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Hurricane Katrina

Louisiana: Southeastern LA Parishes

Project: Hurricane Katrina
Open-Content project managed by mtuck

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As Katrina’s storm surge pushes inland, it causes significant damage to a large portion of the levee system along the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MGRO). The storm surge also damages a smaller levee built on the northern portions of neighborhoods in St. Bernard along Florida Avenue, from Arabi to Poydras, according to Col. Richard Wagenaar, the Army Corps’ head of engineers for the New Orleans district. The MRGO, shipping channel built in the early 1960s with very strong local support, had a 17-foot high earthen levee that extended for 10 miles and was the area’s easternmost line of defense against storm surges. Although St. Bernard officials initially strongly supported the construction of the MGRO, more recently, officials had charged that building the waterway destroyed wetlands that absorb the impact of storm surges, making the parish vulnerable. [Times-Picayune, 9/13/2005]

Entity Tags: Hurricane Katrina, US Army Corps of Engineers

Category Tags: Pre-Impact Katrina, Louisiana: SELA

Around 9:00 am this morning, the 17th Street Canal levee-floodwall system is breached. However, according to Al Naomi, Army Corps of Engineers’ New Orleans project manager, the breach occurs in mid- or late-morning after Katrina’s eye has passed east of New Orleans. By that time, north winds have pushed storm surge water in Lake Pontchartrain south against the hurricane levees and into the canals, and then the wind shifts to the west. “As I remember it the worst of the storm had passed when we got word the floodwall had collapsed,” Naomi later says. “It could have been when we were experiencing westerly winds in the aftermath of the storm, which would have been pushing water against it.” Naomi and other Corps officials will later say that they believe that the water in the canal topped the levee on the Orleans Parish side, weakening its structure on the interior side and causing its collapse. Ivor Van Heerden, LSU Hurricane Center expert, however, will say that he does not believe the water was high enough in the lake to top the 14-foot wall and that the pressure caused a “catastrophic structural failure.” [McQuaid, 9/7/2005 Sources: Al Naomi, Ivor Van Heerden]
Note - Reports about when this breach occurs vary. For example, Knight Ridder reports that the breach occurred at 3:00 am this morning, and that the breach was reported to the Army Corps of Engineers around 5:00 am. [Knight Ridder, 9/11/2005] Later today, the Army Corps of Engineers will report that the breach occurred “overnight” and that the Industrial Canal breach occurs at this time. [US Army Corps of Engineers, 8/29/2005 pdf file Sources: US Army Corps of Engineers] The Boston Globe will report that the breach occurs later this afternoon. [Boston Globe, 9/11/2005] The Chicago Tribune will report that the breach does not occur until August 30. [Chicago Tribune, 9/11/2005] However, it appears more likely that the 17th Street Canal floodwall-levee is breached around this time, and that the early morning breach reported is the breach of the floodwall(s) in the Industrial Canal.

Category Tags: Pre-Impact Katrina, Federal, Louisiana: State, Louisiana: SELA, Media, Louisiana: SELA, Levee Breach/Flooding

St. Bernard Parish officials are receiving reports of widespread flooding and damage across the parish. More than eight feet of water is reported in Arabi. However, according to Parish Council Chairman Joey DiFatta, other parts of St. Bernard have also been also hit. “Water is inundating everywhere. We have buildings and roofs collapsing. We’re preparing rescue efforts and as soon as the wind subsides we’ll start trying to get people out of St. Bernard.” [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005 Sources: Joey DiFatta]

Category Tags: During Katrina, Louisiana: SELA, Louisiana: SELA, Levee Breach/Flooding

The Associated Press reports that, according to the National Weather Service, a floodwall has been breached on the Industrial Canal near the St. Bernard-Orleans parish line (see (9:00 am) August 29, 2005). Three to eight feed of flooding is possible. [Associated Press, 8/29/2005 Sources: National Weather Service] The Associated Press will report on breaches in New Orleans’ levee system at least 15 times before the end of the day, identifying both the Industrial Canal floodwall breach and the 17th Street Canal floodwall-levee breach.

