This study analyzes the exigency readiness of the metropolis of New Orleans, Louisiana prior to Hurricane Katrina doing landfall in August 2006. It aims to place both positive and negative facets of the metropoliss emptying readiness and to find if metropolis contrivers had adequately prepared for a catastrophe or if they were perfectly negligent in their duty to protect their occupants.

Hurricane Katrina began as Tropical Depression 12 on August 23rd, 2005 near the Bahamas. It so headed towards Florida and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Katrina on August 24th. It continued to beef up as it headed towards Florida and was upgraded to Hurricane position merely a few hours before its initial landfall on the east seashore of the province on the forenoon of August 25th. In a perfect universe, the narrative of Katrina would hold ended here. Unfortunately, that is non the instance. After go throughing over Florida, Katrina had weakened to a Tropical Storm, but rapidly regained Hurricane position about an hr after hitting the warm Waterss of the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina continued to beef up when it hit the Loop Current, traveling from Category 3 to Category 5, with sustained air currents of 175 miles per hour, in less than 12 hours ( Knabb, Rhome, & A ; Brown, 2005 ) .

On August 29th 2005, at 6:10am, Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, Louisiana as a Class 3 hurricane, down from Category 5 merely the forenoon earlier, as a storm more than 120 stat mis across ( Knabb, Rhome, & A ; Brown, 2005 ) . Katrina did non lose hurricane strength until it was 150 stat mis inland, near Meridian, MI, and even so affected weather all the manner up into Canada in September 2005 ( Knabb, Rhome, & A ; Brown, 2005 ) . Ultimately, Hurricane Katrina ended up doing $ 81.2 billion in harm and deluging 80 % of the metropolis of New Orleans ( Olsen, 2005 ) .

New Orleans Hurricane History

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The metropolis of New Orleans has been hit by major hurricanes several times over the history of its being. The writer will merely discourse a choice few of the storms that occurred between 1900 – 2005. In 1909, the Grand Isle Hurricane struck New Orleans as the first recorded Category 4 storm to hit the metropolis. As a consequence of this, there were false studies in several newspapers that the Gallic Quarter was “ swept off ” ( News Special Service, 1909 ) . There were a sum of 309 coal flatboats sunk, every bit good as many other ships wrecked and places destroyed ( News Special Service, 1909 ) . The Grand Isle Hurricane caused deluging similar to that experienced during Katrina, but there were n’t every bit many places in the country so loss of life was limited.

The New Orleans Hurricane of 1915, a Category 4 storm, besides struck Grand Isle but did non see extended inundation harm until Lake Pontchartrain backed up into the metropolis ‘s drainage system. The increased capableness of the metropolis ‘s drainage pumping, nevertheless, prevented even more harm from happening. The metropolis ‘s Sewage and Water Board recommended edifice higher levees to protect against future hurricanes ( Earl, 1915 ) .

There were seven other hurricanes that caused major deluging to New Orleans between 1915 and 2001, clearly attesting the demand for effectual hurricane readiness planning for the metropolis. Hurricane Betsy struck in 1965 ensuing the major redesign of the levee systems in New Orleans. The Flood Control Act of 1965 directed the Army Corps of Engineers to plan a levee system formidable plenty to defy the largest hurricane expected in the country ( 89th United States Congress, 1965 ) .

In 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ) identified New Orleans enduring a hit from a major hurricane as one of the top three menaces to the state ( Berger, 2001 ) . Subsequently on in 2001, the Houston Chronicle predicted that a Category 5 hurricane would hit the metropolis and would go forth it under 20 pess of H2O, destroy the places of 250,000 people, and kill 10 per centum of those left in the metropolis. They published this article as a disclosure that evacuees from New Orleans would probably stop up in Houston ( Berger, 2001 ) .

In 2004, the Army Corps of Engineers produced a study discoursing the feasibleness of building a levee system designed to defy a Class 5 hurricane hit to Southeast Louisiana. The study noted that Congress authorized financess for this undertaking in 1971, but that it was halted in 1977 due to environmental groups protesting because it was destructing wetlands. It stated that the event was probably a 1-in-500 twelvemonth event and that a hurricane like Betsy was more likely. The study asserted that the metropolis ‘s current levee system could probably defy it, but if even one levee was breached the consequences could be “ ruinous ” ( Lincoln, 2004 ) . This study stated that it would take 10 – 20 old ages to finish and would probably be a cost sharing attempt between the Federal authorities and the Louisiana State Department of Transportation and Development ( Lincoln, 2004 ) .

Hurricane Pam

Hurricane Pam was an exercising developed by FEMA, the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the National Weather Service, and Innovative Emergency Management, Inc. It was an eight twenty-four hours exercising, conducted in July 2004, designed to project the effects of a slow traveling Class 3 hurricane hit to New Orleans. The conjectural storm would ‘ve caused 600,000 edifices to prolong harm and supplanting of up to one million occupants ( TIME, 2005 ) .

Plan Execution and Outcomes

Despite all of the planning and studies from old ages before, the metropolis of New Orleans did non follow their programs ( Olsen, 2005 ) . The metropolis had several assets available for reacting to, or extenuating the loss of life prior to, a major hurricane doing landfall but did non decently use many of those assets. The writer will discourse some of these issues, but by no agency is this an across-the-board list of New Orleans failures in Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said “ ” Get people to higher land and have the Federals and the province airlift supplies to them — that was the program, adult male. ” ( TIME, 2005 ) Further probe would demo that the program was a spot more elaborate but, in kernel, that was the effect.

