On August 25, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast causing extensive damage from Texas to Florida. Katrina ranks as one of the costliest natural disasters and deadliest hurricanes in US history. Much of the damage was due to the storm surge. The majority of fatalities happened in New Orleans when the city’s levee systems failed due to water influx from Lake Pontchartrain. Eighty percent of the city was under water. Nobody could have predicted the chaos that would ensue in Katrina’s aftermath.
Almost six years have past, yet New Orleans and other Gulf Coast towns are still feeling Katrina’s long-term effects. Only 85% of the local population in New Orleans has stayed or returned to start over.
This year’s Mackintosh Academy MY Service Learning trip was set in New Orleans so that students had the opportunity to participate in a variety of community and environmental service projects. On our first morning, we volunteered with Beacon of Hope in a house painting project.
Ms. Angie’s house sits just across the street from a levee that overflowed in 2005. Water filled her home half way up the walls, forcing her to live in a cramped FEMA trailer in her front yard until just last month. It’s amazing how nine volunteers, four hours of work, and some paint can transform not only a house, but also our perspectives on the long-term effects of an event that’s no longer making news headlines.
Post-Katrina City Tour Photos