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.

It was known as the "Swankiest Night Spot in the South" and considered one of the most famous clubs in the network of black cabarets known as the "Chitlin' Circuit." During the era of segregation, it was the cultural mecca of black New Orleans — what the Savoy Ballroom was to Harlem. Little Richard, a frequent performer there, even composed a song about the place.

Undeterred by the devastation, second line clubs returned to New Orleans a few months after the flood, determined to uphold the city's cultural traditions. This photo is of the 2009 Prince of Wales second line parade.
Jason Saul

Well, we’ve made it. Almost. It’s been a long, hot summer and this is our last episode as we come up on the tenth anniversary of Katrina.

The city is abuzz with journalists and experts and NGOs and politicians. We thought we’d use this last bit of The Debris to explore a word they’re all using to talk about New Orleans: resilience.

Angela Chalk lives right in the middle of New Orleans, in the 7th Ward. Her house withstood Hurricane Katrina's pounding winds, but not the flood that followed when the federal levee system failed.

"I had 6 feet of water," she says, pointing to a watermark on her wall.

And she wasn't alone. About 80 percent of the city's homes were inundated with floodwater. It was weeks before the water receded and Chalk was able to return home.

When she did, what she found was a crusty brown mess.

After the levees broke 10 years ago in New Orleans, tens of thousands of residents fled the city and never returned. They resettled in 32 states around the nation, many of them landing in Houston.

New Home Family Worship Center also relocated to that city and became the spiritual family for a dislocated and homesick congregation. Most of the people who came to a special worship service Thursday night were born in New Orleans. With "Katrina 10" projected on the screen behind the altar, Pastor Robert C. Blakes introduced his special guest.

Ten years ago, Ethel Curry rode out Hurricane Katrina in her upended refrigerator as it floated near the ceiling of her home in East Biloxi, Miss. As it went higher, she used a fan blade to break the ceiling tile.

"The rafters were so small, I had to hold on to each side to keep my head above the water," recalls Curry, who is 70 now. "And I stayed there 5 1/2 hours, until the water went down."

Ian McNulty

As the 10th anniversary of the storm approaches, the echoes of Hurricane Katrina and resulting levee failures continue to affect individuals and businesses within the food industry. On this week's Louisiana Eats!, we begin our two-part series on the storm with stories about the aftermath of Katrina on local bars, restaurants and facilities; and learn how the community has come back in a big way.

Jesse Hardman

This coming week in New Orleans will be packed with press conferences and commemorations as the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s nears. The Lower 9th Ward, considered one of the city's most devastated neighborhoods a decade ago, is seeing more visitors than usual, including city workers and business investors.

Local apparrel and accessory company NOLA Til Ya Die.
Nina Feldman

New Orleans is a city with a lot of nicknames. It’s been known as the Crescent City, the City that Care Forgot and the Big Easy. But there’s a new kid on the block.

Over the course of the past 10 years the name "NOLA" has made its way into businesses, non-profits, websites and even the city government. And while no one doubts its convenience, not everyone is on board with the new shorthand.

As the nation approaches the 10-year anniversary of the destruction from Hurricane Katrina, it’s worth remembering that while New Orleans felt the eye of the storm, Katrina also left 238 people dead in Mississippi, and destroyed 230,000 homes in that state.

How did the Mississippi Gulf Coast recover after such devastation, and what lingering issues still remain? Evelina Burnett of Mississippi Public Broadcasting discusses this with Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd.

Leah Chase’s 65 years in the same New Orleans kitchen

Aug 21, 2015
Lizzie O'Leary and Jenny Ament

Since 1946, Leah Chase has been in the kitchen Dooky Chase's Restaurant in New Orleans. She’s served Quincy Jones, Jesse Jackson, Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, James Baldwin, Ray Charles, former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and many others.

Quite simply, she's a legend in the city. Her restaurant was flooded with 5 1/2 feet of water from Katrina and closed for two years. Now 92, she speaks with Lizzie O’Leary from her kitchen, where she still shouts out orders to her staff every day.