This weekend is the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, and much of the Gulf Coast region. Perhaps the best way to start this post is to watch this video which I embeded from the nola.com Hurricane Katrina page. The video is a sunrise service (February 9, 2007) amongst residents of New Orleans, and was uploaded to the nola site by Michael DeMocker, The Times-Picayune.
|Sunrise Service at Katrina Memorial|
Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural disaster to hit the United States, and now after five years, the city of New Orleans has organized the fifth anniversary to reflect on the disaster, and to assess the progress on newly constructed infrastructure, on the repair and construction on the thousands of homes that were damaged or destroyed, and on ways to prevent the kind of flooding that devastated the city.
One resource to find information, media, and documented articles on hurricanes, and Katrina is the Times-Picayune newspaper, and in particular the work of two Pulitzer-Prize Winning reporters, John McQuaid and Mark Schleifstein. They co-authored the award winning 2002 5-part article, Washing Away, and published Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms in 2006. In their 2002 article they wrote:
It’s only a matter of time before south Louisiana takes a direct hit from a major hurricane. Billions have been spent to protect us, but we grow more vulnerable.
Of course south Louisiana was hit with a superstorm, Hurricane Katrina, and a year later McQuaid and Schleifstein wrote their book, Path of Destruction which described the devastation of New Orleans. As they report, levees and transportation led to the calamity in New Orleans. Their book combines geology, climate science, meteorology, and first hand accounts to help us understand Hurricane Katrina, the actions that government agencies took to prepare and deal with the coming storm, and the way local, state and federal agencies approached this catastrophic disaster. I highly recommend this book to help you understand the complexity of this natural disaster.
Right after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, I wrote Hurricane Katrina: A Citizen Resource to Further Our Understanding of Hurricane Katrina. The resource is an online resource and activity guide that teachers can use with their students to help them not only understand Hurricane Katrina, but hurricanes in general.
The legacy of Katrina is in the lives of the people who were affected by this devastating storm, and how people have worked to re-build the city, and their lives. Here are some further thoughts about Katrina as reflected in these pieces: