August 29, 2005: Hurricane Katrina Devastates New Orleans

It hit New Orleans particularly hard, killing 1,464 people in that city alone. Government criticized for slow response. 

By Gina Tron

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On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made its second landfall as a category 3 hurricane. The weather event caused massive devastation to the Gulf Coast, resulting in the deaths of 1,836 people. It hit New Orleans particularly hard, killing 1,464 people in that city alone. The storm surge caused approximately 23 breaches in levees in New Orleans, and the result is said to be one of the worst engineering disaster in the history of the United States. Soon, 80% of the city famous for Mardi Gras and cajun food was underwater. Residents who did not evacuate were trapped. Survivors later reported watching bodies floating down and lying in streets. Many of the corpses were left in the sun and water for days before being found.

During the hurricane's aftermath, many news outlets focused on looting and violence. It was later determined that some reports were false, including claims that rescuers were being shot at by snipers and gangs were shooting police officers. 

The slow federal response to the tragedy was largely criticized. Michael Brown, Bush administration’s FEMA director when Katrina hit, resigned after taking a lot of the blame. President Bush was also criticized for not returning from a vacation until more than a day after the hurricane hit and many believed the government would not have been as slow to respond had the citizens of the affected area not been underprivileged. 

[Getty Images]


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