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3. Words Aren’t Enough > Overnight, Sunday to Monday: Katrina Strikes

Overnight, Sunday to Monday: Katrina Strikes

In the overnight hours of Sunday into Monday, August 29, New Orleans residents’ fears came true. At 6:10 AM Hurricane Katrina made landfall, with winds of 130 miles per hour. The eye passed nearly directly over New Orleans and created a massive storm surge on Lake Pontchartrain, a form of tidal wave that wiped out lakeside communities outside of New Orleans. (I was in New Orleans two weeks later as part of a corporate recovery effort. I saw boats on the rooftops of houses and in the high branches of trees—testament to the size and power of the storm surge.)

Inside the city, the levees that kept New Orleans dry were breached, and about 80 percent of New Orleans flooded. That morning a FEMA staff member on a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter took a photograph of the city under water, with large portions of the levee on the Industrial Canal missing. The photograph, which was not initially made public, showed submerged homes with only the roofs visible above the water.


  

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