New Orleans, LA
Pre- and Post-Hurricane Katrina

The imagery below is of the 17th Street Levee in New Orleans pre- and post-Hurricane Katrina. Both images were taken by the DigitalGlobe Quickbird satellite. The before image was taken on 9 March 2004. The after image shows the breach in the levee and the water which is flowing into the city. That after-image was taken on 31 August 2005.

The 17th Street Canal separates New Orleans' Jefferson Parish (west) from Orleans Parish (east). The canals of the city, as well as the Mississippi riverbanks and the shore of Lake Pontchartrain are lined with earthen levees that usually keep the low-lying city from from being flooded. But as high water and wind from Katrina scoured the levees, large sections washed away, including a section reportedly several hundred feet long along the eastern side of the 17th Street Canal.

This image from Digital Globe's Quickbird satellite shows the flooding that resulted from the failure of the levee near the 17th Street Canal, which runs top-to-bottom along the left edge of the image. The right edge of the image shows the very western edge of City Park. The flooding of Orleans Parish was so complete that at first, it is easy to mistake the greenish flood waters for tree-lined streets and lawns. However, comparing the area to the small section of Jefferson Parish that is visible along the very left edge of the image shows the dramatic difference.

The breach in the levee along the canal's eastern bank is obvious as a break in the tan line that runs along other portions of the canal. The hole allowed Lake Pontchartrain to pour into the neighborhoods known as the West End. Some homes and other buildings are completely submerged, while the roofs of others appear to float above the murky water.

Comparative Landsat satellite imagery of the 17th Street Levee in New Orleans pre- and post-Hurricane Katrina
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Pre- and post-Hurricane Katrina comparative satellite imagery of the 17th Street Levee in New Orleans

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:53:59 ZULU