New Orleans Recovering from Katrina

Holly Wageley, Staff Writer

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Southern North America and the Caribbean.  It was one of the most destructive and costliest hurricanes in recent history only sharing it with Hurricane Harvey costing a whopping 125 billion dollars in damage. What has been done to decrease the chances of another natural disaster wrecking so much havoc on major US cities? How has New Orleans recovered almost thirteen years later?

Tracking a hurricane’s path is very difficult and meteorologists usually rely on complex storm modeling to find out where it will hit.  Most storms occur during hurricane season which is from June to November. North American hurricanes usually originate in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Africa.  There are many factors which make these storms increase in size and power. One example is the Gulf of Mexico’s Loop Current which is a stream of warm, deep water that can provide a tropical storm with enough power to become a category four or five hurricane within a very short period of time.  Destruction of wetlands by digging pipelines made even less of a barrier to weaken a hurricane before it hits populated areas.

The area most affected by Katrina was New Orleans, due to the entire city being located below sea level.  The only things protecting New Orleans were levees and seawalls to prevent flooding. Eventually, the storms power caused some of the levees to fail, which caused parts of the city to flood.  Many victims of the storm had their homes destroyed, causing them to be relocated to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, as it became a “shelter of last resort” for those unable to leave the city. The Lower Ninth Ward was severely damaged in this storm leaving many homeless.  After the storm many humanitarian groups worked together to rebuild the now devastated city to its former glory. Over twelve years later, the city has fully recovered and rebounded.

After the hurricane finally subsided, the Federal Government, FEMA, Red Cross and many other groups took action on what could be improved to prevent another catastrophic event. The investigation showed that multiple levees failed due to being dug too shallow into the ground so water could easily seep under them.  The floodwalls and levees have all now been repaired, redesigned and rebuilt, so there is lessened chance of major destruction. State and local governments had to remove large amounts of debris blocking roadways and disabling communication systems. New homes were rebuilt for the many affected residents.

A New Orleans streetcar passing through the central business district, an area previously over flooded. Photo by Holly Wageley

Not only did nationwide organizations pitch in to aide New Orleans during that time, but Broad Run helped out by funding hurricane recovery organizations.

 The spirit of giving to those in need has not left Broad Run.  Recently, Broad Run raised money for Hurricane Harvey by bringing donation buckets to football games and throughout the school.  The money collected went to adoption and care of pets abandoned in Texas due to rapid evacuation of flood zones.

Today, New Orleans has become a great example of recovery and a city coming together after tragedy.  Mardi Gras, a staple of New Orleans culture, is celebrated with more enthusiasm than ever. New Orleans has become a hotspot for tourism once again.