As a New Orleans resident, I (and all the other residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, and other areas that were affected) got to see from an up=close and personal perspective just how devastating a Hurricane can be. Katrina did not just affect the geographical areas where it made landfall, however; its force and impact were felt in many ways throughout the nation. I can recall the concerts and other fundraisers and benefits that were held in the wake of Katrina, and it felt as if the whole nation was offering support for the victims. The impact of Hurricane Katrina also had significant political implications, as George Bush and other members of the federal government were blamed for not responding to Katrina quickly and effectively enough.
To be fair, though, there were many efforts made to help the citizens New Orleans and other areas both before and after Katrina. I recall seeing the National Guard mobilizing in the days before the hurricane hit, and seeing fleets of buses, emergency vehicles, and even construction equipment moving and setting up in many areas. Even if the federal response was too slow, the real problem with Katrina was not the initial impact of the storm, but the levee failures and flooding afterwards. In the years since Katrina hit, New Orleans has come a long way, but it will never be quite the same as it was, at least not for a long time. It became clear that the systems designed to keep New Orleans from flooding were inadequate, and I am concerned that they still are not built up to where they should be. Hopefully the rebuilt and repaired levees will be sufficient the next time a hurricane hits the area; if they are not, New Orleans might not make it through another storm as bad (or worse) than Katrina.