Hurricane Katrina

Key Facts

  • $81 billion of total damages
  • Was a Category 3 hurricane upon hitting New Orleans; reached Category 5 levels during peak
  • Max wind speeds of 175 mph and averaged 125 mph winds on land
  • The states of the U.S. affected included Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
  • The death count attributed to Hurricane Katrina solely in Louisiana reached 1,464 people (total death count: 1,833)
  • 80% of the city of New Orleans was completely flooded
  • 52% of Americans believed that not enough effort was given by the federal government toward the relief effort

Before and After Pictures

Major Immediate Events Timeline of Hurricane Katrina

Bush surveys the destruction left behind Katrina from Air Force One.
Bush surveys the destruction left behind Katrina from Air Force One.

Friday, August 26
  • Governor Blanco of Louisiana declares state of emergency
  • Gulf Coast states request troop aid from the Pentagon

Saturday, August 27
  • Governor Barbour of Mississippi declares state of emergency
  • Governor Blanco asks President Bush to declare a federal state of emergency in the state of Louisiana
  • President Bush declares federal state of emergency in Louisiana; FEMA officially given jurisdiction and responsibility to "provide at it's discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency"

Sunday, August 28
  • (7AM CDT) Hurricane Katrina officially declared Category 5 hurricane
  • 9:30AM CDT - Mayor Nagin of New Orleans orders mandatory evacuation of the city
  • Afternoon - President Bush, FEMA Director Michael Brown, and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff warned by National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield of potential levee failure around the city of New Orleans
  • Louisiana National Guard requests 700 evacuation buses from FEMA; only 100 provided

Monday, August 29
  • (Approx. 7AM CDT) Hurricane Katrina makes first landfall in U.S. as Category 4 hurricane
  • Morning - President Bush informed of levee breaches; both Brown and Mayfield warn Bush of imminent flooding threat due to levee breaching
  • President Bush discusses immigration issues with Chertoff in a telephone call
  • President Bush shares birthday cake photo-op with Arizona Senator John McCain
  • (11AM CDT) - Michael Brown finally requests first 1,000 DHS employees to provide aid in the Gulf; employees expected to arrive within 2 days

Tuesday, August 30
  • U.S. Marine Wasp-class vessel, U.S.S. Bataan, full of medical resources, food, and drinking water lies untapped offshore in the Gulf of Mexico aside from some initial helicopter rescues dispatched from the ship

external image USS_Bataan_(LHD-5)%3B10080504.jpg

Wednesday, August 31
  • First national guard troops arrive two days after the order to deploy, to deliver aid and rescue stranded evacuees
  • FEMA cannot muster enough ambulances for medical treatment
  • Conditions in the Superdome become violent, unsanitary, and chaotic; refugees are subject to crime, dehydration, and disease
  • Governor Blanco desperately requests more troop aid from President Bush
  • Head of DHS, Chertoff expresses satisfaction with overall relief effort of federal government
  • FEMA director, Michael Brown issues statement expressing surprise regarding the strength and size of the storm

Thursday, September 1
  • President Bush claims no knowledge of levee insufficiency prior to the storm making landfall, despite receiving warnings just a few days earlier
  • Still no official leadership/organized relief system
  • Brown claims no knowledge of widespread violence through New Orleans; finally learns of evacuees in the convention center
  • Mayor Nagin cries out in "desperate SOS" to federal government for evacuation buses, food, and shelter aid

Friday, September 2
  • Karl Rove leads campaign to blame local officials and contain political damage to the Bush Administration with regards to the hurricane response
  • President Bush arrives in New Orleans to witness firsthand the relief effort and repairs to the levees; "I am satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with the results."

Bush poses with firefighters for photo-op
Bush poses with firefighters for photo-op