Today is the tenth anniversary of the devastating 2005 landfall of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area. It would turn out to be the fifth deadliest storm to ever hit the United States and caused the reported deaths of 1,833 people It also resulted in once the levees failed in 80% of New Orleans being flooded and major damage to the roof of the Superdome.
It also had far reaching effects post landfall in forcing the largest movement of African-Americans since The Great Migration of the early 20th century and affecting the politics of the states of Texas, Louisiana and Georgia.
Because of Katrina evacuees, the population of Houston grew by 35,000 people, and enough stayed to where we ended up expanding City Council after the 2010 census. Georgia picked up a congressional seat and Texas picked up four congressional seats.
Conversely, New Orleans lost half its pre-storm population and the state of Louisiana lost 4.8% of its pre-Katrina population and a congressional seat. Louisiana also went from being a swing state to a reliably Republican voting one.
And yes, Katrina also affected the lives of our trans family who lived there.
The badly botched government response by the Bush Administration was probably a factor in the Democrats getting control of the US House and the Senate in the 2006 midterms the next year.
New Orleans and the area has bounced back ten years later, Many of the people who left the city in the wake of Katrina have returned. The Superdome reopened, and the levees and highways damaged by the storm have been rebuilt. President Obama visited the city earlier this week, spoke with residents and Mayor Mitch Landrieu and gave this speech.
There will also be commemorative events across the area today as people remember the folks that were lost in that devastating storm.