Effects Of Hurricane Katrina

Decent Essays
The Color of Katrina
Introduction
On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit Southeast Louisiana causing one of the worst disasters the United States had seen in decades (Weik von Mossner, 2011, p. 146). The combination of a category 3 storm, a city below sea level, and several broken concrete levees resulted in a devastated community. Though the physical damage done by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding was detrimental to all, some members of the community received a bigger blow than others. The truth is that not everyone’s suffering was the same.
When speaking of Katrina, it is impossible to ignore the impact that race and class played on the disaster. According to Kahle, Yu, and Whiteside (2007), the majority of the population
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Tropical storms form over the Atlantic Ocean and gain momentum as they move toward land. If they become powerful enough, they are classified as hurricanes and pose a serious threat to the people who live near the coast. These storms are rated on a scale from 1-5 with 1 being the least powerful and 5 being the most (Brian, Freudenrich, & Lamb, 2000). Hurricane Katrina was a tropical storm that eventually grew to be a category 3 hurricane with winds up to 145 miles per hour and a storm surge of 12 feet (Elliot & Pais, 2006, p. 302).
As meteorologist tracked the storm they guessed the time and place it would reach land and how powerful it would be when it got there. The storm first reached land in Florida and was classified as a category 4 hurricane. As it moved along toward Louisiana, it became slightly less powerful, but was still a major threat (Elliot & Pais, 2006, p. 303). Richey (2011) explained that the people of New Orleans were warned to prepare for a hurricane and as the storm moved closer they were suggested to evacuate. However, being in an area that saw storms fairly often, some people opted to stay home and board up their windows to ride out the storm. Others who wanted to leave might not have been able to because of a lack of personal transportation or somewhere to stay in the meantime. Most of the families who stayed home were the residents of the poorest part of town- the
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Depictions of broken homes, dead bodies, sad faces, and flooded streets covered television screens across America for weeks after the storm. Kahle, Yu, and Whiteside (2007) stated that “Hurricane Katrina was the most visual news event in American history since the September 11 tragedy” and that many referred to it as “the worst national disaster in U.S. history” (p. 76). But again, the African American population, especially the low-income African American population, was misrepresented and misunderstood. Johnson, Dolan, and Sonnett (2011) found that the media “greatly exaggerated” the violence and unlawfulness of people following the storm (p. 305). Such flawed reporting is not within the code of ethics most news sources claim to live by, but unfortunately there are too many examples of misrepresentation of the black population to ignore them. One problematic example of this is the issue of “looting” versus

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