5 Years Later: Hurricane Katrina

5 Years Later: Hurricane Katrina

Although much has been done to rebuild New Orleans after its 2005 disaster, BP's Gulf oil spill presents yet another obstacle to the region's revival. (USA Today)

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a test. This is the real deal,” intones the ominous voice of former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, as he pleads with residents to flee Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. So begins the prologue of a comprehensive report by a USA Today “Topics Team” that tackled the complex picture of what happened there during and after the storm in 2005, and also brings the story up-to-date.

This multimedia package incorporates video, audio slide shows, time-lapse photography, moving panoramas and interactive graphics. It covers a wide range of issues, including Katrina’s impact on businesses, homes, nature and the overall psyche of the people of New Orleans. It represents the team’s most ambitious Web project to date, and their first to be designed for the iPad. If an iPad user navigates to it through Safari, it can be added to the launch screen and will look like an app. Considering the scope of the report, the viewer may prefer to watch the videos in more than one session.

“Rebuilding the Big Easy” is a helpful video overview, and can be found in the “Unsettled: A Changing City” tab. It is a tribute to the undaunted spirit of the place as told in the words of the current mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, members of the New Orleans Saints football team, chefs, musicians, business people and regular folks, accompanied by quick illustrative video clips. Some of the characters seen here are featured in other videos in more depth, and this piece encourages the viewer to poke around in one of the four topics tabs that are built into the video player.


Length: 9:04

Video by H. Darr Beiser, Denny Gainer, Garrett Hubbard and Rhyne Piggott
Photography by H. Darr Beiser, Denny Gainer and Mike Kittrell
Produced by Denny Gainer, Joshua Hatch and Julia Schmalz