About Hurricane Katrina and The Katrina Memorial
History & Location
Hurricane Katrina made landfall in South Louisiana on August 29, 2005. On August 30, hurricane strength winds diminished and the sun came out. New Orleanians thought they had dodged yet another natural disaster.
On the morning of August 30, eight feet of water started rolling down Canal Street. Water rose rapidly in the Lakeview neighborhood which fronts Lake Pontchartrain. Residents trapped by the rising waters took to their attics and roofs. Some had previously evacuated to downtown hotels. The force of the water swept some houses off foundations. The levee protection along Lake Pontchartrain failed. Areas of City Park, in mid-City, took in 2 to 8 feet of water. The Bayou St. John neighborhood sat in four feet of water.
At the Lindy Boggs Memorial Medical Center on Bayou St. John, flood waters rose rapidly and conditions there became chaotic. Helicopters rescued some patients who were ambulatory, but many did not make it out of the hospital. Some died from the stress of evacuation.
Simultaneously, flood water from the Gulf of Mexico burst into The Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish through MR. GO, short for Mississippi Gulf Outlet. The flood waters breached the canal levee surrounding the Ninth Ward neighborhoods. Water from the Gulf swept houses off foundations in the Lower Nine and in St. Bernard Parish to the South of the Ninth Ward.
At downtown hotels, personnel went about urging guests to leave. Hotel managers made it clear that they could not operate A/C services, keep the water free of contaminants, and operate the sewage disposal safely. People who had cars in the parking garages got on the road and escaped the chaos in the city. Others crowded into the Convention Center and Superdome to escape rising waters and generally unsafe conditions. Neither facility was suitable as a refuge.
Buses began moving people out of the city, boarding buses to who knew where. Most communication systems were down. As the exodus continued, television stations were the only sources of information. TV reporting concentrated just a few areas. As buses streamed out of New Orleans, people were frantic for information about the condition of their homes and neighborhoods.
Approximately 1100 residents in the path of Katrina died during the storm or in its aftermath. More than a hundred were never identified. An outdoor mausoleum at the end of Canal Street contains the remains of the unidentified victims of Katrina. Community leaders chose these grounds for the Katrina Memorial because it has long been the community cemetery of Charity Hospital for those who had no burial options.
A coalition of members of the funeral and cemetery business led the way in the construction of the Katrina Memorial. The outdoor memorial mausoleum stands stately and unadorned at the end of the labyrinth leading to the structure.
A wrought iron fence surrounds the burial grounds. The only adornment on the fence is the repetition of identical carvings of the fleur de lis into iron plates within a swirling circle. The historical symbol of New Orleans is the fleur de lis thus symbolizing the city of New Orleans within the swirling the eye of the hurricane.
Mid-City New Orleans
- Canal St. & City Park Ave.
- 5056 Canal St.
Getting here from Downtown
via the Canal St. Cemeteries
View in Google Maps
KML file for Google Earth
The Historic New Orleans Cemetery District tour includes Dispersed of Judah and St. Patrick Cemeteries, as well as the Katrina Memorial.
Meet your scheduled tour guide at the Sacred Grinds Coffee House, near the end of the Canal Street Cemeteries streetcar line at Canal St. and City Park Ave. (Street View).
If you'd like to take the streetcar from downtown to this historic area, we've created a annotated map for you! It's located above in the Location section.
We welcome volunteer and/or student groups with generous discounts. We also offer a discount for any group of ten or more traveling together.
If you have any questions, or if you're ready to reserve your tour, don't hestitate to contact us at 504-295-9047 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hours of Operation
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Historic Cemetery District Tours
1 hour (includes St. Patrick, Dispersed of Judah, Cypress Grove)
$12 per person
1.5 hours (St. Patrick, Dispersed of Judah, and Metairie Cemetery)
$15 per person