New Orleans and Hurricanes:  Past, Present, and Future


Tulane University

Fall Semester 2015

Prof. Stephen A. Nelson

Office - 208 Blessey Hall


Course Syllabus
Lecture Notes
Useful Links


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Lecture Notes

Note the 2 versions of each set of lecture notes are available.  The first version displays quickly in a normal web browser.  The PDF version is optimized for printing, but requires the Acrobat Reader.

Only links with a * have been updated for the Fall 2015 semester

The Science of Hurricanes*  PDF Version *

Why New Orleans is Vulnerable to Hurricanes - Geologic and Historical Factors  PDF Version

Lessons Learned and Reducing Vulnerability  PDF Version

The Risk to New Orleans from Hurricanes, Present, and Future   PDF Version

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Only links with a * have been updated for the Fall 2015 semester

Exercise 1 - Hurricane Exercise*   PDF Version*  Due Sept.9

Exercise 2 - New Orleans Map*  PDF Version* Due Sept. 16

Exercise 3- Hurricane Katrina Time Line* PDF Version* Due Oct. 14

Exercise 4 - TBA  Due Nov. 4

Presentation Assessment Form

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Useful Links

Flash Flood - Times Picayune interactive graphic on the flooding of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina - What Happened?  Field Trip Guide

Independent Levee Investigation Team, Investigation of the New Orleans Flood Protection Systems in Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005  Final Report, July 31, 2006.

Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -Final IPET report, including all volumes and supplements.

Myths of Katrina: Field Notes from a Geoscientist A paper by S. A. Nelson on 5 commonly held misconceptions about Hurricane Katrina.

The Katrina Myth- The Truth About a Thoroughly Unnatural Disaster -  A you tube video produced by

Last Chance -  Times Picayune interactive graphic on coastal land loss in Louisiana,

National Hurricane Center

Washing Away A prophetic 5 part series on the possible effect of hurricanes on New Orleans, published by the Times Picayune newspaper in June of 2002.

Weather Underground - Tropical Weather


Books about the Katrina Disaster

Brinkley, Douglas, The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast . Harper Perennial (July 31, 2007), 768 pp.

Horne, Jed, Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City.  Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 15, 2008), 464 pp.*

McQuaid, John and Mark Schleifstein, Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms, Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (August 16, 2006). 384 pp.*

Van Heerden, Ivor and Bryan, Mike, The Storm - What went wrong and why during Hurricane Katrina - The inside story form on Louisiana scientist.  Viking Press, 2006, 308 pp.*

*highly recommended

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