New Orleans & Hurricanes

Tulane University

Prof. Stephen A. Nelson

Exercise 3
Hurricane Katrina Flooding Timeline

Fall 2015



On August 29, 2005, as Hurricane Katrina was approaching southeastern Louisiana and as it passed by to the east of New Orleans, levee overtoppings and levee/floodwall failures resulted in severe flooding of the New Orleans area.   The actual timing of the various levee overtoppings and levee/floodwall failures has been difficult to determine as can be seen by examing Appendix II on page 49 of the field trip guide at http://www.tulane.edu/~sanelson/Katrina.

For this exercise you are asked to create a timeline for the various events that resulted in flooding of the region.   To do this, take the following steps:

  1. Download the following Powerpoint file which contains 1 slide onto which you will place your time line.


    After you download the Powerpoint file rename it with your own name somehow occurring in the filename, and use this renamed file for this exercise.

  2. Go to the Blackboard site for this course and click on Content (on the left side of the page).  You will find a link to a pdf document on the levee failures.   Download this document which is entitled Overview of New Orleans Levee Failures:  Lessons Learned and Their Impact on National Levee Design and Assessment by G.L. Sills et al. form the Journal of Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering (May, 2008).  You can also download this document by clicking HERE.

  3. Go the following web site and veiw the interactive graphic from the Times Picayune newspaper on the flooding of New Orleans:


    Keep the link to this site handy for later use.  

  4. On the Powerpoint slide in the Powerpoint file you downloaded in Step 1, show make textboxes above or below the time lines with arrows pointing to the time or range of times when each flooding event occurred.   In doing this, use the information in the document you loaded in Step 2 for the events discussed in that document and use the Times Picayune Interactive graphic for events that are not discussed in PDF document by Sills et al.

    For now at least, we will assume that the timing of events reported in the paper by Sills et al. gives the best times because they are based on extensive data collection by the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET) which includes, interviews with eyewitnesses and stopped clock data. Where information is not reported in the Sills et al. paper, we will rely on the Times Picayune summary.

Try to make a neat timeline with no overlapping text.  Use the drawing tools and text tools in Powerpoint to accomplish this.  Try to choose a font size and style that is readable without having to use magnification.   You may want to use different size fonts for larger features and smaller features.  Again try to make things as neat as possible.  

When you have finished the assignment, you can turn in the assignment by sending the Powerpoint file (renamed as stated in Step 1) to the instructor by email .  

Again, this is not a test, so don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.  

The assignment will be due by October 14

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