Hurricane Katrina resulted in massive loss of life and billions of dollars in property damage. There are many lessons worth learning from this event. Finger pointing started before the event was over. Most of the focus on Hurricane Katrina was on its impact on New Orleans; however, the storm ravaged a much wider area than that. This paper will briefly summarize the event, the impact on the city of New Orleans and the lessons learned to ensure preparedness today.
Formed off the Bahamas August 23, 2005 and after crossing Florida as a category one hurricane, Katrina entered the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm. Once in the gulf, she stalled, gained strength ...view middle of the document...
Nagin hesitated when he should have given the order. The “delay by officials in ordering a mandatory evacuation for New Orleans until 19 hours before landfall caused preventable deaths and great suffering” (Williams, 2006). Even without a clear implementation of the evacuation order, many did leave New Orleans. Those left behind now faced Katrina and her aftermath with no means of leaving the city.
News crews looking to fill their twenty-four hour news cycle broadcast images from New Orleans before, during and after Hurricane Katrina came ashore. One thing the images clearly demonstrated was that New Orleans was flooding because the levee system protecting the city failed. Unfortunately, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Army Corps of Engineers were unable to communicate effectively with each other and could not confirm the status of the levee system. “Reports of flooding during the storm and its immediate aftermath, especially from poor neighborhoods were discounted or ignored” (Lerner, 2013) which only added to the “highly critical evaluations of both federal and state responses to the storm” (Lerner, 2013). While America watched on Fox News, Cable News Network (CNN) and the other news networks, New Orleans was clearly flooding with no immediate effort made to contain or repair the broken levees giving the city a bit of relief.
What Went Right
While the national media stuck to whatever agenda they had in conveying their post-Katrina message, one giant rescue operation went on seemingly unnoticed at the time. While twenty-five thousand body bags stood at the ready earmarked for the expected dead in New Orleans, “one of the largest rescue operations in history saved more than fifty thousand people by boat and helicopter. The Coast Guard and other military units, volunteers, and state and local first responders delivered thousands from death by drowning, dehydration, heatstroke, fire, starvation, and disease” (Dolinar, n.d.). While FEMA’s Michael Brown, Louisiana Governor Blanco, and New Orleans Mayor Nagin fumbled the response to the hurricane, the United States Coast Guard and the Louisiana National Guard along with local first responders all successfully executed search and rescue operations in...