For two years in a row--1947 and 1948--September hurricanes came ashore over New Orleans, threatened havoc, but let the city off with little more than a bad scare. The 1947 storm blew into New Orleans before dawn on September 19, bringing winds of 98 m.p.h., gusts to 112 m.p.h., and a tidal surge that affected the entire Gulf coast and breached the lakefront seawall. The lakefront area and portions of Gentilly flooded, and heavy flooding also occurred in Jefferson Parish, near the Orleans Parish line. The Gulf Coast was hard hit, but, for the most part, New Orleans itself was lucky. Damage was fairly minor, injuries were slight, and the cleanup was quickly accomplished.
The next year, a hurricane again took aim at the city. Originally expected to make land fall near Morgan City, the storm unexpectedly changed course, brushed by Grand Isle, and hit New Orleans around 6:30 a.m. on September 4, with sustained winds of 78 m.p.h. and gusts as high as 90 m.p.h. at Moisant. High tides and heavy rainfall caused flooding in low areas, and more than 2000 citizens were forced to leave their homes briefly. Once again, though, the city came through with relatively minor damage.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photographed the aftermath of both of these unnamed storms, and a selection of these photographs comprises this month's gallery. The photographs are not all clearly identified, so we aren't always surewhether the date is 1947 or 1948. We are sure, though, that we don't need any hurricanes around here this year--or any year. Half-prepared, half-hoping, the city braces itself each September, crosses its fingers and toes, and draws a deep, collective breath. . . .
Back to Images Archive