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Last Updated: Nov 20, 2015 URL: Print Guide

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About This Guide

This guide commemorates the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005.  A storm surge rivaling that of Camille (the 1969 hurricane by which many residents of Mississippi and Louisiana measured their level of danger and fortitude) left Gulf States flooded and wiped out large areas along the Louisiana and Mississippi coastlines.  The situation was exacerbated by collateral damage such as the catastrophic failure of levees and canals in New Orleans, the incursion of huge casino barges that settled on Mississippi Gulf Coast neighborhoods and Highway 90 and the delayed response (by four days) of FEMA and the National Guard.  1,836 people lost their lives in the storm and its aftermath.  In August 2010, while many residents of Mississippi and Louisiana have resettled and rebuilt, both states continue in their recovery efforts. 

Overview: Documenting How Far We've Come and Where to Go From Here



Adapted from National Geographic Hurricane Katrina: The Essential Timeline.


The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, issues its first advisory about the tropical system that will become Hurricane Katrina.  Final report from the National Climatic Data Center


9:30 a.m.: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issues a mandatory evacuation order. Tens of thousands of New Orleans residents begin streaming out of the city.  VIDEO:  Massive Evacuation and Evening Hours  

VIDEO: Why New Orleans is Vulnerable to Hurricanes

11 a.m.: Hurricane Katrina has mushroomed into one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to form in the Atlantic. The storm's strongest winds are blowing at about 175 miles an hour (280 kilometers an hour), making it a Category Five storm. The center of the storm is about 225 miles (360 kilometers) from the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Late Sunday night: Thousands of New Orleans residents who are unable to leave town or have chosen not to leave seek shelter in the Louisiana Superdome.  VIDEO: Superdome During Katrina Hurricane


5 a.m.: The hurricane's strongest winds are now about 150 miles an hour (240 kilometers an hour), and its eye is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) from New Orleans and about 120 miles (195 kilometers) from Biloxi

8 a.m.: Mayor Ray Nagin reports that water is flowing over one of New Orleans's levees.

11 a.m.: The hurricane's eye comes ashore again near the Louisiana-Mississippi border. The storm's strongest winds are about 125 miles an hour (200 kilometers an hour). Katrina's front-right quadrant—which contains its strongest winds and peak storm surge—slams into Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, with devastating force, destroying much of both cities.

Meanwhile, a major levee in New Orleans has failed.  Water is pouring through the 17th Street Canal, and the city is beginning to flood.  FLASH FLOOD: Hurricane Katrina's Innundation of New Orleans

3 p.m.: The center of the hurricane is about 20 miles (30 kilometers) west of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Its winds are down to about 95 miles an hour (155 kilometers an hour).

VIDEO: Hurricane Katrina Animation


During the day: Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt declares a public health emergency in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Meanwhile, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco orders that all remaining residents leave New Orleans . But buses and trucks aren't available to carry out the order. 

VIDEO: Day 4

Photos: Agony Reigns in Katrina's Aftermath


During the day: A convoy of U.S. National Guard troops and supply trucks arrives in New Orleans and distributes food and water to residents stranded at the Superdome and convention center. Congress approves 10.5 billion dollars (U.S.) in aid for Hurricane Katrina rescue and relief, and President George W. Bush signs the bill. 

The work of repairing the city's levees, pumping out the floodwaters, and finding homes for tens of thousands of displaced residents is underway.

"1 Dead in Attic" by Chris Rose, Nov. 15, 2005.


Prior to the Recovery Act and the release of federal stimulus funds, a glance at the web site for Governor Haley Barbour shows that the word "Recovery" in the state of Mississippi still referes to recovery from Hurricane Katrina. 

AUGUST 4, 2010

The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center releases its report "The New Orleans Index at Five."

AUGUST 26, 2010

Governor Haley Barbour relseases the annual progress report on Katrina recovery for the state of Mississippi: “Five Years After Katrina: Progress Report on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal.”

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