The devastation of Hurricane Katrina left the city of New Orleans in shambles on August 29, 2005. Continuous winds and tidal surges left homes, buildings, and other locations completely under water. Katrina is now known as the 'worst engineered disaster in United States History.' So why was New Orleans such a target for Katrina? New Orleans is located on natural low ground along the Mississippi River. Thus, more than half of the area is at or below sea level. Unfortunately, as Katrina hit, the levees and flood walls began to collapse. The entire area was completely surrounded by water causing buildings and homes to dismantle very quickly. There were evacuation notices a few days before the storm hit that covered more than 1.2 million people. However, some natives refused to leave their homes and were placed in the Superdome which was used for a shelter at the time.
Before Katrina actually hit, it was projected to remain just east of New Orleans. As meteorologists learned more, a warning was sent out to all individuals that the area was going to be hit causing serious damage. Flooding was the main concern of those in the area. It was projected that after the storm, there would be standing water between knee and waist level covering the entire city. This unfortunately came to be a reality and the amount of time to remove all of the water from New Orleans and the surrounding area seemed endless. There were other factors that they had to consider. Most houses, even those that were well constructed were not only submerged, but damaged from the gusty winds as well. Businesses and shops around the area were facing the same problems. Additionally, debris caused another potential threat. Rain, wind and flooding caused contamination and disorder throughout the city and surrounding areas. Aside from the evident deaths caused by the sheer force of the storm, people became nervous about hygiene and contamination of the water and air. Lack of clean drinking water and other supplies left the people of New Orleans in a severe state of emergency.
Those who suffered the loss of their homes, possessions, businesses and even family members had to regain a sense of strength in order to overcome the tragedy they faced. It took a nation wide effort to begin to rebuild the city that was so badly damaged. Two years later progress has been made in reconstructing the victims' lives and homes, but many arease remain untouched.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.