A man driven from his home by Hurricane Katrina carries an unconscious boy past a row of National Guardsmen outside the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, where many residents took shelter when the storm hit the Gulf Coast on August 29th, 2005. Shots were fired and a near riot erupted at the arena as thousands who had taken shelter there fought to board the buses for the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.
As the country copes with the horrific flooding from Hurricane Harvey along the Texas coast, we remember another storm with a now infamous name - Hurricane Katrina. 12 years ago tonight, a dire warning went out from the National Weather Service predicting that the incoming Category 5 hurricane would leave much of the New Orleans area with catastrophic damage and anyone exposed to the elements would be killed. Initially, it was thought that the region had dodged the worst of the damage, that was until the sun rose on a city under water. 1,836 people would not survive Katrina’s wrath, over a million people would be displaced, and the City of New Orleans, and for that matter, America as a whole, would never be the same. We look back on this night 12 years ago and remember those we lost, honour those who jumped into the murky waters to save others, and uplift those who lost everything but their life. We promised never again… perhaps it is time to renew that effort.
I had the great pleasure to work on the very challenging cover for yesterday’s New York Times Book Review. At this 10th year mark of Hurricane Katrina, the review dedicates itself to books and shorts about the lives in New Orleans after the disaster.
At first, I wanted to depict the social and racial inequalities that has been exposed by the water line which is still haunting the recovery. But in the end we decided to show more defiance/perseverance/celebration after the waters receded.
After I came up with new sketch V.2, I realized I really miss the mix-match perspectives in my original V.1 sketch, hence the V.3 which was picked for the final.
Do you think there is a moral purpose to your fiction?
I am not sure about that. I see myself more as a kind of investigator, a scout who is sent on ahead to see if the water is drinkable or not.
As a scout or investigator you've been uncannily prescient, famously predicting Reagan's presidency in The Atrocity Exhibition, and I noticed that one commentator made reference to The Drowned World in the aftermath of the New Orleans disaster. Have you ever worried that you might be too prescient?
An investigator and a sort of early warning system, let's put it like that. I suppose one of the things I took from my wartime experiences was that reality was a stage set. The reality that you took for granted — the comfortable day-to-day life, school, the home where one lives, the familiar street and all the rest of it, the trips to the swimming pool and the cinema — was just a stage set. They could be dismantled overnight, which they literally were when the Japanese occupied Shanghai and turned our lives upside down. I think that experience left me with a very sceptical eye, which I've turned onto something even as settled as English suburbia where I now live. Nothing is as secure as we think it is. One doesn't just have to think of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans — this applies to everything.
This is what I see every time I walk out my front door. That pole doesn’t look like much. It doesn’t look important or like it imparts a lot of information. It doesn’t look like a monument to one of the worst disasters in U.S. history.
But that is what it is. That pole, with its green-blue glass ring and painted base are the last marker of the levee flood levels on Elysian Fields Ave. A few more blocks down and you reach the Mississippi river. These poles are spaced every few blocks up the 5 mile distance of Elysian Fields from the Mississippi river to Lake Pontchartrain. Mine is the last and lowest. When you reach the lake the green-blue glass ring and paint stretch far above your head.
These poles are an understated monument. There is no bronze plaque that explains what they symbolize. There is nothing to tell people what happened or how many people lost their lives or everything in their lives. There are no crying statues or pictures. There are only these silent poles.
The watermark poles aren’t for tourists. They are for the people of New Orleans. They stand as a simple and stark reminder of what happened to the City and her people. We don’t need explanations or pictures or crying statues. The City, her streets, and her people remember those all too well.
On the 9th anniversary: Strength and best wishes to all who were affected by Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood, and in remembrance of those who didn’t survive the disaster and its disastrous aftermath.
Photos of the Gentilly section of New Orleans by Infrogmation of New Orleans.
1st photo: November 2005, standing water and muck in the street among ruins of houses, 2 months after the city was reopened.
