Hurricane Katrina - August 29, 2005

For years prior to Hurricane Katrina there had been dire predictions of a catastrophic hurricane hitting New Orleans. In the decade leading up to the storm multiple studies warned of levee failures, potentially large loss of life, and a refugee crisis. A major storm hitting New Orleans was listed by FEMA as the most serious threat to the U.S. in early 2001.

The primary plan for providing for public safety in the event of a dangerous storm called for evacuating the city. However, the plans for evacuation did not sufficiently take into account those who did not have the means to evacuate voluntarily, such as those without vehicles, the poor, the elderly and the disabled. An estimated 10%-20% of the residents were not successfully evacuated.

 

The official death toll for New Orleans from the storm and from the subsequent failure of the levees is listed at 1,464. The overall death toll from the storm is listed at 1,833. However, both of those figures represent only the confirmed deaths from the storm, and an August 30, 2010 article in the Houston Chronicle cites at least one estimate that places the actual death toll as high as 3,500.

 

My Heart Will Always Be in New Orleans Ė Jon Waterman

Hey if you ever go down to New Orleans
Wonít you let me come along
To a place I still remember I first heard of in a song
Since then Iíve been there many times though only in my dreams
And my heart will always be in New Orleans

Oh let me wake up down on Basin Street
To the sound of Dixieland
Crowds with dancing, tappin feet
Snappin fingers, clappin hands
Oh let me be part of that scene Iíve seen so often in my dreams
For my heart will always be in New Orleans

So if youíre headin down the Mississippi River
To the Gulf of Mexico
Wonít you let me come along To that place I long to go
I heard about it in a song and Iíve seen it in my dreams
Now my heart will always be in New Orleans

Iíve been down with the Chicago blues
Been soothed by Memphis soul
Been digginí Appalachian folksongs
Dark as West Virginia coal
Now let me be part of that scene Iíve seen so often in my dreams
For my heart will always be in New Orleans
©2005 Jon Waterman

Recording Info:
Jon Waterman- Vocal, Guitar and Clarinet
John DiTomaso- Trumpet
Garth Retallack- Trombone
Adam Zampino- Piano
Chris Paglia- Bass
Jeff Pearlstein- Drums

The way disasters are treated in song have changed over time. Songs inspired by tragedies don't necessarily tell the stories of the actual disaster. In contemporary music, the details of the event are often omitted in favor of expressing an emotional response. For more on this, see the Q&A section.

 


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