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's blazingly hot outside and five summer fellows from the Tulane City Center are standing in a playground at a youth center in New Orleans. The architecture students diplomatically describe the playground's design as "unintentional": There's no grass, trees or even much shade, and it's surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The students, both graduate and undergraduate, are there to make the playground a little nicer.

"Right now, it feels like a prison," says Maggie Hansen, the center's interim director.

Anniversaries call for exhibitions, and art museums across New Orleans felt compelled to remember Hurricane Katrina as the 10th anniversary of its landfall approaches. But the anniversary shows at some of the city's most high-profile museums seem surprisingly understated, at least to outsiders' eyes. In fact, they barely seem to be about Katrina at all.

In 2009, then-Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki declared that all homeless veterans would have housing by year's end. New Orleans has made huge strides towards ending veteran homelessness in the city. (This story first aired on August 4, 2015 on All Things Considered.)

In a lush green bayou a little southeast of New Orleans, John Lopez and Howard Callahan are cruising the waterways in an airboat under the hot Louisiana sun on a recent day.

It's an area known as Breton Basin, and Callahan is a local land manager who often helps researchers such as Lopez explore environmental changes in coastal wetlands. The pair head to a concrete and steel structure that separates the bayou from the nearby Mississippi River.

Gordon Cagnolatti, District Chief, New Orleans Fire Department, discusses the creation of the West Bank compound — which came to be known as the “Katrina Hilton” — where the NOFD regrouped after the flood waters rose.

Interview by Mark Cave for The Historic New Orleans Collection, January 24, 2006.

Jesse Hardman

This week on All Things New Orleans, WWNOs weekly local magazine:

Eve Abrams helps us explore some often used but misunderstand labels being placed on New Orleanians who arrived AFTER the storm. We share our latest episode of our podcast, Katrina: The Debris, focusing on mental health and disasters.

LDWF, Via Historic New Orleans Collection

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

A small credit union brings Hope to New Orleans

Aug 5, 2015
Noel King and Caitlin Esch

Bill Bynum, the CEO of Hope Credit Union, has a couple of striking pictures hung on the walls of his Jackson, Mississippi, office.

Student performance has improved in the years since Hurricane Katrina, according to researchers at Tulane University. The Education Research Alliance released new findings on Tuesday.

The report looks at student performance on state tests. It finds a typical student's scores rose 8 to 15 points.

Christian and Grace Wilson Birch began dating in the summer of 2008 and were married in the fall of 2013.
Grace Wilson Birch

After New Orleans flooded in 2005, documentary filmmakers flocked to the city to tell its story. The city was still getting back on its feet when a film crew spoke with Grace Wilson Birch, a communication associate for the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

When the movie was finally released, Grace was depicted as being in the dark about economic disparities in New Orleans. She remembers watching the film reluctantly with Christian Birch, her boyfriend at the time.