• Category 5 hurricane dropped to category 3 or 4 when it hit land.
  • Death toll over 1,000.
  • Estimated damage of $120 Billion sets a record, surpassing the old record of $50 billion in 2005 dollars from Andrew (1992). Reconstruction costs could be up to $200 Billion.
  • Main states affected Lousiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Deaths in Florida also.
  • Eye passes 10 mi. to the west of Bay St. Louis and Waveland, MS causing severe wind damage and flooding from a storm surge of up to 30 ft.. Many homes close to the gulf were swept away leaving no trace except the foundation.
  • Electricity was lost for 1.5 - 2 million homes and businesses.
  • Storm surge of 28-30 ft sets a record, surpassing Camille (1969), 24.6 feet.
  • Over 20,000 of the estimated 50,000 to 100,000 New Orleans residents who remained or could not get out were sheltered in the SuperDome where part of the roof was blown off.
  • Two levy breaks flooded 80% of the city of New Orleans much of which is below sea level.
    - Many are forced into their attics as the water rises
  • 100,000 people moved to the Houston Astrodome.
  • The state of Texas is estimated to have taken 150,000 to 220,000 refugees.
  • In the French Quarter, made up of Napoleonic-era buildings with wrought-iron balconies, the damage was relatively light. It is on higher ground and escaped most of the flooding.
  • Most of the oil pipelines and refineries escaped major damage. The main problem is lack of electrical power for pumps and other equipment.
    However, 20 oil rigs and platforms are missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Hurricane pushes oil past $70 US a barrel.
  • At least two hazardous waste sites are underwater and it is unclear as to the types and quantities of chemical toxins that have been added to the bacteria in the flood waters from sewerage and other sources.


  • June, 2004 - IEM (Innovative Emergency Management) tasked with "the development of a catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for Southeast Louisiana and the City of New Orleans under a more than half a million dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA"
  • July, 2004 - Ivor Van Heerden, a hurricane researcher from Louisiana State University who ran a hurricane preparedness exercise -- eerily predicted what could subsequently happen if a major hurricane hit Louisiana, and purportedly prepared and informed FEMA and The White House for this contingency "to help officials develop joint response plans for a catastrophic hurricane in Louisiana".
    Van Heerden said "the federal government didn't take it seriously."
  • Thu. Aug 25 - Katrina (Still a Category 1 storm) made landfall along the Miami-Dade and Broward Counties in Florida. 7 killed.
  • Sat. Aug 27 - the National Hurricane Center in Miami extended a Hurricane Watch for Louisiana and President Bush declared a state of emergency in Louisiana.
  • Sun. Aug 28 - Katrina intensified into a Category 5 giant over the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico with sustained 160-mph winds and 190-mph gusts over the Gulf.
    - Manditory evacuation order isssued. Many New Orleans 480,000 residents get out as all highway lanes are converted outbound traffic.
  • Mon Aug 29 - The storm drops to category 4 as it hits land in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
  • Tue Aug 30 - One of New Orleans protective levees buckled beneath the weight of water from nearby Lake Pontchartrain and broke open in two places allowing water to flow into New Orleans, much of whichh is below sea level. In 15 minutes the water rose 16 feet. It was up to 16-20 feet deep in places. 80% of the city is flooded.
    Looting breaks out.
  • Wed Aug 31 - New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin said of the potential death toll "Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands." They were still concentrating on search & rescue.
    - The Mayor estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people remained in New Orleans.
    - Houston announces it will open the Astrodome for refugees including 23,000 confined to the stuffy, smelly Superdome.
    - Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco has ordered everyone in New Orleans - many of whom have been huddled in the Superdome and other rescue centers - to leave.
    - "We are looking at 12 to 16 weeks before people can come in," said Mayor Ray Nagin.
    In Jackson, MS, the state capital located about 75 miles north of the coast power is still out in most of the city, There are long lines for gas, food and ice.
    Early estimates of damage is $26 Billion
  • Thu Sep 1 - Refugees start arriving at the Astrodome.
    Construction workers are shot at. (New Orleans has the highest murder rate in the country.)
  • Sat Sep 3 - Louisiana senator David Vitter awarded a "grade F" to the response to the crisis. He said of the possible death toll: "My guess is that it will start at 10,000, but that is only a guess."
    President Bush conceded that the rescue effort was "not acceptable".
  • Sun Sep 4 - Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said of the death toll "I think it's evident it's in the thousands".
    As the water started to recede they started searching for bodies from streets to attics.
  • Mon Sep 5 - Water is receding but is still over 10 ft. deep in places.
    Michigan, Iowa, West Virginia and nine other states offer to take refugees.
    The official death toll was now 246. Mayor Nagin said the toll could reach 10,000.
    A breache in the levee have been sealed and water is being pumped out of the city. It will take up to 3 months to drain all the water.
    Less than 10,000 holdouts remain in the city.
    New Orleans, Deputy Police Superintendent Warren Riley said 400 to 500 officers on the 1,600-member police force are unaccounted for. Other reports said many turned in their badges and left.
  • Tue Sep 6 - Additional breaches in levees were sealed. The flooding has been reduced from 80 to 60% of the city. It could be drained in 2 to 2 1/2 mos.
  • Thu Sep 8 - $52 billion in aid approved by Congress.
  • Fri Sep 9 - Death toll reaches 424. 211 in Mississippi, 197 in Louisiana, 14 in Florida and 2 in Alabama.
    The official overseeing the relief operation, vice-admiral Thad Allen, said rescuers were finding fewer bodies in New Orleans than expected as they pursue a door-to-door search.
    - Public health officials announced that five hospitals were up and running in New Orleans, with a total capacity of 500 beds.
    - The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children said 1,600 children were still listed as missing by their parents, or were seeking their families.
    - Gary LaFarge, head of the Port of New Orleans, said the facility suffered serious damage but not as bad as feared, and could be back to normal in four to five months. Twenty per cent of US imports and exports pass through the port, a source of jobs for 100,000 in the region.
  • Tue Sep 12 - "Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Brown resigned Monday after coming under fire over his qualifications and for what critics call a bungled response to Hurricane Katrina's destruction.
  • Tue Sep 13 - The death toll is now 664 as the toll in Louisiana climbed to 423. At least 236 people were reported dead elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, most of them in Mississippi.
  • Thu Sep 15 - 1/2 of water is gone. It should all be pumped out by the end of Sept.
    In a speech from New Orleans, President Bush said: "Federal funds will cover the great majority of the costs of repairing public infrastructure in the disaster zone, from roads and bridges to schools and water systems,"
    He conceded "the system, at every level of government, was not well coordinated and was overwhelmed in the first few days."

