Photo History: 15 Years After Hurricane Katrina, Revisiting the Devastation and Renewal of New Orleans Schools
By Mark Keierleber | August 23, 2020
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 24: A submerged school bus is seen in the flooded Lower Ninth Ward September 24, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Lower Ninth Ward was flooded again when waters overtopped a levee on the Industrial Canal as Hurricane Rita passed through the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, just over three weeks after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The few photographers who dared venture into New Orleans’s devastated schools after Hurricane Katrina emerged with images that were harrowing and haunting. Portraits of sheer obliteration, wreckage towering frame after frame.
When the storm came ashore on Aug. 29, 2005, some neighborhoods in the city were submerged beneath 12 feet of water. More than 1,800 were killed by the surge and its aftermath; an estimated million Gulf Coast residents were displaced by the storm.
The city’s school system was left in ruins. More than 100 buildings were damaged or destroyed beyond repair, and the images that emerged from those derelict structures point to the magnitude of the challenge that awaited the city.
Fifteen years after one of the worst natural disasters in American history, here’s a look back at how Hurricane Katrina forever reshaped New Orleans schools.
AUGUST 30, 2005
In commemoration of the hurricane’s 10th anniversary, The 74 commissioned a three-part documentary that spanned the first half of 2015. Founder Campbell Brown toured schools across the city, speaking with New Orleans students, educators, school advocates and district leaders about the decade of disruption that followed the storm.
Go Deeper:See our latest coverage of New Orleans schools amid the pandemic via our new special hub at The74Million.org/PANDEMIC; get alerts for our latest Louisiana coverage by signing up for The 74 Newsletter.