Hurricane Katrina

And it's impact on New Orleans, The Gulf, and the Nation.

Hurricane Katrina

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina had struck the Gulf Coast. It was a Category 3 storm and it had wind speeds up to 140 miles per hour. Levee breaches caused lots of flooding. Many people in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama were evacuated from their homes, and the hurricane had resulted $100 billion dollars spent to repair.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans was at risk for a few reasons. Though most of the city was above the sea level, the cities average sea level was -6. Not only that, but the city is completely surrounded by water! Through the 20th century engineers built levees to prevent flooding. The ones blocking the Mississippi River was strong, but the ones blocking Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne were much less sturdy. August 28, the day before it hit, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued a mandatory evacuation, the city's first time ever doing so. he also declared the Superdome, the stadium which the New Orleans Saints played at, would serve as a shelter for those who were unable to leave the city, as it was higher above sea level. By midnight, 80% of the city's population evacuated, leaving approximately 112,000 people to stay. 10,000 of these people sought out the Superdome for shelter. Others planned the stay home and wait for the water to recede.

The Gulf Coast

The tropical storm formed over the Bahamas about a week before hitting New Orleans, and fortunately meteorologists were able to warn people in the Gulf Coast states that a major storm would soon come. The National Weather Service predicted that after the storm hit, "most of the Gulf Coast are would be inhabitable for weeks...perhaps longer."


Not only had it effected Louisiana and other states, but it had effected the whole nation. Not physically, or not as physically as the Gulf Coast, but America had spent $100 billion due to repairs. The storm destroyed the levees that had protected New Orleans from hurricanes and floods. What makes Katrina unique to other storms to actually cause damage to the whole nation is that Katrina wasn't a local storm. It completely shut down one of the nation's main ports as well. The Gulf had accounted for 17% of the country's refining capacity and 1/4 of its daily crude output. With the Gulf accounting for the abundance of crude oil, about 92% of oil production was shut down for weeks after the storm.