Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

We Are All First Responders

FEMA Director Craig Fugate on why the Katrina response failed, why it’s important to talk about “survivors” instead of “victims,” and why citizens can’t just wait for the government to save them in a huge disaster

Tom Reichner / Bonita R. Cheshier / Dustie / Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock / Reuters / Zak Bickel / The Atlantic

The Mothers of All Disasters

Massive hurricanes striking Miami or Houston. Earthquakes leveling Los Angeles or Seattle. Deadly epidemics. Meet the “maximums of maximums” that keep emergency planners up at night.

Carlos Barria / Reuters

New Orleans, 10 Years After Katrina

A decade ago, Hurricane Katrina triggered floods that inundated New Orleans and killed more than 1,800 people as storm waters overwhelmed levees and broke through floodwalls on August 29, 2005.

Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

Houses of the Future

Four years after the levee failures, New Orleans is seeing an unexpected boom in architectural experimentation. Small, independent developers are succeeding in getting houses built where the government has failed. And the city's unique challenges—among them environmental impediments, an entrenched culture of leisure, and a casual acquaintance with regulation—are spurring design innovations that may redefine American architecture for a generation.

Lee Celano / Reuters

Reading, Writing, Resurrection

Hurricane Katrina destroyed one of America’s worst school systems and made New Orleans the nation’s laboratory for educational reform. But can determined educators and entrepreneurs transcend the damage of the flood—and of history?

Rob Carr / AP

Struggling to Survive

A year after Katrina, as a visitor drives block by block through St. Bernard Parish, a reality sinks in for which there is no preparing. Even knowing better, the visitor cannot help expecting to turn a corner and come upon an undamaged part of the parish. But every turn reveals more of the same—more destruction, more debris, more rebuilding still undone.

David J. Phillip / AP

An America I Never Expected to See

The incompetence—the sustained, systemic, outrageous incompetence—that marked the government's response to Hurricane Katrina is genuinely hard to believe.

Ric Feld / AP

Storm Surge

Katrina let news people step into the classic roles journalists have been playing since time began.