New Orleans, USA - Warren County Schools

New Orleans, U.S.A.
Hurricanes are tropical systems that originate in the Atlantic and
eastern Pacific Oceans, with wind exceeding 74mph. Such
storms elsewhere are called Typhoons or Cyclones. Hurricanes
form when warm air passes over warm water. Because of climate
change, the southern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico have been
warming over the past 100 years, increasing the likelihood of
strong hurricanes, like Katrina, to occur. The number of
hurricanes that develop each year has more than doubled over
the past century. Hurricane numbers jumped sharply during the
20th century, from 3.5 per year in the first 30 years to 8.4 in the
earliest of the 21st century. Over that time, Atlantic Ocean
surface temperatures increased .65 degrees, which experts call a
significant increase.
Part of the reason Hurricane Katrina was so powerful was
because the wetlands along the Gulf Coast have been degraded
from pollution and development and could not handle the
Category 4 winds, and also because New Orleans is a city
located below sea level that is protected by a series of levees. The
levees needed repairs and could not sustain hits from the winds
that Katrina brought and so they collapsed under the stress,
which flooded the city.
While the hurricane affected everyone on the Gulf Coast, not
everyone was impacted in the same way. People with financial
or other resources could leave the city ahead of time, and rebuild
much more easily afterwards.
At least 1,836 people lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina and in
the subsequent floods. Criticism of the federal, state and local
governments’ reaction to the storm was widespread and resulted
in an investigation by the U.S. Congress and the resignation of
Federal Emergency Management Agency director. Many say
that proper assistance didn’t come because the people who most
needed it were African American, Latino and other people of
color and that racial prejudice colored the governments
decisions to provide timely relief.
On September 2, 2005, during a benefit concert for Hurricane
Katrina relief on NBC, Kanye West said,
“You see a black family, it says, ‘They’re looting.’ You see a white
family, it says, ‘They’re looking for food.’ And, you know, it’s been five
days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are
black….We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war
right now, fighting another way — and they’ve given them permission
to go down and shoot us!…George Bush doesn’t care about black