Hurricanes Katrina + Rita 10 Years Later

As Louisiana observes the 10th Anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, this is a time to look back and reflect on these two events and their impacts. Each citizen and every community across our State in 2005 was touched in some way, as were many individuals, organizations and communities beyond our borders.

Today - while there is still work to do to achieve full recovery - Louisiana is well on its way to a stronger, safer, more resilient future. Many who were evacuated have returned to their former communities. Businesses have reopened; new ones have joined them. We have repaired or rebuilt schools, hospitals, public facilities, our communities and our homes.

Louisiana proud!

Louisiana’s response and recovery would not be possible without the help of thousands of individuals, hundreds of groups and, of course, the technical assistance and funding we received from the Federal government through FEMA, HUD and other Federal and State agencies.

  • From fire departments across the country who sent trucks and utility companies restoring power lines, to those who staffed disaster shelters and rescued stranded residents. . .
  • From equipment brought in from New York, New Jersey, Michigan and so many other places, to every fire, law enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) and emergency management personnel sent from across the country.
  • From the United Way, 211 providers, Salvation Army, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters(VOADs), faith-based organizations and hundreds more nonprofits, to those individuals who opened their houses to strangers left homeless after the storms - both within almost every city and town in Louisiana that was not destroyed and in cities across the country. . .

People from across America worked alongside those from all 64 Parishes here at home - providing our citizens and displaced residents and shell-shocked communities with shelter, food, medical aid and assistance, starting our State on the road to recovery.

There are more people to thank than we will ever be able to list - some we know and many we will never know. Louisiana citizens continue to benefit from their acts of compassion following our nation's worst disaster.

We thank all who helped for your generosity and commitment. We are grateful for the combined strength of our Nation which stood by us during such a terrible time. We will be forever in your debt.

A safer + stronger + more resilient future

The story of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita can also be told as America's greatest recovery. These events have forever changed our State's and Nation's approach to planning and preparation for - and response to and recovery from - catastrophic events. State and Federal policies, regulations and statutes continue to be re-thought - and in some cases revised - as a result of what we and the Nation learned in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Over the past 10 years Louisiana has, together, with the support of our Federal partners, learned to rebuild in ways that are smarterstronger and safer so we are better prepared to meet the challenges of future emergencies or disasters. Our people, businesses, governments, organizations and entire communities are more resilient than ever before!



How we pay it forward

Louisiana has become the Nation’s largest living laboratory for emergency management - to prepare for, prevent where possible, respond to, recover from and mitigation against future emergencies or disasters. We are capturing the knowledge we've "earned" as a result of Katrina/Rita and sharing it through the development of job aids, teaching tools, policy recommendations and more, that benefit Louisiana grant recipients as well as grant recipients across the country.

We export our expertise, embedding staff and responding to needs in communities like New Jersey and New York, when they were hit by a catastrophic hurricane event. We offer our experience and demonstrate systems and business practices we created out of necessity that might help others in their recoveries.

Join in memorial + celebration events across the State

If your organization is hosting a public event to mark the Katrina/Rita 10th Anniversary, share it here. Contact our Webmaster to submit your event.

Katrina/Rita Anniversary Events

Storm impacts

  • Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused over $163 BILLION in damages.
  • ALL 64 Louisiana parishes were included in the Presidential Disaster Declaration.
  • A loss of crops, timber, livestock, aquaculture and fisheries was over $1.59 BILLION.
  • 217 square miles of Louisiana coastal wetlands were destroyed.
  • More than 80% of New Orleans flooded as a result of levee failures.
  • More than 1,800 lives were lost across the Gulf Coast.
  • New Orleans population fell from 484,674 before Katrina (April 2000) to an estimated 230,172 after Katrina (July 2006) - a loss of more than half of the City's population. In 2013, the population of New Orleans was back up to 78% of what it was in 2000.
  • Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused the largest housing shortage in FEMA’s history.
  • More than 1.4 MILLION Louisiana residents were displaced across 50 States.
  • Over 560 emergency shelters in Louisiana housed over 146,000 people.
  • FEMA housed more than 85,000 families. The last temporary housing unit was vacated in 2012.
  • 113 oil and gas platforms destroyed.
  • At the height of Katrina and Rita, just over 1 MILLION Louisiana utility customers were without power.

Status of the recovery

  • More than $19.5 BILLION in Public Assistance (PA), Hazard Mitigation (HM) and Individual Assistance (IA) Federal recovery investments.
  • Recovery of public infrastructure is almost 80% complete.
  • More than 24,000 Public Assistance (PA) and Hazard Mitigation (HM) projects have been rebuilt, repaired, mitigated or are in progress as of 2014, including approximately:

    • 804 PreK - 12 school facilities
    • 920 Higher education facilities.
    • 154 Healthcare facilities.
    • 236 Fire stations.
    • 222 Police, sheriff + criminal justice facilities.
    • 82 Libraries.
    • 7,687 Elevations.
    • 555 Hurricane proofed structures.
    • 77 Drainage projects.
    • 91 Flood control projects.
    • 126 Plan Development.
    • 840 Generators.
  • Nearly $5.8 BILLION in Individual Assistance.
    • $4.2 BILLION in Housing Assistance.
    • $1.6 BILLION in Other Needs Assistance (ONA)
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriated $13.4 BILLION in Community Development Block Grant funds for recovery
  • Over 95,800 Small Business Administration (SBA) applicants were approved for disaster loans that total over $6.9 BILLION.
  • The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) paid over 215,000 claims for a total of $16.2 BILLION dollars.
  • TO LEARN MORE, click here to download the KATRINA/RITA: Building a Smarter + Safer + Stronger + More Resilient Louisiana binder.
  • For Parish Profiles click here
  • GOHSEP's 10 Initiatives since Katrina/Rita click here

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