Hurricane Katrina: Ten Years On

Aug 30, 2015 By Deepa Gopal
Deepa Gopal's picture

August 2005: Meteorologists and storm watchers were closely tracking Hurricane Katrina as it touched the U.S state of Florida and moved into the Gulf of Mexico. The slow Category 1 storm started picking up speed and soon developed into a Category 3.

On the early morning of August 29, 2005, the storm touched land. The coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama were battered by heavy rains, winds and ocean waves.

Hurricane Katrina killed 2000 people and more than one million were forced out of their homes as rising waters swallowed neighborhoods. 

Remembering That Fateful Day

New Orleans, the city that was hit the hardest by the storm, lies below sea level. Its neighborhoods are protected from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain by a system of levees and canals. Levees (also known as dikes in the Netherlands) are walls that keep water out; the city's canals drain rain and flood water from the city into the lake.

The force of the storm caused the weak canal walls to collapse and 80 percent of the city came under water - especially the Lower Ninth Ward, one of the poorer districts. Scenes of people being rescued from rooftops and by boats, homes inundated and precious lives swept away shocked the nation. Even though the residents of New Orleans had been warned and asked to evacuate, many chose to stay. They had trusted the levees in the past and were hoping to ride out the storm.

In the aftermath of the storm, help poured in. Houston, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia took in the most refugees - many of the 250,000 evacuees who went to Houston were housed in the Astrodome stadium. Katrina came to be known as the most destructive storm to hit the United States.

Rebuilding New Orleans

Now, ten years later, the city known for its unique architecture, jazz music, Cajun cuisine, and famous carnivals is alive once again.

Newer and stronger levees and canal systems have been built by the government to protect New Orleans. Many displaced families have returned to their neighborhoods, though some have chosen to make their homes in the cities they settled in after the disaster.

In the aftermath of the storm, the U.S Federal Government was criticized for its slow response. In 2006, Congress passed an act to reorganize FEMA - the Federal Emergency Management Agency to improve communication and evacuation plans in times of disasters. The city of New Orleans has also improved its warning system.

U.S President Barack Obama, and ex-Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush toured the neighborhoods on the 10th anniversary of Katrina. Residents in the entire affected Gulf coast region marked the day with remembrance ceremonies. It was not only a reminder of the power of nature but also the power of the human soul to recover and rebuild. 


zeynebj2's picture
zeynebj2 October 23, 2015 - 5:01am

why live close to floods when they know that will happen i wouldn't live near rivers or ocean. this story teaches me that i shouldn't live near that place or not go that place

henryk's picture
henryk October 22, 2015 - 3:29pm

That was terible

Magicasey's picture
Magicasey September 11, 2015 - 11:47am

yikes thats bed, i was a baby

sruthi1's picture
sruthi1 September 8, 2015 - 4:16am

hey! I am learning about it at school, this will help

Daimeona Delaney's picture
Daimeona Delaney September 2, 2015 - 2:50pm
It was so sad for all those people who lost there life's I wasn't even born yet but it's good to know that the government had came up with the fema system cause now it can help and save more lifes.
Tryn28's picture
Tryn28 August 31, 2015 - 4:47pm

it was pretty bad

ninas2's picture
ninas2 August 31, 2015 - 4:26pm

Dear Mr.Clark
I read Hurricane Katrina. I learned that 2,000 people died. I learned that lots of people lost there homes.

ciaobella's picture
ciaobella August 31, 2015 - 4:55am

Wow! I was only two when that happened! That was so long ago!