    He proposed:

    • The creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone. "Within this zone, we should provide immediate incentives for job-creating investment, tax relief, loans and loan guarantees for small businesses.
    • Federally funded worker recovery accounts of up to $5,000 for evacuees to spend on job training, classes or child care during the hunt for employment.
    • Plans for a Urban Homesteading Act, which would make some federal property free to some poor families through a lottery system.
  • Thu Sept 15 - The death toll climbed to 795 after Louisiana officials raised the number of confirmed fatalities in that state to 558.

    There were 218 dead in Mississippi and 19 deaths confirmed in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee

  • Wed Sept 21 - The death toll climbed to 1,037. 799 in Louisiana, 219 in Mississippi and 19 deaths confirmed in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
  • Sept 23 - Hurricane Rita approaches the LA coast west of New Orleans and heavy rain plus an 8-foot storm surge sends water pouring over two patched levees in New Orleans flooding the 9th Ward, up to the roofs of some houses. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates that the new flooding has set levee repair back by two to three weeks.
  • Sept 27 - New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass announces that he will resign after a 30 to 45 day transition period.
    Mayor Nagin welcomes residents back to the Algiers neighborhood, but warns of a 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew and limited services. Nagin also advises returning residents to bring enough food and water to last "an extended period of time" and to have current tetanus shots before entering the area. in which the police force was hit by desertions and disorganization.
  • Sept 29 - Death toll increased to 1,132
  • Oct 14 - Death toll is 1,275. 1,035 bodies had been recovered in Lousiana; 350 of them still remained unidentified. The Mississippi death toll was at 221 at the beginning of Oct. plus 19 dead in other states.
  • Oct 15 - FEMA is close to their goal of getting everyone out of shelters into more permanent housing, although more than 4,000 remained in shelters.
  • Oct. 22 - Stats show 60% of the victims were over 60 years old.
  • Oct. 24 - An estimated 235,000 Hurricane Katrina victims are still living in hotels as they wait for temporary housing, the Red Cross said Monday as it announced that it was turning administration of the hotel program over to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • Oct. 29 - Fifty-one members of the New Orleans Police Department were fired for abandoning their posts before or shortly after Hurricane Katrina.
  • Dec. 1 - The 9th ward, where the worst flooding occurred, was opened for the first time for residents to look and leave. Most of it will have to be rebuilt from the ground up.
See Timelines at: indybay.org/

How to Help:
American Red Cross, (800) 435-7669 or (800) HELP-NOW.
Salvation Army
Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund
Catholic Charities, (800) 919-9338.

Home Video
Kennard Jackley rode out the storm in his house at 265 Carr Dr, Slidell LA, on the shore of lake Pontchartrain just north of New Orleans. He videotaped the storm and his neighbors houses floating away.
Purchase Video.

See Also:
"Assessment and Remediation of Public Health Impacts Due to Hurricanes and Major Flooding Events", Dec., 2004, Ivor Ll. van Heerden, Ph.D., Louisiana State University
Hurricane Katrina - Our Experiences, First hand account of ordeal trying to get out of New Orleans by Paramedics Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky.
Map at MS NBC
Hurricane History

Return to Hurricanes

last updated 8 May 2006