The existent program depended to a great extent upon the Mayor, saying that he was finally responsible for the metropolis in instance of catastrophe. It besides delineated his duties for emptying. He issued a voluntary emptying at a imperativeness conference less than 30 hours prior to Katrina ‘s landfall, non about adequate clip for the metropolis ‘s occupants to safely evacuate. At the imperativeness conference, when asked why he was non publishing a compulsory emptying he said that he was holding his staff reappraisal whether or non he could ( TIME, 2005 ) . The metropolis ‘s program clearly stated that the city manager was able to publish compulsory emptyings, and in fact had the duty of making merely that, if necessary, to protect the metropolis ‘s dwellers.

New Orleans to a great extent depended on emptying to salvage lives in the event of a major hurricane. The metropolis efficaciously utilized a traffic recreation program, called contraflow, to change by reversal the lanes of traffic traveling into the metropolis, thereby efficaciously duplicating the capacity of the outbound lanes of the main road. New Orleans reported that 80 % of the metropolis successfully evacuated utilizing this system ( TIME, 2005 ) .

The other 20 % of the metropolis was unwilling to travel, elderly, hapless, or had other particular demands. The program for these groups of people was to use a fleet of 550 metropolis coachs, along with 100s of school coachs, to help those unable to transport themselves out of the metropolis ( Olsen, 2005 ) . The metropolis did non follow this program, alternatively they utilized local coachs to transport people from merely 12 pickup points to designated shelters of last resort. One of these shelters included the Louisiana Superdome.

The Superdome did non run into the American Red Cross criterions for shelters of last resort, so they did non demo up to assist ( TIME, 2005 ) . The fact is that metropolis functionaries knew that the Superdome did n’t run into the criterions and took no action to construct another shelter or restitute the bing one ( TIME, 2005 ) .

Plan Effectiveness

The metropolis of New Orleans hurricane response program would hold probably been uneffective for forestalling the monolithic implosion therapy to the metropolis no affair what they did, short of complete redevelopment of their outdated levee system. The emptying and shelter programs, nevertheless, could hold been really effectual if utilised decently. All of those metropolis buses that sat under H2O could hold been transporting ill, aged, hapless, and other people with particular demands to suited shelters to sit out the storm.

The metropolis could hold, and should hold, renovated their shelters, particularly the Superdome, after all of the grounds over the old ages. The Hurricane Pam exercising should hold demanded immediate action by local and province functionaries. History frequently repeats itself and a expression back at the history of New Orleans clearly shows that it can non manage big hurricanes. It can hardly manage a Class 3 hurricane, which is what Katrina was when it made landfall. The stronger hurricanes in 1909 and 1915, you ‘ll detect about 100 old ages ago, travel to demo that New Orleans has been hit by Category 4 storms. The benchmark for most major catastrophes is 100 old ages, so logic says that New Orleans is due for a major hurricane sometime shortly.


Since Katrina struck in 2005, New Orleans has implemented several new catastrophe readiness steps. One of which is NoLaReady, a Text and Email messaging service that sends out watchful and evacuation information to occupants who have signed up for it. The levee systems are besides being redesigned to defy Category 5 storms and defy 100-year inundation degrees ( Angelle, 2010 ) .

Besides of note, the wetlands around New Orleans used to supply natural protection against hurricanes. The edifice of the metropolis ‘s levees destroyed the natural silt production capablenesss of the environing wetlands. Because of this, the Army Corps of Engineers has undertaken a undertaking to reconstruct and prolong wetlands by deviating the Mississippi River ‘s fresh water, deposit, and foods. This will help in protection of the metropolis during future hurricanes ( Angelle, 2010 ) .


The writer recommends an thorough public dealingss run for the aforesaid electronic mail and text messaging qui vive system. As of August 2010 the metropolis had merely 13,000 occupants signed up for this plan ( Angelle, 2010 ) . Besides, publishing timelines for emptying would be ideal. If the city manager had a pre-planned response to adhere to so the response would hold run much more swimmingly. The writer suggests evacuating as stopping point to 72 hours as possible, but surely non less than 48.

Because New Orleans has a big population of occupants without autos, the metropolis should develop to using those metropolis coachs that they had set aside for aid. Renovation of the Superdome, and perchance building of an entirely new bowl is decidedly in order. The metropolis should hold it certified by the Red Cross so there is no confusion. One thing they could make is do it a joint venture between the Red Cross, the province, and local functionaries to guarantee that everyone ‘s demands are met.

The most of import thing for New Orleans metropolis contrivers to understand is that their first respondents, particularly those that are to drive the coachs to acquire others out of the metropolis or to suited shelters, is that they are traveling to take attention of their households foremost. Therefore, the writer suggests guaranting that those first respondents, and their households, are good equipt and trained for what to make in the event of a catastrophe.

Finally, another public dealingss run for developing the whole metropolis on how to fix for, and respond to, a catastrophe on the graduated table of Hurricane Katrina is in order. Many metropoliss have runs such as this and they work really good.


While this study paints an ugly image of New Orleans preparedness prior to Hurricane Katrina, the good intelligence is that the calamity created a batch of lessons learned for our state, and truly the full universe. Congress passed the 2006 Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act trusting to better communicating and cut down the lives lost in future Katrina like storms ( Angelle, 2010 ) . The act includes commissariats for increasing support of Urban Search-and-Rescue squads and offers grants to promote metropoliss to revise their exigency direction programs ( Angelle, 2010 ) . The writer would wager that New Orleans occupants are much more likely to mind the warnings of their province and local functionaries now that Hurricane Katrina came in and ripped apart the lives of much of their population.

Hurricane Katrina was a awful calamity. The bright side of this calamity is that exigency direction organisations and be aftering squads worldwide have benefitted from the fiasco that was the metropolis ‘s response. While the loss of life due to Katrina was atrocious, the good that came of it will profit world for decennaries to come.


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