On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall just to the east of New Orleans. While the gigantic storm system had at one point been designated as category 5, the strongest level, at the time the Storm came ashore it was "only" category 3. If that had been the end of the story, there wouldn't have been much to tell -- just the "usual" amount of wind-related damage to trees, yards, roofs, cars, windows, with some minor isolated neighborhood flooding.
But all over the metro area, federal levees were overtopped, breached, and compromised, and water from Lake Pontchartrain poured into the city until the flood water level and the lake waters equalized, mid-day on September 1, 2005, inundating over 80% of the city and many outlying areas to the east, west, south, and north. (For more information and a clear representation of what happened, please refer to the interactive Katrina Flood Map designed by the Times-Picayune.
With the exception of a small area of high ground along the Mississippi River (sometimes called "the sliver by the river"), every neighborhood in New Orleans received flood water. Neighborhoods of middle-class and upper middle-class home owners were the quickest to rebuild. Areas where residents were poor, working-class or lower, or that were predomiminantly rental properties -- including low-income housing projects owned by the federal government were either the slowest to rebuild, or were demolished to make way for development, even if the properties could have been saved.
Recovery involves many different things -- the return of those New Orleanians who want to come home who were forcibly evacuated far away; the provision of affordable housing for low-income and disabled individuals and families; building levees and flood protections systems that are state-of-art and able to withstand a category 5 storm; the restoration of all neighborhoods; the establishment or re-establishment of the full Orleans Parish Public School system; saving wherever possible elements of New Orleans' unique architectural heritage and discreet neighborhoods; holding onto and building on New Orleans' cultural treasures in terms of food, music, and special holidays and celebrations; instilling a sense of earned trust in local leaders at all levels and the police department; instilling a sense of accountability to all citizens on the part of local leaders at all levels and the police department.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hurricane Katrina was the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. It was the sixth-strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the third-strongest landfalling U.S. hurricane on record. Katrina formed in late August during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and caused devastation along much of the north-central Gulf Coast of the United States. Most notable in media coverage were the catastrophic effects on the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, and in coastal Mississippi.
Due to its sheer size, Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast as far as 100 miles (160 km) from the storm's center. Katrina is the third major hurricane, and second Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic season.
It formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, and crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding there, before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico and becoming one of the strongest hurricanes on record.
The storm weakened considerably before making its second and third landfalls as a Category 3 storm on the morning of August 29 in southeast Louisiana and at the Louisiana/Mississippi state line, respectively...