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.

Hurricane Katrina sent a 30-foot wall of water crashing into coastal Mississippi, and the small town of Waveland, Miss., near the Louisiana border, was one of the hardest-hit places. For 10 years now, its residents have struggled to rebuild in the face of multiple obstacles.

Standing on the second-floor balcony of Waveland City Hall, Mayor Mike Smith points out what used to be on Coleman Avenue, the main downtown thoroughfare: "There was a building right here on the corner, and then there was a drugstore and some shops on the right-hand side. ..."

Jon Cleary's songwriting is pure New Orleans. The pianist and singer has absorbed every last bit of sound from the Mississippi delta. But here's the thing: Cleary was born and raised in England.

Skylar Fein had only lived in New Orleans for a week before Hurricane Katrina nearly tore it apart. He'd moved there to go to medical school, and found himself wandering around a wrecked city. "It's really hard to describe to someone who hadn't seen it what the streets looked like after the storm," he recalls.

Fein is among other New Orleans artists exhibiting work in shows commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 2005 storm. One thing he has in common with some of the other artists: They weren't artists before the hurricane hit.

Many of the families that were forced out of public housing by Hurricane Katrina now use government vouchers to subsidize their rents elsewhere. That shift was supposed to help de-concentrate poverty in the New Orleans area, but it hasn't worked as planned.

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How can you tell if a city has come back from a tragedy as devastating as Hurricane Katrina?

Ten years after the levees failed in New Orleans, and the waters of Lake Pontchartrain, whipped up by Hurricane Katrina, flooded most of the city, New Orleans residents say there's been much progress since then.

A new NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that a majority surveyed — 54 percent — says New Orleans has mostly recovered, measured by returning population, new housing, jobs, infrastructure and quality of life.

On Sept. 15, 2005, two weeks after Katrina and the levee breaches, I drove with my parents into New Orleans. It was my 25th birthday.

We used my press pass from The Village Voice to get past a military checkpoint so we could assess the damage to their home near Tulane University. It turned out to be minimal: a few slate tiles off the roof, tree limbs downed, a putrid refrigerator full of rotting food to drag to the curb.

Richard Campanella

Each month we talk with Richard Campanella about his Cityscapes column for Times-Picayune. This month the Professor of Geography at the Tulane School of Architecture reflects on the idea of natural disasters and their historic impact on New Orleans.

While Katrina’s 10th Anniversary is taking center stage right now, WWNOs Jesse Hardman sat down with Campanella to talk about another famous hurricane, in 1722, that allowed French city planners to completely redesign the city.

When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 most residents evacuated safely. But thousands lost homes, careers, and the lives they had known. Since then, many seem to have recovered emotionally from the trauma. But some have not.

Katrina kid: Growing up after the flood

Aug 14, 2015
David Brancaccio and Katie Long

It's been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina and the flood-of-floods struck New Orleans. In the following decade, the city has transformed it public schools, housing, and business community. Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio traveled to the city to explore what these vast changes mean for New Orleans and the country. 


Baskets of perfectly seasoned deep-fried chicken sizzle during lunch hour at Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans, a city famous for its food. But the real magic happens early in the morning, when Leah Chase, 92, arrives to prepare the day's specials.

"I made meatloaf today. Smothered pork chops. I did oyster and artichoke soup," says Chase.

Dooky Chase is a landmark in the city's historically African-American Treme neighborhood.