5 before-and-after photos that expose the evolution of the Gulf Coast after Katrina

By By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
June 10, 2016, 6:50:30 AM EDT

As one of the worst natural disasters to strike American soil, Hurricane Katrina destroyed entire neighborhoods, important infrastructure and claimed nearly 2,000 lives during and after the storm. In these before-and-after photos, these five scenes show some of the immediate aftermath in Louisiana and Mississippi as millions of Americans began to pick up the shattered pieces.

Move your cursor over the images to see the changes to different areas along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. For mobile users, tap the photos to see the change.

For areas that have been rebuilt or restored, the 10-year anniversary is a reminder of the resilience and tireless effort displayed by the Gulf Coast. But for areas that still sit empty and broken, a decade has gone by without much change.

Katrina inflicted havoc on the Gulf Coast, resulting in $125 billion of economic loss. An estimated 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded after levee failures in Louisiana, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In total, Katrina was responsible for 1,800 deaths.

When breaches across four canals occurred as Katrina invaded New Orleans, the city's Lower Ninth Ward was hit with catastrophic flooding. Homes were swept off their foundations, splintering into pieces. For the structures that remained in place, severe flooding overtook the properties. Sitting so close to the Industrial Canal levee breach, the Lower Ninth was one of the most devastated areas across the city.


Ninety percent of the population has returned to the City of New Orleans since the 2005 hurricane, but the Lower Ninth Ward stands in stark contrast. As of 2014, lowernine.org reported that only 34 percent of the population in the Lower Ninth has since returned.

When officials were alerted that the storm would make a direct hit, they issued widespread mandatory evacuations across parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, including New Orleans.

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However, not everyone managed to leave the city. Trapped residents were rescued and brought to the shelter areas, including the Superdome, home to the New Orleans Saints. Beyond initial evacuations, Katrina forced one of the largest and most abrupt relocations of people in U.S. history, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 400,000 people were displaced, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


For thousands of people in desperate need of shelter from Katrina's fury, the Louisiana Superdome became ground zero. One of 10 shelters put in place, the arena housed roughly 10,000 people during the storm. The dome was damaged, but officials began repairs soon after. FEMA gave more than $23.4 million for Superdome repairs and the Saints played their first home game of the season against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 25, 2006, on their own turf, marking the reopening of the Superdome.


The famous white roof was punctured by the strong winds, leading to an upgraded roof installation after the hurricane. By 2013, the renamed Mercedez-Benz Superdome hosted Superbowl XLVII.

As local officials and relief organizations worked to repair the region, the local police department in Slidell, Louisiana, roughly 20 miles from New Orleans, had damage of their own to fix. Storm surges up to 20 feet washed across the city, causing extensive damage. Piles of garbage and debris sat along the street, waiting to be collected. Funded by FEMA, the station was rebuilt by July 2008.


Katrina crashed into Mississippi with destructive winds, drenching rain and overwhelming storm surge on Aug. 29, 2005. All 82 counties were declared disaster areas, but the Gulf region was devastated. In Biloxi, Mississippi, 90 percent of structures along the coastline were destroyed, according to CBS.



Thumbnail image: Floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina fill the streets near downtown New Orleans on Aug. 30, 2005. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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