August 29 - 2005 - Hurricane Katrina Makes Landfall

Hurricane Katrina was a massive hurricane, Category 5 at one point and astonishingly wide across, but what made it the costliest hurricane in American history was that it hit almost directly on New Orleans. Originally hitting South Florida as a Tropical Storm, Katrina stalled out in the Gulf of Mexico and picked up strength. Although Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, and coastal portions of Alabama were given evacuation orders, many people were left, particularly in New Orleans. New Orleans sits below sea level between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River, guarded by a series of levees. The extreme storm surges and high winds meant most of the city was underwater. Some people found shelter in the Louisiana Superdome, but others were left to fend for themselves in flooded, resource-less areas. The death toll would be estimated at over 1,200 people, and the damages topped $100 billion. The reaction and recovery to the storm became highly problematic, and the actions of government agencies were a serious issue, involving negligence and violence. Most importantly, the city of New Orleans did not really recover in full from Hurricane Katrina.

William Floyd