2nd photo: “Deaf Government Area”, modified street sign by weed-grown uninhabitable formerly flooded houses, 1st anniversary of the disaster.
Hurricane Katrina hit landfall on August 29th, 2005. It was the costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States. Katrina caused severe destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas with the largest number of casualties occurring in New Orleans, Louisiana. 10 years on, much has improved but there are still parts of Louisiana in the process of recovery.
Klaroline: Care gets bit and Klaus doesn't get there in time to save her.
On the angst scale, this rates “Melissa Would Not Approve.” And yes, the capitals are necessary. Because she would really not approve.
I’ll Love You Forever
She had never wondered how she
human, her own mortality had never been something she had considered. What seventeen year old wonders how she’s
going to die, after all? And once death
was a thing to be feared… well, she was a vampire. It wasn’t supposed to be something she worried
it would have been nice to go out in a blaze of glory.
stared up into Hayley’s cold gaze, and hated a bit that it was this particular werewolf that would be
nothing personal,” the brunette told her.
“But I need leverage.”
Klaus. That’s why this had
come to New Orleans, leaving behind the disaster zone that was Mystic Falls,
because after turning off her humanity, she’d realized that she didn’t need
Bonnie with her assurances that she wasn’t a monster, or Stefan with his
promises of waiting when Caroline hadn’t asked him to.
needed someone that knew the darkest parts of themselves and embraced them,
because she needed to learn how to do the same.
She had spent weeks in her home town, mourning Elena and Liz, and
feeling as though she were drowning, and finally she had left to seek out
Klaus, because he knew all about darkness and how to embrace it.
she had found him and a baby, and now she was going to die because that baby
was also Hayley’s, and Klaus never had learned how to share very well.
just kill her,” said another one of the wolves, part of a group that seemed to
hold Hayley up as some sort of ridiculous queen.
wondered if they knew about 12 Hybrids and a massacre that had destroyed Tyler’s
life… or if they simply didn’t care.
Many Americans living along the Gulf Coast do not need an anniversary to reflect upon Hurricane Katrina. The natural disaster caused overwhelming hardship for thousands, irreparably damaging houses, businesses and entire cities. Katrina left a legacy that they will never forget.
Yet for some, the ten years since the hurricane has blunted Katrina’s gravity. While we may know that the hurricane was one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, it is hard to put that into perspective. Memories of the event are largely a blurred hodgepodge of political criticism, stories of survival, and the ever-ongoing recovery effort.
The images of Katrina reflect the power of photography. A camera, whether manned by a government photographer or casual bystander, captures a moment in time. At the National Archives, our goal is to preserve these moments. We preserve photos so generations to come will be able to look back on events like Hurricane Katrina and understand its impact on American lives.
Ten years removed, the photos remind us of two things. First, is the unprecedented impact of the hurricane. Images of overturned boats, demolished houses, and shattered windows remind us (for those that need reminding) of the magnitude of the storm. Yet also, and perhaps more importantly, we are reminded of the way our nation came together in the aftermath of Katrina. In these photos, the bravery of rescue workers, volunteers, fire fighters, and ordinary people shines through. Faced with crisis, Americans united to help one another.
The photos above come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In the weeks following the hurricane, FEMA photographers documented the physical and social impact of the storm. These photos, and others related to Hurricane Katrina, can be found in the National Archives Catalog.
For more historical background on the levee system and flood control along the Gulf of Mexico check out the recent blog post, Taming the Mississippi.
[Hurricane Katrina] New Orleans, LA, August 29, 2005 – The breach in the 17th Street canal levee causing flooding in the city following Hurricane Katrina. Photographed at 6:43 PM. Marty Bahamonde/FEMA, 8/29/2005
Hurricane Katrina made its second landfall in the United States on August 29, 2005, striking Louisiana and neighboring states as a Category 3 hurricane. It devastated the city of New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast region, causing over $100 billion dollars in damages and was responsible for an estimated 1,800 deaths. It ranks as the costliest natural disaster, and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.