Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort
Ron Talbert, Project Chairperson
Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coastal area on Monday, August 29, 2005. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes it was one of the five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history, and the sixth strongest overall. At least 1,836 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods, with total property damage estimated at $81 billion (2005 USD).
The immediate effect was the devastation to the coastal areas, as the huge storm surge hit homes and businesses from central Florida to Texas, with the most severe property losses in coastal Mississippi. Mississippi beachfront towns were over 90% in a matter of a few hours, as boats and casino barges rammed buildings, pushing cars and houses inland, with waters reaching 6-12 miles from the beach.
The most significant number of deaths occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded when the levee system catastrophically failed after the storm surge moved inland. At it’s worst 80% of New Orleans was flooded, with floodwaters lingering for weeks.
First United Presbyterian Church has sent a work team each year since 2005 to work with residents to restore hope, building homes through the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program. Initially working in coastal Mississippi, efforts continue in New Orleans.