Mission 2010: Can We Save New Orleans?

Barbara McCarragher’s webpage for Team 1: Hurricanes


Research Sources

Dunn, G., & Miller, B.  (1964).  Atlantic hurricanes.  USA: Louisiana State University Press.

While the majority of this book focuses on the science behind hurricanes, it also contains region-specific information about the hazards of hurricanes in addition to sections on forecasting and short- and long-range hurricane planning.


Fitzpatrick, P.  (1999).  Natural disasters: hurricanes.  Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO

In terms of hurricane history, the most useful sections of this text focus on specific storms, chronology, and historical patterns and data.


Galle, Julie.  (visited 9/10/2006).  Vulnerable cities: New Orleans, LA.  URL http://www.weather.com/newscenter/specialreports/hurricanes/vulnerablecities/neworleans.html

This Weather Channel page is part of a pre-Katrina series examining the vulnerabilities of coastal or hurricane-prone cities such as Tampa, New Orleans, and Galveston.  It focuses on the dangers of a storm surge swamping the city and leaving the pumps underwater.  The article also addresses the feelings of complacency held by many New Orleanians as a result of the extended time since a big storm.


Hearn, P.  (2004).  Hurricane Camille: monster storm of the Gulf Coast.  Jackson, MI: University Press of Mississippi.

Published before Hurricane Katrina, this book looks at the lifecycle of Hurricane Camille, which was only the third Category 5 storm ever to hit the U.S. mainland.  Camille is sometimes considered the precursor to Katrina, so studying her history is a useful way to gain insight into how other major storms have affected the Gulf Coast.  The book also examines the recovery and predictions about the “next Camille”.


King, H. (1/2006; visited 9/10/2006).  Rebuilding New Orleans: subsidence, sea level rise, global warming, faults, hurricanes.  URL http://geology.com/articles/rebuilding-new-orleans.shtml

This article provides a comprehensive look at Katrina’s impact as the “most anticipated natural disaster in modern American history” and the factors involved in rebuilding, particularly safety.  It also looks at NOAA data about the storm history of New Orleans and how the issues of global warming, land subsidence, and sea level rise will exacerbate the problem.  King also asserts that the levee system’s close proximity to commercial and residential areas makes the walls vulnerable to terrorist attacks.


New Orleans hurricane risk.  (11/2005; visited 9/10/2006).  URL http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/ops/hurricane-risk-new-orleans.htm

This article is an assessment of New Orleans’s vulnerability to tropical storms and hurricanes, both geographically and in regards to evacuation issues.  It also recaps the different governing bodies involved in the levees, the control of the Mississippi, and other aspects that could influence the city’s safety.  Brief descriptions of the 4 major twentieth-century storms (1947, Betsy, Camille, and Georges) in addition to a section about how Hurricane Ivan exposed the weaknesses of the evacuation plan provide historical reference.


Simpson, R.  (1981).  The hurricane and its impact.  Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press.

This book focuses more on the applications of understanding hurricanes as opposed to the actual science, so it is a useful guide to understanding the damage that results from storms and how to live with the hurricane hazard.


United States Government Accountability Office.  (11/9/2005).  Army Corps of Engineers: history of the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Project. [WWW Document]  URL http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06244t.pdf#search=%22hurricanes%20New%20Orleans%20history%22  (visited 9/10/2006)

The report is a government review of the hurricane protection measures designed for New Orleans and the various states of completion that they were in when Katrina struck.  Most of the information relevant to hurricane history appeared as background information, although the report as a whole provided good insight into how the plans for hurricane protection have actually been executed or abandoned and how the long-term the plan is only supposed to protect against a slow-moving Category 2 storm or a fast-moving Category 3.  It also offers a glimpse at how fewer storms has resulted in funding cutbacks and lengthened project time.


U.S. mainland hurricane strikes by state, 1851-2004.  (3/2005; visited 9/10/2006).  URL http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/paststate.shtml

This site is very useful for raw data about the frequency, severity, and distribution of all the storms that have hit mainland coastline between 1851 and 2004.


Williams, J., & Duedall, I.  (1997).  Florida hurricanes and tropical storms.  Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.

Even though this book focuses on storms that have hit Florida, it’s a useful way to examine how an area with more common storms has become more efficient and successful at recovering.  Given the relatively low numbers of storms that have impacted New Orleans severely, it also provides insight into the varying effects that storms of different sizes and types can have.


Zebrowski, Z., & Howard, A.  (2005).  Category 5: the story of Camille, lessons unlearned from America’s most violent hurricane.  Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.

Given Camille’s tremendous impact on the Gulf Coast, Zebrowski and Howard examine both the storm itself and the weaknesses of the recovery that left the coast vulnerable.  Even though people claimed Camille was a “wake-up” call, the similarly tragic effects of Katrina exposed how little was actually done, which will be instrumental for designing a plan for the future.