Louisiana Institute of Higher Education


#41 “Katrina: What Really Happened & Solutions for the Future”

2006-2007 History Lecture Series Season – May 8th, 2006

Sherwood Gagliano, Coastal Restoration Consultant

Al Waller, Citizens Recovery Committee

Ron Chapman, Assistant Professor of History, Nunez Community College

Attendance – 142



Lecture Description


 The first lecture of the post-Katrina era was an attempt to understand the Storm and recovery from an emotional perspective. This second lecture was an attempt to understand the technical aspects of the catastrophe. Dr. Sherwood Gagliano researched Louisiana’s wetland erosion for decades and spoke about how the loss of the wetlands and barrier islands essentially gave Katrina a free run to the metro area. Previously, the land had sapped the hurricanes of their force, so their ferocity was broken. Al Waller, the Chair of the Coastal Wetlands Restoration sub¬committee of the Citizens Recovery Committee, examined possible solutions for a post-Katrina St. Bernard Parish. He concentrated on the state of the levees and what needed to be done to give adequate protection to St. Bernard. Chapman told specifically how the geography of the area, and especially the twentieth-century modifications, had increased the susceptibility to hurricanes. In a 2004 lecture, he had warned about a doomsday path of a hurricane and that we had been fortunate that nature had been kind in not sending one on that route. In this lecture, he told how Katrina had followed that path almost exactly.