Category Tags: During Katrina, Louisiana: SELA, Louisiana: NOLA, Media, Levee Breach/Flooding

Water has risen beyond the second floor in some houses in Chalmette (St. Bernard’s Parish), according to local officials. People are being forced into their attics to escape the floodwaters. North of Judge Perez Drive, waters have already risen as high as 10 feet. Chalmette High School, a refuge of last resort, has sustained structural damage, and the Civic Auditorium has lost its roof. Floodwall-levee overtopping has caused the extensive flooding in the Lower 9th Board and St. Bernard Parish. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]

Entity Tags: Chalmette High School

Category Tags: During Katrina, Louisiana: SELA, Levee Breach/Flooding

The National Weather Service’s local weather statement for Mobile Alabama repeats the 8:14 am Flash Flood Warning (see 8:14 am August 29, 2005), which reported that the Industrial Canal is breached at Tennessee Street. [Wall Street Journal, 9/12/2005]

Entity Tags: National Weather Service

Category Tags: During Katrina, Federal, Advisories, Louisiana: SELA, Louisiana: NOLA, Levee Breach/Flooding

The National Weather Service’s local weather statement for New Orleans announces that “A significant and life threatening storm surge estimated around 20 feet has occurred with Katrina…causing levees to be overtopped in Orleans and St Bernard parishes. In addition, dangerous battering waves are occurring on top of the storm surge near the coast severe tidal flooding will continue in these areas for several more hours. Significant flooding is also occurring along the Mississippi Gulf Coast over Hancock…Harrison and Jackson counties. Extensive damage due to the wind and storm surge is occurring along the Mississippi coast. A storm surge of 10 to 12 feet has occurred in the southwest part of Lake Pontchartrain affecting the east banks of Jefferson, St Charles, St John the Baptist, and Livingston parishes.” [Wall Street Journal, 9/12/2005]

Entity Tags: National Weather Service

Category Tags: During Katrina, Federal, Advisories, Louisiana: SELA, Louisiana: NOLA, Levee Breach/Flooding

The St. Bernard Parish website reports on the breach to the Industrial Canal floodwall, near the St. Bernard-Orleans parish line (Tennessee St.), citing the National Weather Service advisory (see 8:14 am August 29, 2005). According to Larry Ingargiola, Director of St. Bernard’s OEP, both parish shelters, housing 300 residents, are suffering significant flooding damage. Chalmette High is losing its roof; many windows are broken at St. Bernard High. “We cannot see the tops of the levees!” [St. Bernard Parish, 8/29/2005]

Entity Tags: National Weather Service, Chalmette High School

Category Tags: During Katrina, Louisiana: SELA, Louisiana: NOLA, Levee Breach/Flooding

According to Dan Packer, President of Entergy, Hurricane Katrina is the worst disaster the company has ever experienced. Nearly 100 percent of the utility’s 700,000 customers have no power. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]

Entity Tags: Dan Packer, Hurricane Katrina

Category Tags: During Katrina, Private Sector, Louisiana: SELA

The St. Bernard Parish website reports that Chalmette’s Gibb Drive and community is underwater to the roof, and residents have been driven to their rooftops. [St. Bernard Parish, 8/29/2005]

Category Tags: During Katrina, Louisiana: SELA, Levee Breach/Flooding

Residents in the Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish report heavy flooding. Residents are being rescued from rooftops by passing boaters. Reportedly, floodwaters are as high as 12 feet well into Chalmette. Homes on Champagna Drive are nearly under water, and businesses are flooded. The first floor of Chalmette High School, a St. Bernard Parish shelter of last resort, is flooded and residents are reporting that they can see only the rooftops of nearby homes. St. Bernard Parish’s government building reportedly has at least eight to ten feet of water. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]

Entity Tags: Chalmette High School

Category Tags: During Katrina, Louisiana: SELA, Louisiana: NOLA, Levee Breach/Flooding

The St. Bernard Parish website reports: “Communications into the New Orleans/St. Bernard area are little to none due to power and downed telecommunications equipment and massive calls into state.” [St. Bernard Parish, 8/29/2005]

Category Tags: During Katrina, Louisiana: SELA

The St. Bernard Parish website reports that about 150 people have been sighted on rooftops in area with “8-10 feet (perhaps more) of water.” “Search and Rescue teams are being dispensed to areas hard hit. Presently no deaths have been reported as was sighted in New Orleans.” [St. Bernard Parish, 8/29/2005]

Category Tags: During Katrina, Louisiana: SELA, Louisiana: SELA, Levee Breach/Flooding

The St. Bernard Parish website states that the area around Violet Canal is reportedly under 8 to 12 feet of water. Officials plan on an aerial view to access information in the parish at its earliest opportunity. Officials will block re-entry to communities deemed affected by Katrina until authorities can access the damage. [St. Bernard Parish, 8/29/2005]

