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Louisiana Hurricanes

Images of Hurricanes from left to right, Audrey, Betsy, Camille, Andrew, Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike. Images used are in public domain, pulled from Wikipedia Commons.

Hurricane Katrina


Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. Its highest sustained winds measured at 175 mph and was the first category 5 storm to form in the Gulf of Mexico in 25 years. To date, Katrina is tied with Hurricane Harvey as the costliest Atlantic hurricane in history with $125 billion in damages across parts of the Bahamas, the Continental United States, and Canada. Between 1,200 and 1,800 fatalities are associated with Hurricane Katrina. Because of the catastrophic damage sustained, the unprecedented number of fatalities, and subsequent social, economic, and political consequences, the city of New Orleans has become inextricably associated with Hurricane Katrina.

Katrina formed as a tropical depression southeast of the Bahamas when the remains of an earlier tropical depression met a tropical wave. Within a day, it had strengthened to a tropical storm. On August 25, it passed over Florida as a small hurricane and into the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina rapidly strengthened, becoming a category 3 storm on August 27. Just after midnight on August 28, Katrina was upgraded to a category 4 storm. By 7:00 AM that morning, it had intensified to a category 5. At 10:00 AM, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued the first mandatory evacuation order in the city’s history. At 3:00 PM, a hurricane warning was issued for areas along the Gulf Coast. It is estimated that 80% of the New Orleans population heeded the warnings of the local and federal governments and evacuated. Those who did not have the means to do so were often located in areas of the city that were most heavily affected in the following weeks as floodwaters submerged much of the city. 

Katrina made landfall as a category 3 hurricane, with a storm surge of 12 ft, a wind speed of 125 mph, and 15 inches of rainfall. It is estimated that approximately 900,000 homes lost power throughout Louisiana, and many would remain without electricity, water, or gas for weeks to follow. Within hours of impact, more than 100,000 homes and businesses were flooded in the New Orleans area as floodwalls and levees began to fail in what the American Society of Civil Engineers called “the worst engineering catastrophe in US History.” Approximately 10,000 citizens and first responders took refuge in the New Orleans Superdome, which was equipped as a “shelter of last resort,” though conditions inside soon grew dangerous. Those stranded in their homes were left to wait for emergency rescue personnel. 

LSU Special Collections houses hundreds of materials pertaining to the storm’s impact in both New Orleans and surrounding areas. Further resources and subject headings are located on the pages for Katrina's Impact on Economy, Education, Environment, Politics, and Communities.

Key Subject Headings

Listed below are some recommended subject headings for searching for Hurricane Katrina. Full steps on how to use these subject terms can be found on this LibGuide's homepage.

Child disaster victims -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Coastal engineering -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Coastal zone management -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Disaster relief -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Disaster victims -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Disasters -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Emergency management -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Floods -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Hurricane Katrina, 2005, in art.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Economic aspects.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Environmental aspects.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- History.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Fiction.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Periodicals.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Personal narratives.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Pictorial works.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Poetry.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Political aspects.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Press coverage.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Social aspects.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -- Social conditions.
Hurricane protection -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Hurricanes -- Gulf States.
Hurricanes -- Louisiana.
Louisiana -- Hurricanes.
Natural disasters -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Rescue Work -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
Urban renewal -- Louisiana -- New Orleans

Additional Resources

Additional resources on Hurricane Katrina may be located at the following links.

Hurricane Images Banner information

Images in the banner from left to right are numbered below 1 to 8.

1. Hurricane Audrey  2. Hurricane Betsy  3. Hurricane Camille  4. Hurricane Andrew  
5. Hurricane Katrina  6. Hurricane Rita  7. Hurricane Gustav  8. Hurricane Ike

Images 1-4 are in the public domain because they contain materials that originally came from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, taken or made as part of an employee's official duties. 
Images 5-8 are in the public domain in the United States because they were solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See NASA copyright policy page.)

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