Hurricane Katrina

Find stories from WWNO, NPR and our partner stations as we explore New Orleans and the Gulf South 10 years after Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Photographs of New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward line a wall in a local art gallery.  It’s the images Danita Bright captured of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.  


Surreal and devastating, one particular picture draws my attention.

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans today is smaller than when the storm hit, with 110,000 fewer people than the nearly half-million who had lived there. But the city's recovery is a story that varies with each neighborhood. In some neighborhoods, like the Lower Ninth Ward, many residents never returned. Others, like the French Quarter, have seen many newcomers and now have more households than they did in 2005.

Right after Hurricane Katrina, tens of thousands of people rushed from New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The influx of evacuees and recovery crews was a recipe for road congestion. Traffic volumes hit 25-year projected growth overnight. There was gridlock in Louisiana’s capital city.

The head of the federal agency for volunteering and service says Hurricane Katrina created new ways of thinking about disaster response for volunteer organizations.

St. Bernard Fire Department via The Historic New Orleans Collection

This month, as part of WWNO's ongoing Katrina 10 coverage, we bring you The Katrina Files: Reflections from First Responders. This series is based on oral histories conducted by The Historic New Orleans Collection and hosted by Paul Maassen.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Ten years after Katrina, the Army Corps of Engineers says it is ready for the next big one. The Corps has built new levees, floodwalls and gated structures over the past decade to protect the city and its people.

As we mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast and killed more than 1,800 people in August of 2005, Here & Now listens back to some of the memorable moments from the storm and the news coverage.

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This week on the Reading Life:  Katherine E. Browne, author of Standing in the Need: Culture, Comfort and Coming Home After Katrina, and bestselling author Libba Bray, whose new book in The Diviners series for young adults is Lair of Dreams. And Susan has a few thoughts about summer reading.

New books about Katrina in 2015:

We’re Still Here, Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City, by Roberta Brandes Gratz

Katrina: After the Flood, by Gary Rivlin            

Residents of the Lower 9th Ward attend an unveiling a plaque marking the location of the levee break.
Jesse Hardman


The catastrophic flooding of the Lower 9th Ward now has a commemorative marker.

A plaque was erected last night by 

It’s at the site where a floodwall protecting the neighborhood collapsed, unleashing a wall of water 10 years ago during Hurricane Katrina.


In the immediate days after Hurricane Katrina, Ben Rongey’s father gave him a special pass which gave him full access to Jefferson Parish. At the time he was a high school senior and acted accordingly: he called his friend Wyatt Higgins so they could explore the city together.

They smooth-talked a National Guardsman, crossed into Orleans Parish, and headed for Wyatt’s house. Flood waters prevented them from driving into the Gentilly neighborhood, so they parked the car and walked the final trek.