ABSTRACT

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana as a fast-moving Category 3 hurricane at 6:10 am on Monday, August 29, 2005. Of the populated areas that constitute Greater New Orleans (GNO), 80% of Orleans Parish, 99% of St. Bernard Parish, and approximately 40% of Jefferson Parish were flooded, in some cases for weeks. This flooding cost the lives of more than 1500 residents. Over 100,000 families were rendered homeless, the great majority of whom had heeded evacuation orders, making this disaster the worst since the 1927 Mississippi River flood in terms of homes destroyed. Many observers have noted similarities between the patterns of surge-induced flooding that occurred during Katrina and the previous storm of record, Hurricane Betsy in 1965 (van Heerden, 2007). The GNO hurricane protection system (HPS) was, in fact, intended to prevent a repeat of the Betsy disaster, but this system failed during Katrina with a 20-fold increase in loss of life (van Heerden, 2007).