Plaquemines Port Harbor Authority patrol boats are visible through an early morning mist rising on the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, LA. The Harbor Authority building behind the boats was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Katrina made landfall on Monday morning, August 29, 2005 as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph with over a 20-foot storm surge. Katrina caused catastrophic damage over 90 thousand square miles across Louisiana with an estimated $75 billion dollars in damage. The total economic impact to the Gulf Coast was estimated at over $150 billion. 80% of New Orleans, LA, was underwater with some areas more than 20 feet deep. Less than a month later southern Louisiana was struck by a second Category 3 hurricane Rita inflicting more damage in the southwestern areas of Louisiana adding an addition $12 billion worth of damage to the already beleaguered state. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) under the auspices of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was the lead service in providing assistance to the citizens of Louisiana. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supplied emergency food aid, emergency loan assistance to farmers and home owners, and USDA personnel from around the nation volunteered their time and muscle to aid in the recovery operations. USDA Photo by Alice Welch.
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