Category Tags: During Katrina, Louisiana: SELA, Levee Breach/Flooding

The Army Corp’s Al Naomi calls the state emergency headquarters in Baton Rouge to inform officials of a catastrophic situation in the city. Water from the increasingly large breach in the 17th Street Canal floodwall, which will grow to 200 feet wide, is pouring out, and flooding New Orleans. [McQuaid, 9/7/2005] According to Al Naomi, Army Corps of Engineers’ New Orleans project manager, the Corps reports the other breaches in the levee system as well: “It was disseminated. It went to our OEP in Baton Rouge, to the state, FEMA, the Corps,” Naomi will later recall. “The people in the field knew it. The people here (in Corps offices) in Louisiana and Mississippi knew it. I don’t know how communication worked in those agencies.” [McQuaid, 9/7/2005] Yet, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La) will later recall that the mood in the state’s headquarters is not one of panic this afternoon: “We were saying, ‘Thank you, God,’ because the experts were telling the governor it could have been even worse.” [Newsweek, 9/19/2005 Sources: Mary L. Landrieu]

Entity Tags: Al Naomi, Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Category Tags: During Katrina, Federal, Federal: FEMA, Louisiana: State, Louisiana: SELA, Louisiana: NOLA, Levee Breach/Flooding, Emergency Response

Around this time, the basement at Lindy Boggs Medical Center begins taking on water, according to George Saucier, the Mid-City hospital’s CEO. According to Saucier, the mini-flood at North Jefferson Davis Parkway and Bienville Street, described as an annoyance, probably was a chain-reaction result of a break in the levee along the 17th Street Canal, which separates Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. Water flowed from the break down Robert E. Lee Boulevard and into the bayou, before surging toward Canal Street, overflowing its banks and heading down North Jefferson Davis Parkway—and into the Mid-City hospital’s basement. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]

Entity Tags: Jefferson Parish, George Saucier, Lindy Boggs Medical Center

Category Tags: During Katrina, Louisiana: NOLA, Louisiana: SELA, Levee Breach/Flooding

Around this time, Col. Richard P. Wagenaar, the Army Corp’s district commander, files a formal situation report, via e-mail, with the Corps’ national headquarters. What response, if any, the situation report triggers, remains unclear at this time. [Knight Ridder, 9/11/2005]

Entity Tags: US Army Corps of Engineers

Category Tags: Immediate Katrina Aftermath, Federal, Louisiana: SELA, Levee Breach/Flooding

Floodwaters have risen quickly in Arabi (St. Bernard Parish), flooding houses and forcing residents to evacuate by boat. [Times-Picayune Blog, 8/29/2005]

Category Tags: During Katrina, Media, Louisiana: SELA, Levee Breach/Flooding

Ordering 

Time period


Categories

Period

Before Katrina (140)Pre-Impact Katrina (192)During Katrina (76)Immediate Katrina Aftermath (19)After Katrina (3)

Organization

Federal (138)Federal: FEMA (64)Louisiana: State (72)Louisiana: NOLA (46)Louisiana: SELA (42)Mississippi: State (4)Mississippi: Biloxi (0)Mississippi: Gulfport (0)Mississippi: Other Local (0)Alabama: State (0)Florida: State (0)States: Other States (0)Private Sector (19)Academia/Professional (9)Media (27)NGOs (17)General Public (9)

Knowledge

Flood Risk (28)Evacuation Problem (22)Public Safety Risk (3)Environmental Risk (5)Organization Capacity (10)Levee Breach/Flooding (58)Sheltering (1)Response Level (1)Advisories (81)Increased Chance of Hurricane (1)

Disaster Management Legislation Relevant to Katrina

Legislation (3)

Emergency Preparedness/Response Plans

Evacuation (13)Shelter (4)Response (7)Recovery (1)

Policies that Affected Intensity of Katrina Impact

Environmental Policies/Programs (16)Land Development (3)Flood Control Programs (23)Disaster Mitigation (12)Disaster Preparedness (11)Resource Allocation (29)FEMA Restructuring (16)Outsourcing (5)Political Patronage (9)Canvassing (0)

Progress and Impact Hurricane Katrina

Florida (3)Louisiana: State (2)Louisiana: NOLA (20)Louisiana: SELA (18)Mississippi: Local (0)Mississippi: State (0)Mississippi: Biloxi (0)Mississippi: Gulfport (0)Mississippi: Other Local (0)Alabama: State (0)

Execution of Emergency Plans

Evacuation (22)Sheltering (2)Emergency Response (120)Other States' Assistance (0)

Response in Wake of Katrina Disaster

Response to Evacuation Execution (0)Response to Emergency Response (1)Investigations (0)

Recovery from Katrina

Infrastructure (bridges; roads) (0)Governmental Services (water, electricity, etc) (0)Industry (oil industry, etc.) (0)citizenship (0)

Statements

Policies (5)Warnings (15)Plans (0)Mitigation (4)Katrina (6)Execution of Emergency Plans (25)Response (0)Recovery (0)

Specific Cases and Issues

Coastal Wetlands (27)

Other

Other (4)
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