Huricane Katrina

Hurricane Barry makes landfall in Louisiana as New Orleans avoids danger

By Tom Hall, 15 July 2019

The storm demonstrated the grossly inadequate level of disaster preparedness and infrastructure in what is supposedly the richest country on earth.

Major flooding inundates New Orleans as Tropical Storm Barry heads towards landfall

By Aaron Murch, 12 July 2019

Nearly 14 years after Hurricane Katrina, the city remains vulnerable to catastrophic flooding.

Lessons of Hurricane Katrina

31 August 2017

The World Socialist Web Site pamphlet on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago is critical reading in light of the current catastrophe in Texas.

Capitalism and the Houston flood catastrophe

By Tom Hall, 28 August 2017

Twelve years after Hurricane Katrina, a major hurricane has once against exposed the brutal reality of class relations in the United States.

Government indifference in the midst of historic Louisiana flooding

By Tom Hall, 20 August 2016

The federal government has promised only paltry sums to compensate flood victims, while Obama has delayed any visit until after his lavish vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

At least four dead, 18,000 rescued in historic flooding in Louisiana

By Tom Hall, 15 August 2016

A slow-moving weather system dumped record levels of rainfall on southern Louisiana, flooding thousands of homes and forcing thousands to flee to temporary shelters.

Louisiana law institutionalizes charter schools

By Matthew Taylor, 27 May 2016

New Orleans remains the center of the drive for the privatization of education, with a new state law making charter schools permanent under the guise of “local control.”

Seven dead, hundreds homeless in Houston, Texas flood

By Shelley Connor, 20 April 2016

Houston’s working class residents have been forced to flee rising waters with little assistance from the city or state governments.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina: Part four

A legacy of poverty and austerity in New Orleans

By Tom Hall, 26 October 2015

The “rebuilding” process in New Orleans has left the city’s working class more impoverished than ever before.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina: Part three

The privatization of New Orleans schools

By Tom Hall, 24 October 2015

Charter school plans that were already well advanced were quickly acted upon in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina: Part two

Destruction of public housing and forced exodus of workers

By E.P. Bannon, 23 October 2015

New Orleans had a pre-hurricane population of 484,700. Today, it is 384,300, a 21 percent decline.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina: Part one

The catastrophe unfolds

By E.P. Bannon, 22 October 2015

Thousands of survivors remained trapped inside the flood-ravaged city without access to food, water or clothing.

On 10-year anniversary of Katrina

Former presidents Bush and Clinton celebrate transformation of New Orleans

By Tom Hall, 31 August 2015

The Katrina catastrophe has been seized on by the political establishment to carry out a restructuring of class relations intended as a model for other cities.

David G. Spielman’s The Katrina Decade—An unsentimental look at how things are now

By Christine Schofelt, 29 August 2015

Spielman is not given to the current fetish for “Ruins Photography.” There is no romanticism in these pages.

On 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Obama hails “entrepreneurial” transformation of New Orleans

By Patrick Martin, 28 August 2015

While Hurricane Katrina exposed the ugly face of American capitalism, the US president marked the tenth anniversary with a speech lauding the supposed successes of the profit system.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina

By Joseph Kishore, 27 August 2015

The tragedy that struck the city of New Orleans, along with coastal areas from Florida to Texas, was not simply a natural disaster, but a social and political crime.

Large sections of New Orleans’ levee system sinking

By Tom Hall, 1 June 2015

Portions of the $14.5 billion levee system installed after Hurricane Katrina will sink below federal certification levels before 2025.

New Orleans local school board makes its pitch to charter operators

By Tom Hall, 8 December 2014

The Orleans Parish School Board is attempting to coax charter operators at its former facilities, which were taken over after Hurricane Katrina, to return to their former district.

Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin found guilty of corruption

By Tom Hall, 17 February 2014

Nagin was found guilty in federal court of 20 charges related to corruption while in office.

Book review:

A hard life, then Hurricane Katrina: Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones

By Sandy English, 13 August 2012

Jesmyn Ward’s second novel, Salvage the Bones, is an organic and spontaneous portrait of a family living in Mississippi before, during and after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Fantastic version of post-Katrina Louisiana in Beasts of the Southern Wild

By Jordan Mattos, 14 July 2012

A creation of distinctly American design, Beasts of the Southern Wild disturbs and awes with fantastic images and the swelling music of a devastated region.

