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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans five years ago

Five years ago tonight was when Hurricane Katrina roared ashore and beat the city of New Orleans to within an inch of its life. The photo is a now-famous one taken of the storm surge as Katrina made landfall.

Katrina started out life on August 23rd, 2005 as a tropical system in the southeastern Bahamas. It did substantial damage and caused a number of deaths as it went across the Florida peninsula. And then Katrina entered the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico... where it became the monster that would ultimately cause the worst natural disaster in American history.

Five years later and Katrina is being debated as hotly as ever. I thought at the time that the situation became one of the worst clusterf-cks ever for government at all levels (and both major parties, mind ya).

But there were also quite a lot of stories about the positive aspects of human nature as well that came out of Katrina. The tale of Jabbar Gibson - the 20-year old who stole a schoolbus to evacuate fellow New Orleans residents to the Houston Astrodome - was one of my favorites. So too was the bar in the French Quarter that never closed. And then there was the photograph of Nita LaGarde, 105 years old and in a wheelchair, holding hands with Tanisha Blevin, the 5-year old granddaughter of her nurse. LaGarde and Blevin had spent two days trapped in the attic of a house as the flood waters rose before being rescued.

(I still think that the Interdictor blog is going to make for one helluva movie someday, with the right screenplay and director behind it.)

There is something dreadfully fascinating about hurricanes. And if you were reading The Knight Shift at the time you'll remember well how, ummm... nuts I went in writing about Katrina.

Let us hope and pray that another such opportunity will be a long, long time in returning.


Anonymous said...

Hurricane Katrina NEVER hit New Orleans! I live here in Mississippi where "THE STORM" (as it is referred to locally) really made landfall. New Orleans got a lot of wind and of course got the water, but we got wiped out. The government has said time and again that Katrina was only a Cat 2 when it made landfall, that is a lie. My wind gauge was pegged out at over 125 mph when she came onshore. I lived through it, I rode out of here (Ocean Springs) on my Harley in the middle of it, and I survived.