How a City Slowly Drowned

1950 Words8 Pages
New Orleans was originally founded on high ground overlooking the Mississippi River, above sea level. Also surrounded by Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne, New Orleans was susceptible to hurricanes that would come up the coast into the Gulf. Originally New Orleans was naturally protected by “coastal swamps that helped absorb the energy of storm surges before they reached dry land.” (Stillman 228) At this point Americans were more concerned with the floods that happened annually from the Mississippi River. In the early days, settlers built a mile long levee to block overflows from the mighty Mississippi while landowners constructed their own levees. “In 1879, Congress created the Mississippi River Commission” (Stillman 228) in…show more content…
This was holding up legislation that could have been approved to proceed with levee upgrades and the coastal restoration plan. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast at daybreak, “pummeling a region that included the fabled city of New Orleans and heaping damage on neighboring Mississippi. In all, more than 1,700 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of others displaced.” (Laforet, New York Times) Packing 145-mile-an-hour winds as it made landfall, the category 3 storm left more than a million people in three states without power and submerged highways even hundreds of miles from its center. The hurricane’s storm surge — a 29-foot wall of water pushed ashore when the hurricane struck the Gulf Coast — was the highest ever measured in the United States. Levees failed in New Orleans, resulting in political and social upheavals that continued a half decade later. (Laforet, New York Times) In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, fires broke out, corpses were in streets, looting was taking place around the city, floor waters became toxic with sewage and gas. US Army Corps of Engineers came in to pump New Orleans dry; this was a continuous operation. (video: The Lost City of New Orleans: A Case Study) Organizations such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, National Guard and others helped the relief effort with housing,
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