New Orleans police convicted in post-Katrina killing

By Naomi Spencer and E.P. Bannon, 14 December 2010

Three New Orleans police officers have been convicted for an unprovoked killing and cover-up following Hurricane Katrina.

Five years since Hurricane Katrina

By Naomi Spencer, 1 September 2010

The following is a republication of a series on the fifth anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, originally published in three parts on August 28-31, 2010.

Five years since Hurricane Katrina

Part 1: A manmade disaster

By Naomi Spencer, 28 August 2010

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States. The world looked on in horror as the city of New Orleans was submerged, killing 1,800 and trapping thousands of poor residents for days without emergency provisions or rescue.

Mehring Books featured title

Hurricane Katrina: Social Consequences and Political Lessons

18 June 2010

This Mehring Books featured title provides an assessment of the social and political significance of the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 along the US Gulf Coast.

Cover-up exposed in post-Katrina police killings

By Patrick Martin, 6 March 2010

A New Orleans police supervisor pled guilty February 24 in a federal court to charges of conspiracy to cover up the police shooting of six unarmed people a few days after Hurricane Katrina struck the city.

Texas hit hard by Hurricane Ike

By Naomi Spencer, 15 September 2008

Hurricane Ike made landfall on the heavily populated southeast coast of Texas early Saturday morning, causing flooding and widespread damage to cities along the Gulf.

US Gulf Coast deals with aftermath of Hurricane Gustav

By Kate Randall, 3 September 2008

Hurricane Gustav weakened to a tropical depression on Tuesday, with winds slowing to below 35 miles per hour and the storm forecast to cross into northeastern Texas. Gustav made landfall west of New Orleans as a relatively fast-moving Category 2 hurricane on Monday, substantially weaker than some predictions that it might come ashore as a massive Category 4 storm.

Hurricane Gustav threatens New Orleans, Gulf Coast

By Jerry White, 1 September 2008

As of this writing Hurricane Gustav is bearing down on the US Gulf Coast after its destructive passage through the Caribbean left more than 80 people dead in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica and severe damage and flooding in western Cuba, where the storm, considered the most powerful in half a century, included sustained winds of 150 miles per hour.

New Orleans: a scene of devastation and blight

Hurricane Katrina two years on—Part 2

By Naomi Spencer, 31 August 2007

The following is the second in a series of articles on the second anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. “Part 1: New Orleans—A city in social and economic distress” was posted on August 29. Future installments will deal with the state of the levee system, profiteering in the Gulf Opportunity Zone and other issues.

Charges dropped against New Orleans doctor in Katrina hospital deaths

By Shannon Jones, 26 July 2007

Charges were dropped July 24 against Dr. Anna Pou when a Louisiana grand jury failed to indict her in connection with the deaths of four severely ill patients during the evacuation of a New Orleans hospital flooded by Hurricane Katrina.

FEMA covered up toxic danger in trailers given to Katrina victims

By Andre Damon, 21 July 2007

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) systematically suppressed reports of high toxicity levels in trailers provided to victims of Hurricane Katrina, according to the findings of a congressional committee hearing Thursday.

The Gulf Coast one year later: Indices of a social disaster

By Naomi Spencer, 29 August 2006

One year ago today, in the early morning hours, Hurricane Katrina tore into the Gulf Coast of the US. Upon landfall, the Category 3 hurricane’s storm surge caused massive damage in the states of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. The region was pummeled by 145 mile-an-hour winds and waves 28 feet high, resulting in widespread flooding.

One year since Hurricane Katrina: the rebuilding of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast

By Jeff Lassahn, 26 August 2006

I recently traveled to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast with the volunteer organization Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) to assist in ongoing relief efforts there. It is painfully obvious, nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to the region, that the market-based approach to relief and reconstruction has left the entire region devastated, generating even higher levels of social inequality.

Doctor and nurses arrested in Katrina-related deaths

By Kate Randall, 22 July 2006

On orders from Louisiana Attorney General Charles C. Foti Jr., police arrested a doctor and two nurses Tuesday in connection with the deaths of patients at a New Orleans hospital in the days following Hurricane Katrina.

