Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in late August 2005, was one of the most devastating storms in U.S. history. Afterward, Gulf Coast states and the federal government attempted to rebuild. The effort in Louisiana was called the Road Home, a program primarily designed by the state, run by private contractors and funded with grants from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. The video explains how efforts toward a comprehensive and speedy recovery were compromised at virtually every turn. While some areas of New Orleans did come back, others did not. Another devastating storm, Hurricane Sandy, followed in 2012; recovery efforts were mired in the same difficulties.
Hurricane Katrina’s Aftermath and Lessons in Dealing with Disaster
Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, and Louisiana’s troubled housing recovery has shaped the response to every major disaster since, including Hurricane Sandy.
This week’s Retro Report video tells the story of Louisiana after Katrina – not the levee failures, FEMA’s infamous trailers, or the legal battles with insurers, but the long process of rebuilding homes. The effort in Louisiana was called the Road Home, a program primarily designed by the state, run by private contractors, and funded with grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Using archival footage and recent interviews with former Governor Kathleen Blanco, current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and others familiar with the program, the video explains how the best intentions for a comprehensive and speedy recovery were compromised at virtually every turn. Funding was constrained by Congress, the application process was bogged down by red tape and delays, and by the time homeowners did get money they often got far less than what they needed to rebuild. The legacy of the Road Home in New Orleans is one of two different recoveries. While some areas of New Orleans did come back, others did not. Now, with many states still trying to rebuild since Hurricane Sandy hit last year, officials involved agree – the lessons from Katrina’s housing recovery must be learned.
Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans and other communities along the Gulf Coast in 2005, causing nearly 1,400 fatalities and billions of dollars in damage. New Orleans, which ranges in elevation from 20 feet above sea level to approximately 6 feet below sea level, was devastated when the levee system designed to protect the city failed.
A plan was formed to rebuild the city and provide federal funding to support residents, but inefficiencies and paperwork slowed the process. Areas lower on the socioeconomic scale experienced continued inequalities in funding. Many people had to move to other cities along the coast. Today, much of New Orleans has still not fully recovered or rebuilt.
While there were lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, many of the problems reoccurred when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012. This video focuses on how residents should be supported after natural disasters, and how federal relief funds should be managed.
Students will learn about Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, examining the effects a major hurricane can have on communities.
- Describe the effects a major hurricane can have on communities.
- Explain the ways in which the United States government and individual states respond to a crisis caused by natural disasters.
- Discuss the balance between fraud prevention measures and efficient distribution of relief funds.
- After an environmental disaster, how should relief funds be managed?
- How should the government balance fraud prevention measures and timely distribution of financial aid?
- How can the response to natural disasters be improved?
- Transcript for “Hurricane Katrina’s Aftermath and Lessons in Dealing with Disaster” (Retro Report)
- Hurricane Katrina (George W. Bush Presidential Library/National Archives)
- Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (National Hurricane Center)
- Historical Hurricane Tracks (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
- Mapping Katrina and Its Aftermath (The New York Times)
- National Council for the Social Studies C3 Framework
- D2.Civ.1.9-12.Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of local, state, tribal, national, and international civic and political institutions.
- D2.Civ.5.9-12.Evaluate citizens’ and institutions’ effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
- D2.Eco.1.6-8.Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
- D2.Geo.4.6-8.Explain how cultural patterns and economic decisions influence environments and the daily lives of people in both nearby and distant places.
- D2.Geo.5.9-12.Evaluate how political and economic decisions throughout time have influenced cultural and environmental characteristics of various places and regions.
- D2.Geo.6.9-12.Evaluate the impact of human settlement activities on the environmental and cultural characteristics of specific places and regions.
- D2.Geo.7.9-12.Analyze the reciprocal nature of how historical events and the spatial diffusion of ideas, technologies, and cultural practices have influenced migration patterns and the distribution of human population.
- D2.Geo.10.9-12.Evaluate how changes in the environmental and cultural characteristics of a place or region influence spatial patterns of trade and land use.
- D2.Geo.12.9-12.Evaluate the consequences of human-made and natural catastrophes on global trade, politics, and human migration.