MRP in the News

Completed in 2013, the South Plaquemines High School Buildings are elevated above the surrounding area.

COASTAL LOUISIANA, TEN YEARS AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made a landfall in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.  The associated winds gusting up to 115 mph and a 13-foot storm surge left a path of destruction that changed the future for the local communities. The hurricane resulted in over 2,000 casualties and over $200 billion of economic losses.

In the months following the event, Mark Pierepiekarz of MRP Engineering performed damage investigations of local schools and community facilities.  Damage to schools and availability of alternate nearby classrooms, in particular, impact long-term decisions made by families affected by major disasters. Residents' decisions whether to stay or move shapes the post-event revival of affected communities.

He returned to the Plaquemines in April 2015, nearly 10 years after the event, to observe  successes and remaining challenges in post-hurricane reconstruction.  While post-Katrina scars are still visible, so are a number of accomplishments, signifying the resilience of the local population.  For example, more robust new schools, fire stations, and community service buildings have been built with the aid of public assistance funding.   On a regional basis, improvements continue on strengthening the Mississippi River levees as well as restoration of vegetated offshore marsh ridges to reduce surge levels from future hurricanes.

The following photos illustrate reconstruction progress in 2015 and compare hurricane impacts on selected locations in Plaquemines Parish following Hurricane Katrina.

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