On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, killing at least 1,300, destroying over 600,000 houses, and turning downtown New Orleans into an uninhabitable swamp. In a compelling hour-by-hour reconstruction of the ferocious storm, NOVA exposes crucial failures in preparation and engineering that led to the worst disaster in U.S. history. The film probes the titanic forces behind hurricanes and the latest technology for tracking and predicting them, showing how scientists precisely foresaw the impact of a strong hurricane on New Orleans a year before Katrina struck. NOVA investigates the fatal flaws in New Orleansí levees and the huge challenge posed by protecting and rebuilding the city. As global temperatures rise, are killer storms like Katrina a growing threat?Hurricane Katrina: The Storm that Drowned a City presents astonishing storm footage, suspenseful eyewitness testimony, and a penetrating analysis of what went wrong. Viewers relive the storm through the eyes of survivors and the stories of top engineers, hurricane experts, and emergency officials as they grappled with the arrival of the storm and its traumatic aftermath.Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired. On one DVD5 disc. Region coding: All regions. Audio: Dolby stereo. Screen format: Letterboxed.
The narration is melodramatic, some of the interviews feel stagy--but the footage of Hurrican Katrina and its horrendous aftermath is staggering. Hurrican Katrina - The Storm That Drowned a City, a NOVA special, begins a year earlier, when a team of scientists created a computer simulation of the destructive effect a powerful storm could have on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Though local officials took it seriously, the federal response was skeptical, and little was done to strengthen the city's protection. Using a combination of remarkable video of the developing storm and interviews with scientists, city residents (black and white), and member of the Army Corps of Engineers, Hurrican Katrina builds a compelling story of the disaster as it unfolded. Sophisticated graphics explain how hurricanes form and how the levees failed. The special touches lightly on the possibility that global warming may be exacerbating the intensity of hurricanes, but shies away from the political storm of the meager federal response to the devastation of New Orleans. The result is a vivid, detailed description of the natural disaster, but an incomplete portrait of the social one. --Bret Fetzer