Returning to the scene of the crime: Bush visits New Orleans

By Jerry Isaacs, 10 March 2006

President Bush visited New Orleans Wednesday six months after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to much of the city. The president’s appearance was aimed at deflecting criticisms of his administration’s inept and indifferent response to the disaster—criticisms that have been revived by the release of evidence that Bush was warned the day before the hurricane hit the city that the levees would not be able to withstand the storm.

Hurricane Katrina and the “war on terrorism”

By Joe Kay, 18 February 2006

On Wednesday, a House Select Committee issued a report on its investigations into the government’s preparations and response to Hurricane Katrina. On the same day, Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee and was questioned about the actions of his department in the disaster.

Congressional report condemns government response to Hurricane Katrina

By Joe Kay, 14 February 2006

A select committee of the US House of Representatives is set to release a report Wednesday on the US government’s handling of Hurricane Katrina. From drafts leaked to various news publications this week, it is already clear that the report presents a picture of an extraordinary lack of preparation and a completely incompetent response, which contributed to the deaths of over 1,000 people and the virtual destruction of a major American city.

White House stonewalls official Hurricane Katrina inquiry

By Naomi Spencer, 28 January 2006

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Three months after the Katrina disaster: New Orleans left for dead

By Kate Randall, 14 December 2005

An editorial last Sunday in the New York Times, headlined “Death of an American City,” begins, “We are about to lose New Orleans.” It goes on to state that “the moment is upon us when a major American city will die, leaving nothing but a few shells for tourists to visit like a museum.”

50,000 Katrina evacuees without permanent housing

FEMA to stop paying hotel bills

By Elisa Brehm and Dan Caldwell, 30 November 2005

More than 50,000 people are still living in hotel rooms three months since the devastating consequences of Hurricane Katrina displaced as many as one million people. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently funding hotel stays for the evacuees who have not been able to find housing. After the next round of deadlines, FEMA will no longer pay the hotel bills.

The Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Kashmiri earthquake: lessons for the working class

Wije Dias (Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate in Sri Lanka), 21 October 2005

Around the world people are witnessing a great horror unfolding in northern Pakistan and India. Just 10 months after a tsunami devastated South Asia and two months after Hurricane Katrina swept across the southern states of the US, more than 70,000 people have been killed by a massive earthquake in Kashmir and neighbouring areas.

In the wake of Katrina and Rita

Bush administration to expand military powers, attack social programs

By Joseph Kay, 27 September 2005

Less than a month after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and parts of Mississippi, and only a few days after Hurricane Rita hit Texas and Louisiana, the Bush administration is using these disasters as a pretext to expand the domestic role of the military, attack social programs, and further enrich a tiny layer of the population.

Hurricane Rita causes widespread damage but few deaths

By Patrick Martin, 26 September 2005

Hurricane Rita cut a swathe of destruction across southwestern Louisiana and parts of east Texas Saturday, but no deaths were reported in the coastal areas of either state because of a near-total evacuation of the affected regions. After several dozen deaths during the pre-storm evacuation in Texas, the first 36 hours after Rita made landfall saw only a single death reported, from a tornado in Mississippi, far from the main impact of the hurricane.

Blair and Murdoch defend Bush over Hurricane Katrina

By Chris Marsden, 23 September 2005

Rupert Murdoch inadvertently performed a public service when he cited an attack by Prime Minister Tony Blair on the BBC’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina in which Blair described the network’s reporting as “full of hate” for America.

Religion, science and Hurricane Katrina

By Joseph Kay, 19 September 2005

In his address to the nation from New Orleans last Thursday, Bush repeatedly invoked religion and religious organizations. The maudlin appeals to God went beyond even the president’s stock-in-trade sermonizing.

Bush reassures American ruling class

Tax cuts to continue, social programs to be slashed in wake of Hurricane Katrina

the Editorial Board, 19 September 2005

The day after his speech from New Orleans pledging that the government “will do what it takes, will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives,” President Bush hastened to reassure the American ruling elite on Friday that whatever spending is required, it will not hurt the pocket books of the wealthy. Bush vowed that spending on the hurricane-devastated region would come from cuts in other parts of the federal budget.

The New York Times and Bush’s New Orleans speech

By Patrick Martin, 17 September 2005

The debased and servile state of the US media was on display in its response to President Bush’s Thursday night speech in New Orleans. Press reports and commentaries were largely favorable, depicting Bush’s words as a serious effort to grapple with issues of poverty and inequality that have never before been on the radar screen of this administration, and his proposals as a significant pledge of federal aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Bush’s vision for New Orleans: a profiteer’s paradise

By Barry Grey, 16 September 2005

Striding across a deserted field to a podium in Jackson Square, a landmark in a desolate city, President George W. Bush addressed the nation Thursday night in a rare nationally televised prime-time speech.

