How Flooding the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans had a Disasterous Effect During Hurricane Katrina

In order for New Orleans to prepare for the massive storm that was going to hit their city, they first had to look at how their city was doing as a whole. The social influence and the economics of the city were in distress. New Orleans was cutting costs in order to boost the economics, and the divide between social classes was effecting government decisions. In earlier times the government made a decision to flood the lower ninth ward in order to save the upper class neighborhoods from being destroyed.

This inequality, the quality of being unequal or uneven: as lack of evenness, social disparity, disparity of distribution or opportunity, the condition of being variable, led to government deciding how citizens were being treated and cared for after Katrina to rebuild.

In August of 2005, a category five hurricane hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. Most of the damage was centralized in Louisiana, New Orleans, which is seven to ten feet below sea level.

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Hurricane Katrina flooded the lower ninth ward of New Orleans, destroyed millions of homes, and took an estimated 1,836 lives. However, Hurricane Katrina did not contribute to all of the water that left New Orleans with a one hundred billion dollar bill to pay due to damages.

Exploring Government’s Effects:

In 1947, after a hurricane came through New Orleans, leaving them with millions of dollars to pay in damage, the city built a levee system to keep water out. New Orleans’ economics, or the buying, selling, and/or trading of goods and/or services based upon cost-benefit analysis, was not strong, which effected the citizens greatly.

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With such bad economics, the government had to cut costs, including the levee system. Instead of creating a system to withstand the force of the large hurricanes New Orleans frequently gets hit with, the states’ government made levees that could only handle category three hurricanes. Before Katrina could release all the rain water it was able to produce, the levees already started to give out. In Spike Lee’s film “When the Levees Broke” a women recalled hearing a large boom and she knew that the levees burst. What she expected is not so different from what actually happened. She suspected that the government gave orders to break the levees again in order to flood the lower ninth and save the higher rent neighborhoods. The government still did flood the lower ninth, not directly, but they did not put the proper funds into the levee system to keep the citizens of New Orleans safe from disasters, such as Katrina.

The families that were able to live comfortably because of their incomes, were already at an advantage over the lower income families because they had more means of transportation. Most lower income families of New Orleans relied heavily on public transportation. During Katrina the citizens that were unable to evacuate on their own lined up to be transported from the city to higher level towns. But these buses never came. The buses were already flooded while hundreds of people were standing around waiting for hours. These people were never informed of the issue with the buses but had to keep hoping they were coming instead of getting other means of an evacuation plan.

Along with government failures, FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, provided the people with nowhere to go trailers, to get them out of the heat of the post storm. Though these trailers did provide shelter for the victims of the storm with shelter, air conditioning, and a bed to sleep on, the trailers also came with formaldehyde in the walls. Because there was a high demand for these trailers, the agency cut corners, just like the state government, and started a mass production of the trailers using materials containing formaldehyde, which caused the people staying in them to get cancer and asthma. Both of which are long lasting and devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina due to incompetence.

Due to a lack of government aid, a category five hurricane, which is already life threating and devastating, caused more damage than it would have on its own. New Orleans’ economics before Katrina was bad, resulting in more low income neighborhoods and districts, yet the government decided to turn their backs on the vast majority of its population. The people of New Orleans are now left with a mistrust of government and the constant reminder of the tragic week that stripped them of their entire lives.

Updated: Feb 19, 2024
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How Flooding the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans had a Disasterous Effect During Hurricane Katrina. (2024, Feb 19). Retrieved from

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