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Monday morning, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast with the energy equivalent of a 300 megaton nuclear bomb. The total energy released by Katrina was more than 200 times the electrical generating capacity of the entire world.
Hurricane Katrina killed over a thousand people, displaced more than a million, and caused $150 billion in damage, making it the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history as well as the worst humanitarian crisis in the U.S. since the Great Depression.
Especially hard hit was the Mississippi coast from Waveland to Biloxi, where the 30 foot storm surge was the highest ever recorded in America. Gambling is legal along the Mississippi “Redneck Riviera” , but only on water. All the casinos sit on huge barges, and most broke free under the 30 foot storm surge, destroying everything in their path.
In this 360 degree aerial panorama shot from a helicopter 700 feet above east Biloxi, you can spot at least four casino barges washed up on shore, with several others in the distance along the beach and the back bay.
Before moving to Minneapolis I lived and worked for years in Gulfport, Biloxi, and New Orleans and my last job down there was at the Tivoli Hotel/Motel, seen a few blocks to the west in this aerial panorama. A barge from Casino Magic slammed into the motel, pounding the two story building into a pile of rubble and killing eight people before continuing on to strike the historic Tivoli Hotel, wiping out four floors of rooms in the front corner of the building.
This is one of a series of 30 aerial panoramas from Biloxi to New Orleans that I shot for the Washington Post. See The Washington Post’s Multimedia Katrina Special for my other Katrina aerials, along with ground level panoramas from other VR photographers.
Visit VRMag for a short background story on the Katrina panoramas.
The song "Killer Katrina" by songwriter Steve Townsend. Steve lives out in the woods and he "don't need no stinkin' computers" :) so you'll have to call him at 228-213-0355 or snail mail him at P.O. Box 302, Long Beach, MS 39560.
To donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort contact: