New Orleans – 10 years after Hurricane Katrina hit


Ten years ago one of the worst natural disasters in US history struck the people of the southern United States. In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on coastal regions in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. New Orleans was hit particularly badly, where the hurricane developed its full destructive power on August 29th.

The metropolis on the Mississippi was doomed by its geographical location directly on the Gulf of Mexico. Because there the hurricane rushing from the Caribbean quickly gained strength. Several breaks in the dyke system meant that 80 percent of the urban area was up to eight meters deep under water.

According to official reports, “Katrina” and its consequences killed 1836 people. The property damage amounted to approximately 108 billion US dollars. Thousands of people have been or are still missing. More than a million have been left homeless. Mass evacuations were the order of the day. In the weeks and months after the cyclone, a picture of death, destruction and despair emerged.

(Source: dpa)

New Orleans suburbs were flooded after the hurricane.

  (What: AP / dpa) (What: AP / dpa)

The city center of the metropolis on the Mississippi was also flooded (left). Today one of the city’s landmarks, the Superdome, shines in full splendor again (right).

  (Source: dpa) (Source: dpa)

“Katrina” destroyed thousands of houses and made as many people who lost all their belongings homeless overnight. Millions of people across the southern US region had no water or electricity for weeks.

  (Source: dpa) (Source: dpa)

The terrible street scene in New Orleans after the hurricane: A dead man lies in the French Quarter, where people usually partake and dance. The hygienic conditions were catastrophic, the risk of epidemics was spreading, and there was a bestial stench in the air.

  (Source: dpa) (Source: dpa)

As the water gradually subsided, the full extent of the disaster became apparent. Debris and scrap remained behind. New Orleans was a huge garbage dump.

  (Source: Reuters / Carlos Barria) (Source: Reuters / Carlos Barria)

The photographer Carlos Barria had then taken the pictures of the devastation, also in the northern suburb of North Shore. It shows local resident Michael Rehage on the roof of his mud-covered car. Today the quarter is habitable again.

  (Source: Reuters / Carlos Barria) (Source: Reuters / Carlos Barria)

Errol Morning sailed his boat across a flooded road on the outskirts of New Orleans after the hurricane. The idyllic sunset in the background seems somehow inappropriate in view of the dreary scenery. Cars are driving there again today.

  (Source: Reuters) (Source: Reuters)

Even so, many parts of New Orleans are still uninhabitable today. And nature also suffered severe damage: Many areas of life for flora and fauna were simply washed away. Chemicals, oil and pesticides in the water masses also led to mass animal deaths in water and on land.

  (Source: Reuters / Carlos Barria) (Source: Reuters / Carlos Barria)

A great escape from the city began. The people who had lost everything in the floods saw no future for themselves. But many people like Joshua Creek did not want to leave their homeland. They stayed, albeit in despair. Today the sun is shining again for many of them: the victims from back then who had not left simply rebuilt their city with their own hands.

  (Source: Reuters / Carlos Barria) (Source: Reuters / Carlos Barria)

Thanks to them, a positive picture prevails today: where the masses of water once raged and this woman could only save herself and her dog, there are modern office and shopping centers again. The population is also growing thanks to the many artists and dropouts who come to the liberal and warm New Orleans.

  (What: AP / dpa) (What: AP / dpa)

And so is life again in the hometown of Louis Armstrong. Meanwhile, many locals are also returning to the city, which is considered the cradle of jazz. And the tourists flock again in droves to the old town district of New Orleans and celebrate “Mardi Gras”, the traditional carnival. The traces of “Katrina”, however, cannot be covered. The hurricane will forever be associated with “The Big Easy”.


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