In the coming weeks we will be hearing a lot about the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The storm was a Category 3 hurricane when it came ashore at New Orleans on August 29, 2005, causing the levees that were supposed to protect the city to fail catastrophically. Much has been made of the government’s response – or lack thereof- to the carnage caused by the storm and efforts to rebuild the city.
Katrina still ranks as the most expensive natural disaster in our nation’s history and was also one of the most costly in terms of human lives lost.
Tulane University, located in the heart of New Orleans, and one of the city’s largest employers, suffered extensive damage from Katrina and was forced to cancel an entire semester of classes. Yet through it all the folks at Tulane and the rest of the city kept working to rebuild.
Tulane became the main center for scholarly analysis of Katrina. A group of its professors took part in the first of several academic conferences on Katrina in December, 2005, in France and they have continued to meet over the years. A new book entitled Hurricane Katrina in Transatlantic Perspective, features essays from four of Tulane’s professors and seeks to make sense of Katrina and its historical importance.
One of the professors, Randy J. Sparks, says Katrina can teach us many lessons.“The storm’s impact was not just limited to our region or country; these essays can remind us that there are things we should never forget. I think everyone, whether New Orleanian or French, felt a deep engagement with the Katrina experience and the important lessons it had to teach us.”
The first Mardi Gras after Katrina in February, 2006 “provided a means of healing and celebration and resistance,” says Sparks. “So many of us feared that we might lose our culture, that the things that made the city so unique may have drowned in the storm, but I think that first Mardi Gras dispelled some of those fears.”
Tulane University is one of the nation’s most prestigious educational and research institutions. Founded in 1834 in New Orleans, Tulane offers degrees in architecture, business, law, liberal arts, medicine, public health and tropical medicine, the sciences and engineering, and social work.
Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is working to eliminate the use of child labor in the cocoa industry in Africa. That’s a topic I’d like to explore in another blog post. Apparently there are millions of children working basically as slaves in the cocoa industry in West Africa.
Several special events are scheduled at Tulane to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Katrina.
Levee Break caused by Hurricane Katrina
Memorial to Katrina Victims
Logo for Tulane University. Apparently even after Katrina Tulane still call themselves the Green Wave.