It was the most catastrophic event in New Orleans history. Hurricane Katrina destroyed large swathes of the city and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Now the Louisiana State Museum has opened an exhibit chronicling the natural disasters that have visited New Orleans, culminating in the most recent and worst.
Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond, a 6,700 square-foot multimedia exhibition, opened this week. The show traces the history of the city’s relationship to the elements and explores how such disasters can be averted in the future. Interactive displays show how hurricanes form, why they are so prevalent in the Gulf, and how Katrina broke the levees and caused such widespread destruction.
Many individual stories are told, like that of Ken Ballau, who used his boat to rescue four hundred stranded civilians. His boat is part of the display. Claudio Hemb’s jeans are exhibited too. Thinking he was going to die, Hemb wrote his and his wife’s names, her phone number in Houston, his social security number and blood type on his pants so his body could be identified and his wife informed.
The museum hopes the exhibit will act as a catharsis for New Orleans residents, as well as educational for the thousands of out-of-towners who visit the museum every year.
[Image courtesy U.S. Coast Guard]