Superdome Hurricane Fail Essay

2365 words - 10 pages

During the two previous hurricanes that made their way onto the New Orleans coast, the Superdome was also used for a shelter during these times. The use of the building as a sanctuary then, even in the face of much lesser hurricanes, was nothing short of a disaster. In Hurricane Georges and Ivan, supplies and planning were not evident. Reports were made that during Georges, citizens were stealing items from the dome and damaged much of the Superdome which cost the city thousands. This shows the lack of attention to patterns in the Superdomes’ past and It was also very difficult during Georges to get the supplies they did have to citizens inside the dome. During this disaster, there were only an estimated number of 14,000 people in the dome compared to the over 20,000 during Katrina. If it was difficult to provide citizens with essential services inside the Superdome during a far less severe hurricane with approximately 6,000 less people involved, the idea to let the Superdome weather Katrina with little to no planning was a astronomical mistake and a scary decision coming from the mayor who is in charge of keeping his people safe.
One thing a sports arena is not originally built for is to survive a category five hurricane. The Superdome, built to house the famous NFL Saints, was never intended to become a “refuge of last resort” and was never designed, nor tested for such an event. It was announced the dome could support winds up to 200mph but this claim was later debunked when CNN reported no engineering study had ever been done to prove the accusation. Lies regarding the structural standing of a refugee building during a serious hurricane is life threatening, dangerous and should send up dozens of red flags as to why it was used as a shelter at all. Quincidently, a building study of the Superdome was taking place prior to the hurricane, but was put on hold because of the fast approaching Katrina. The time to do a study regarding the structural aspects of a building for a hurricane is before it strikes, not during. Governor Blanco even called the Superdome an “experiment” on the morning of August 29. This shows the little care and concern officials had regarding their only housing option for thousands of people during Katrina. Because of the lies surrounding the facade of this building and its questionable and mostly unknown structural status, the dome never should have been an option for citizens to risk their lives in.
What did happen to the dome is a far different story and also demonstrates how unprepared the dome was for Katrina. Flood waters could enter the building at the second floor (around 20ft) and flooding was evident in the dome not too soon after Katrina touched down. The water covering 80% of the New Orleans streets seeped into the elevator shafts and flooded the dome at field level. With three feet of water outside the dome from the storm and levee break, polluted water was finding its way into every crevice of the dome. At...

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