Hurricane Katrina

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U.S. Politics
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Persons of interest
Brownie,Wikipedia you're doing a heck of a job!
George W. Bush[1]

Hurricane Katrina formed in the end of August 2005, tripped lightly over Florida, then turned into a monster that on August 28 drowned most of the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, most notably the city of New Orleans.[2] Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, 1392 known fatalaties and the waterlogged wreckage remains behind in a great many areas with total damages estimated between $97.4 billion to $145.5 billion.

Barry CowsillWikipedia gave up on life and died in this fiasco.

Foolishly Expecting Meaningful Aid[edit]

Katrina in particular is known for New Orleans's, Louisiana's, FEMA's, and the Army Corps of Engineers's utter failure to provide evacuation capabilities before the storm, build strong enough levees, and provide adequate relief aid in the immediate aftermath, despite the National Weather Service delivering a pinpoint-accurate prediction of Katrina's impending advance and a historically graphic severe weather warning that turned out to be far more true than not.[3] However, a lot of this has to do with the state government essentially refusing to allow FEMA to work with state first responders which caused severe communication problems between different state and federal organizations, and the state government refusing to allocate resources to the maintenance of the levees after the Army Corps of Engineers warned the governor about the need for serious renovation. (States' rights, yay?)

Some of the blame can also be put on the federal government (and the Department of Homeland Security in particular) reorienting FEMA towards dealing with terrorist attacks after 9/11 at the expense of dealing with natural disasters[4]

Some alleged that Hurricane Katrina was the result of global warming, as if there were no other hurricanes before the Industrial Revolution. This gave fodder to global warming denialists to suggest on every cool or cold day that global cooling was now taking place.

While most of us looked on with horror as the storm advanced, using our trivial Internet abilities, apparently, the people charged with dealing with such catastrophes — as part of their job description — were busy with more important things. Like privatizing emergency disaster relief?

Political fallout[edit]

Black people drowning? No problem!

Ironically and perhaps counterintuitively, Hurricane Katrina hurt the Democrats much more than the Republicans. While it did hurt Bush's approval rating, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco wisely decided not to run for reelection in face of certain defeat. Bobby Jindal, who was defeated in 2003, went on to win resoundingly in 2007. Democratic district attorney Eddie Jordan of New Orleans resigned right before the 2007 elections. Henry "Junior" Rodigruez Jr, the president of St. Bernards Parish and an outspoken critic of the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, lost reelection by 18% to the Republican in 2007.

While Democrats may argue that this was simply because of anti-incumbentism, Republican Haley Barbour of Mississippi won reelection decisively in 2007 and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who while a Democrat had previously endorsed George W. Bush and Bobby Jindal, had squeaked by in a reelection campaign against the Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu, also brother of United States Senator Mary Landrieu. In fairness, there was one Republican who did lose reelection by 4% in 2006, New Orleans city council member Jay Batt.

While John McCain lost to Barack Obama in 2008, some of McCain's strongest results came from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama... guess no one on the Gulf really cared about the birthday party that Bush threw for him back in 2005.

Conspiracy theories[edit]

Some truthers believe that the levees were exploded to purposefully flood the black areas of New Orleans.[5]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. 'Can I quit now?' FEMA chief wrote as Katrina raged, CNN
  2. Which, ironically, was a Category 3 storm when it reached the city. (Katrina had recently been a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane, and the immense energy deposited in waves and the storm surge took time to dissipate.)
  3. Katrina forecasters were remarkably accurate, NBC News
  4. Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security by Christopher Cooper and Robert Black (2006). Henry Holt. ISBN 978-0-8050-8130-5.
  5. Louis Farrakhan: “I heard from a very reliable source who saw a 25-foot-deep crater under the levee breach, it may have been blown up to destroy the Black part of town and keep the White part dry.” [1]