Profit system, not nature, main obstacle to rebuilding New Orleans

the Editorial Board, 15 September 2005

With each passing day, the immense scale of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina emerges more clearly, along with the enormity of the effort required to rebuild homes and social infrastructure for nearly two million people. Nearly 700 bodies have been recovered so far, and the death toll seems certain to mount into the thousands as houses cut off by high water become accessible to search crews.

Forty-five bodies recovered at New Orleans hospital

By Kate Randall, 14 September 2005

The discovery of 45 bodies at a flooded hospital in uptown New Orleans on Sunday is the latest grisly testament to the needless loss of life from Hurricane Katrina. Like many of the victims, the majority of these 45 people were not killed by the impact of the storm itself, but by the failure of authorities to evacuate stranded, dehydrated and starving people for days on end after Katrina struck.

Hurricane Katrina and the meaning of September 11

By Patrick Martin, 12 September 2005

September 11, 2005 marked the fourth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in US history, with nearly 3,000 innocent people killed as a consequence of the hijacking of the four jetliners that destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon. It also marked two weeks since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, causing the worst natural disaster in US history and revealing the unpreparedness of the US government at all levels, federal state and local, for a tragedy that was widely forecast and predicted.

Bush suspends Davis-Bacon Act

Wage-cutting and profit-gouging in the midst of the Katrina disaster

By Kate Randall, 12 September 2005

In a shameless display of a brutal class policy, President Bush on Thursday suspended the provisions of a law that requires employers to pay the locally prevailing wage to workers on federally financed projects. The suspension applies to areas of the country devastated by Hurricane Katrina—parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Eyewitness to the New Orleans disaster: report from a WSWS reader

6 September 2005

The World Socialist Web Site received a letter from New Orleans resident RC on September 3 describing his reactions to the disaster that unfolded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. On September 4, he sent a further account of his personal experience of the hurricane and its aftermath. We publish both of these letters below.

Hurricane Katrina disaster shows the failure of the profit system

World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 6 September 2005

The devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina will forever change the way broad masses of American working people look upon their government and society. The shock of the storm and the subsequent inundation of New Orleans have exposed the rottenness of the existing social order. It was not only the levees that failed, but the social and political institutions on which millions of people rely.

Letters on Hurricane Katrina

3 September 2005

The following is a selection of letters to the World Socialist Web Site on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Bush postures while hurricane death toll skyrockets

By Patrick Martin, 3 September 2005

While President George W. Bush made a show of sympathy and concern for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, in a day of stage-managed public relations appearances in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, the death toll from the worst natural disaster in US history soared. In Mississippi alone, some 180 bodies have been identified, with uncounted hundreds still to be recovered in the rubble. In New Orleans, the death toll is likely to reach many thousands, and no one has even begun to count.

Washington tries to evade political responsibility for Katrina’s devastating impact

By Joseph Kay, 2 September 2005

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact, Washington, abetted by the US media, has begun a process of historical falsification aimed at obscuring government responsibility for the enormous extent of damage, particularly to the city of New Orleans. Definite decisions were made that served to exacerbate the hurricane’s effects and endanger the lives of tens of thousands of people.

Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath: from natural disaster to national humiliation

World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 2 September 2005

This statement is available as a PDF leaflet to download and distribute

Crackdown on looting

New Orleans police ordered to stop saving lives and start saving property

By Patrick Martin, 1 September 2005

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered nearly the entire active police force in the flood-ravaged city to abandon rescue operations Wednesday night and focus on efforts to halt looting. The decision came in response to mounting pressure from sensationalized media coverage which is increasingly placing emphasis on the property damage done by looters, suggesting that it has become nearly as significant a social problem as the virtual destruction of the city by Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina: a calamity compounded by poverty and neglect

By Joseph Kay, 31 August 2005

The enormous devastation wreaked upon parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama by Hurricane Katrina is only beginning to come to light, even as the situation in New Orleans grows worse by the hour. Large parts of the coastal regions of these states along the Gulf of Mexico have experienced extensive flooding, destruction of buildings and homes, and loss of life.