Yesterday, I started reading Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum and got about 20 pages into it. So far so good; the book basically outlines the stories of nine different people from different areas of New Orleans. The surprise twist that I wasn’t aware of is that I think all nine people have been through multiple serious hurricanes in New Orleans, starting with Hurricane Betsy in 1965 and ending with Hurricane Katrina. I’m not sure if they are all going to live in New Orleans their entire life or if they moved back to retire around 2005, but either way I think it’s going to be an amazing book.
This reading got me thinking about the city’s history with hurricanes. I’m from the gulf coast and in my experience there have been some devastating hurricanes that other people, even in Florida, don’t know the name of.
Just one year before Katrina hit New Orleans, Hurricane Ivan directly hit my home town, Gulf Breeze, killing anyone who stayed at the beach and wiping many homes away leaving only concrete slabs.
I know I had never heard of Hurricane Betsy before beginning to read Baum’s book. So, I looked up the history of hurricanes in New Orleans and found out that there have have been four major, devastating hurricanes in the last 100 years. I think anyone moving to the city needs to know about and understand these storms in order to fully “get” the city.
I found this Web site which lists the major hurricanes in New Orleans history, although the site isn’t too user-friendly.
So once I study up on past hurricanes, I can check out any new storm news at a site designed by the Times-Picayune.