New Orleans is one of few major
cities that is loved by many with its tourists’ attractions, cultural
diversity, food and music. Like most cities, New Orleans has faced numerous obstacles
over the years that have hurt many. Hurricane Katrina was the start of an awful
journey in the 21st century that changed lives. Although most
citizens in New Orleans thought hurricane Katrina was harmless, it became a
category five hurricane and affected many people’s lives and families.

On August 25, 2005, hurricane
Katrina first started off as a tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida,
it made landfall around Miami and became a category 1 hurricane. In Florida,
Katrina killed fourteen people and gained strength when entering the Gulf of
Mexico. Between the 26 and 28 of August it directed its way towards Louisiana
and became a Category five hurricane. August 28 the storm was a category five
hurricane with wind speeds of 175 mph and wind gusts of 220 mph. Katrina landed
for its second time in Buras, Louisiana and slowed down to a category 3
hurricane. There were multiple evacuation warnings throughout Louisiana
especially in New Orleans.

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When the storm moved its way
towards New Orleans, Louisiana over 430,000 people with vehicles tried to avoid
the storm by using primary roads and 10,000-30,000 used secondary roads to
escape the storm. The hurricane forced many nursing homes and hospitals to make
a hard decision about evacuation. Out of all the nursing homes in the area
twenty-one nursing home evacuated and thirty-six did not. Shelters were set up
around the city, two schools were set up in St. Bernard Parish also the
Superdome was set up as a shelter. The Superdome was one of the shelters that
was most popular and held a large number of the people who were still in New
Orleans. Boyd estimates that “of the 72,000 people who remained in the city
after the evacuation an estimated 26,000 individuals sheltered in the Superdome”
(Jonkman 678).

finally made landfall on August 29 and caused mass flooding through the city of
New Orleans. As a result of the storm, Katrina caused many levee breaches which
caused most of the flooding, there were over 50 failures in the levees and
flood walls in the city. In the matter of two days 80 percent of New Orleans
was under water. The floodwater broke water and sewer lines and overwhelmed
fire, police, and public health stations. Workers were frightened after levees
broke because materials would start to mix and create a dreadful substance. In
Morrish’s article he explains that “toxic material mixed with feces and turned
into a dangerous mixture that was in the water that went into building walls
and yards of homes” (Morrish 994). In New Orleans only there were 120,000 houses
that were flooded and stayed underwater for weeks and neighborhoods remained
flooded again after hurricane Rita hit in September of 2005.

these weeks in New Orleans, the city received major attention from many public
news outlets, nearby cities, and the government. Kathleen Blanco, the governor
of Louisiana requested the president of the time George W. Bush, for 40,000
troops to come down to Louisiana and help people who were in need. After Blanco
asked for help she never heard a response from him and questioned if anyone was
actually going to assist them. After Katrina, the superdome was a shelter for
people in need and whose houses got destroyed. When new arrivals showed up to
the Superdome they figured out that it was locked and would not be letting
anyone else into the building. For example, in Don Brown’s book Drowned city:
Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans he says, “FEMA promised that there would be
five hundred buses for the evacuation of the stadium but until they showed up
to rescue 3,000 victims would wait at the convention center.” (Brown 66)

rescuers were on their way to help and serve on boats guns fires were shot at
them. They did not know if it was a signal for rescue, random shooting or sniping
so they take precautions and the rescue process slows down and many people are
still struggling at flooded houses. Numerous people are starving and waiting
for help from workers, FEMA does not know if the ordered supplies ever got to
New Orleans and a navy hospital ship was chased away. During this time, many
survivors did not know what to do, their children were starving and so were
they. After a while, people who had never stolen in their entire life were
breaking into shops just to get a simple snack, drink, or just somewhere to
stay until someone came to help.

the havoc in New Orleans rumors spread through the whole city, but the citizens
would not figure these rumors out until weeks later. For example, rumors like
hundreds of dead in the superdome, gang assaults on children and alligators
swimming down the streets. These rumors made people in New Orleans question if
the city was still as safe as it used to be. In the Superdome things were not
great for survivors, there was a bad stench from bodies and urine and bowel
movements that was all throughout the floors of the building. Many people were
suffering in the aftermath of the storm and the government was not helping.

was so dreadful in New Orleans that citizens were trying to escape the
devastation and go to next city Gretna but, they would not take them in. When
citizens got close to the city line they were stopped by police and told to
turn around. Even when people who were in need and desired for help, citizens of
the same state did not want to take them. Low income families who were already
struggling to live before Katrina hit were fighting just find a place to sleep
and stay above water. September 4 around 78,000 people who did not have a home
to go back to or did not know where to go were relocated to shelters all across
the nation.

months after the landfall of Katrina many people were still affected in many
ways. Countless of people in New Orleans still found it hard to restart the
business and locate basic health care. Citizens could not get access to
affordable housing and were sleeping in their cars and would drive long ways to
get to their jobs. It was hard for everyone to restart their lives not knowing
if this same thing was going to happen. Several people compare New Orleans to
Las Vegas, thousands of low-income families hide behind the lights of an
amazing city. To this day, citizens who were affected by hurricane Katrina are
still struggling to get by with health problems, housing and jobs.