Alternate History

The end of New Orleans

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Hurricane Katrina

August 28th 2005

Hurricane Katrina strengthens to a category five hurricane.

August 29th 2005

Hurricane Katrina makes landfall as a category five hurricane with sustained winds of 175mph (and gusts over 200mph) fifty miles east of New Orleans. On August 29, Katrina's storm surge caused 55 different levee breaches in greater New Orleans submerging eighty five to ninety percent of the city. A June 2007 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers indicated that two-thirds of the flooding were caused by the multiple failures of the city's floodwalls. The storm surge also devastated the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, making Katrina the most destructive and costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States, and the deadliest hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane. The total damage from Katrina is estimated at $137.2 billion (2005 U.S. dollars), well over double the cost of the previously most expensive storm, Hurricane Andrew, when adjusted for inflation.

As of May 19, 2006, the confirmed death toll (total of direct and indirect deaths) from Hurricane Katrina stood at 2,836, mainly from Louisiana (2,277) and Mississippi (538). However, 1,705 people remain categorized as missing in Louisiana, and many of the deaths are indirect, but it is almost impossible to determine the exact cause of some of the fatalities.

As the eye of Hurricane Katrina swept to the north, it subjected the city to hurricane conditions for hours. Although power failures prevented accurate measurement of wind speeds in New Orleans, there were a few measurements of hurricane-force winds. From this the NHC concluded that it is likely that much of the city experienced sustained winds of Category 3 or Category 4 strength.

Most of the major roads traveling into and out of the city were damaged. The only routes out of the city were the westbound Crescent City Connection and the Huey P. Long Bridge, as large portions of the I-10 Twin Span Bridge traveling eastbound towards Slidell, Louisiana had collapsed. Both the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway and the Crescent City Connection only carried emergency traffic.

On August 29, at 7:40 a.m. CDT, it was reported that most of the windows on the north side of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans had been blown out, and many other high rise buildings had extensive window damage. The Hyatt was the most severely damaged hotel in the city, with beds reported to be flying out of the windows. Insulation tubes were exposed as the hotel's glass exterior was completely sheared off. The Superdome, which was sheltering many people who had not evacuated, sustained significant structural damage. Two sections of the Superdome's roof were compromised and the dome's waterproof membrane had essentially been peeled off, within 2 hours sections of roof had collapsed causing the Superdome to be evacuated during the height of the storm.

New Orleans is heavily damaged, anyone who cannot help with the rebuilding of New Orleans is given a mandatory evacuation order.

Hurricane Rita

Within a month the season's 18th tropical depression was named Rita, less than a day after forming, the depression became the 17th tropical storm of the season on September 18 and was named Rita. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for the entire Florida Keys.

Rita was slow to become a hurricane; National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports early on September 20 estimated the storm's sustained surface winds at hurricane force (75 mph or 120 km/h). However, Rita lacked a complete eyewall; forecasters identified Rita as a tropical storm with 70 mph (110 km/h) winds overnight. Aircraft observations released at 9:45 a.m. EDT showed a closed eyewall and winds clearly at hurricane strength. Four hours later, the NHC reported that Rita had reached Category 2 hurricane strength, with 100 mph (160 km/h) maximum sustained winds.

Hurricane Rita encountering the Gulf Loop Current and Eddy Vortex.Warm water in the Gulf of Mexico, 1 °F (0.5 °C) above average, favored storm intensification. As Rita entered the Gulf, rapid intensification began. National Hurricane Center advisories issued every three hours each showed strengthening from 5 p.m. EDT on September 20 to 11 a.m. EDT on September 21, when Rita's maximum sustained winds increased to 140 mph (225 km/h). Rita continued to gain strength unabated. An update at 2:15 p.m. CDT (1815 UTC) said maximum winds had increased to 150 mph (240 km/h) and Rita's minimum pressure was 920 mbar (hPa). Less than two hours later, at 3:55 p.m. CDT, another update reported that Rita had strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane, with maximum wind speeds of 165 mph (265 km/h). On the same day mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin orders the complete and mandatory evacuation of Greater New Orleans area. He also says that anyone stupid enough to stay will be on their own for up to 2 weeks.

23rd September 2005

Hurricane Rita makes landfall 20 miles west of downtown New Orleans as a category 4 hurricane, the storm surge is over 3 metres above normal water levels, the hurricane strikes at high tide causing major flooding in the remaining unflooded areas of New Orleans, lightning strikes in the french quarter cause major fires that burn out of control for the next three days. Fires also break out in other areas of the city caused by lightning strikes and broken gas mains.

Even though the manatory eveacuation was ordered there are still several hundred deaths recorded for hurricane Rita, however due to the state of decomposition it is hard to tell if these people died as a result of Rita or Katrina.

Hurricane Wilma

A large area of disturbed weather developed across much of the Caribbean Sea from an upper-level low across the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. A broad area of low pressure developed on October 13 to the southeast of Jamaica, and slowly became more concentrated as upper-level wind shear gradually decreased. Dvorak classifications began on October 14, and by late October 15 the surface circulation in the system became well-enough defined, with sufficiently organized deep convection, for the National Hurricane Center to designate the system as Tropical Depression Twenty-Four while located about 220 miles (345 km) east-southeast of Grand Cayman.

The depression drifted southwestward due to the influence of two ridges to its north, and with warm water temperatures and a favorable upper-level environment it strengthened into Tropical Storm Wilma on October 17. Initially, development was slow, due to the large size of the storm and a flat pressure gradient. However, convection gradually organized, and from October 18 through the 19th Wilma underwent explosive deepening over the open waters of the Caribbean. In a 30- hour period, the pressure dropped from 982 mbar to the record-low of 882 mbar, while the winds increased to 185 mph (300 km/h).

Wilma weakened after the inner eye dissipated and underwent an eyewall replacement cycle. It turned northward, and remained a powerful Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale after the outer 40 mile (65 km) became the dominant eyewall. The hurricane moved north and made a direct line for New Orleans.

October 19th 2005

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin orders the forced mandatory evacuation of the New Orleans district; he asks for the Louisiana national guard to forcibly remove everyone from the city.

October 22nd 2005

Hurricane Wilma makes landfall directly over New Orleans as a category 3 storm, it was extremely slow on its move inland. What ever parts of the city not flooded now are by the extremely heavy rain dropped by the slow moving storm. Due to the forced manatory evacuation there are no deaths associated from hurricane Wilma.


In January 2006 the final report on the damage of New Orleans is announced, the damage is described as total. Every building in the city and suburbs has some amount of damage, with more than 60% of the buildings totally destroyed. Every levee in the city has failed at some point causing parts of the city to be under 30 feet of water.

It is decided in February 2006 that it will cost more to rebuild the city than to deal with the former residents relocation, as such New Orleans will be demolished and abandoned.

The bill to abandon the city of New Orleans passes in congress with an almost unanimous vote.

Demolition of the city begins in March 2007, any historical buildings that are salvageable are moved to the city of Galveston.

On August 29th 2008 (the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina) the city of New Orleans ceases to exist.

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