bush Administration seemed unprepared for Hurricane Katrina and many criticized the presidents lack of leadership. Bush was in Texas when the storm hit and the next day he was in California where he was photographed playing the guitar. This picture appeared next to pictures of stranded New Orleans' residents clinging to rooftops.

President Bush was interviewed on ABC September 1st. While he was interviewed he commented that no one had anticipated the failure of the levees. This comment was quickly found to be untrue. Later when he flew over the disaster on Air Force One, the resulting picture, showing bush looking out the window appearing to be detached and powerless, was a public relations disaster for the Bush Administration.

Damage, Relief, and Reconstruction

A week after the storm hit, troops and supplies finally poured into the city. The Superdome and the convention center were emptied, and survivors were bussed out of New Orleans. A central command station and triage were set up at the airport.

The environment also suffered great damage. Many costal areas were completely destroyed. An estimated 217 miles of land was washed away. Sixteen National Wildlife Preserves were shut down and the Brenton National Wildlife Refuge was reduced to half its size.

The population of New Orleans drastically changed because of the hurricane. It has been estimated that the city has regained approximately 70% of its pre-storm population. Once ranked 26th largest city, New Orleans was ranked 46th in 2010. The storm reshaped the city, making it a wealthier and less diverse population.

Overall, Hurricane Katrina greatly affected the area of New Orleans. The hurricane also caused many to question the leadership abilities of President Bush. This great disaster took hundreds of lives making this event personal and meaningful to many Americans. In conclusion, Hurricane Katrina went down as one of the worst disasters in Americas history.

Ron Horton. "Hurricane Katrina." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Gale, 2013. U.S. History in Context, ZCXDON286113439/UHIC?u=catholiccenhs&xid=02bb9427. Accessed 2 May 2017.

"The George W. Bush Administrations." Presidential Administration Profiles for Students, edited by Kelle S. Sisung and Gerda-Ann Raffaelle, Gale, 2009. U.S. History in Context, u=catholiccenhs&xid=83d4691f. Accessed 2 May 2017.

"Hurricane Katrina." American Decades: 2000-2009, edited by Eric Bargeron and James F. Tidd, Jr., Gale, 2011, pp. 218-220. U.S. History in Context, UHIC?u=catholiccenhs&xid=4dbbb4fc. Accessed 2 May 2017.

"Hurricane Katrina Devastates Louisiana Coast, August 2005." Historic U.S. Events, Gale, 2011. U.S. History in Context, apps/doc/BT2359030190/UHIC?u=catholiccenhs&xid=18851222. Accessed 2 May 2017.


Created with images by NASA Goddard Photo and Video - "Hurricane Katrina Arrives" • NASA Goddard Photo and Video - "Hurricane Katrina" • tpsdave - "aircraft plane air force" • skeeze - "hurricane flooding amusement park disaster" • Prince Roy - "New Orleans 027" • Nashville First Baptist - "Katrina-Relief-261" • Nashville First Baptist - "Katrina-Relief-165" • vxla - "Harrah's Casino, New Orleans"

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