A timeline of APA's ongoing response to the hurricane disasters.

Hurricane Katrina

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Hurricanes Rita and Wilma followed. The nation watched as thousands of people fled their homes, huge sections of New Orleans disappeared under floodwaters, and deep-rooted social inequities were exposed.

In the following months and years the American Planning Association and its members worked to help the displaced and to share the news that good planning could aid in the recovery and rebuilding. This timeline outlines the various responses of APA following the tragedy. 

 Donate to the Planning Foundation's Disaster Relief Fund

| 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 |


August 2005

Hurricane Katrina
One of the strongest hurricanes ever to make landfall in the United States, Hurricane Katrina slammed into southeast Lousiana August 29, 2005. The storm and subsequent flooding caused severe damage along the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,500 people.

September 2005

APA's Immediate Response
APA President David Siegel, APA Executive Director Paul Farmer, and the APA Board of Directors issued statements expressing their grief for the Gulf Coast community and determination to help rebuild.

Response from the APA Board of Directors (pdf)

Response from David Siegel, AICP, APA President

Response from Paul Farmer, AICP, APA Executive Director

PAS Report
An excerpt from a PAS Report on Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction.

Read "Chapter 5: A Planner's Tool Kit" from PAS Report 483/484 (pdf)

October 2005

APA Louisiana Chapter Annual Conference
With the assistance of the American Planning Association, the Louisiana Chapter provided a revised program and theme for its annual conference, held in Shreveport, Louisiana. The theme, "Planning for Prosperity: Opportunities in Post-Katrina Louisiana," explored economic development initiatives important to rebuilding a prosperous, sustainable future for the state.

Testimony of Paul Farmer, AICP
APA Executive Director Paul Farmer testified at a joint congressional hearing about plans for rebuilding New Orleans.

Paul Farmer's Capitol Hill testimony (pdf)

Bill H.R. 4100 Introduced
During the 109th Congress Congressman Richard Baker introduced bill H.R. 4100 with the support of APA to establish the Louisiana Recovery Corporation for purposes of economic stabilization and redevelopment of devastated areas in Louisiana.

H.R. 4100 (pdf)

APA Team Visits New Orleans
A special six-member team of planners assembled by APA visited New Orleans to assess the city's needs for developing and implementing plans to guide redevelopment. The New Orleans City Planning Commission and the Louisiana APA Chapter requested this assistance. During the visit, the volunteer team met with several governmental and community groups to map the next steps in the rebuilding and planning process. The team put its findings and recommendations into a report, "Charting the Course for Rebuilding a Great American City."

Download a copy of the team's report (pdf)

November 2005

APA/AIA Louisiana Recovery and Rebuilding Conference
The Louisiana Recovery and Rebuilding Conference, brought local and national design and planning professionals together with Louisiana public officials, civic groups and business organizations in New Orleans for a major planning and visioning discussion. The three-day program was the beginning of the process to develop a body of principles that would help guide Louisiana's long-range recovery efforts. The conference was presented by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), in collaboration with the American Planning Association (APA) and co-sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

December 2005

Town Hall Meetings
APA and the Urban Land Institute took the lead in organizing town hall meetings for the Bring Back New Orleans Commission, so that dispersed New Orleans citizens in communities across the region could have a voice and participate in the plans for rebuilding their city. The town meetings, supported by the Fannie Mae Foundation, were held in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, and Memphis.

February 2006

HUD Conference: Realizing the Promise
Faith-based and community-based organizations as well as individuals from Gulf Coast states wanting to assist with rebuilding attended a free one-day conference on how to compete for federal funding through the HUD SuperNOFA Process (Notice of Funding Availability).

March 2006

Mandeville Redevelopment
A five-member APA planning team visited Mandeville, Louisiana, at the request of the city's planning department to offer assistance with post-hurricane recovery. The volunteer Planning Assistance Team was made up of expert planners who helped Mandeville establish the foundation for guiding future development within the city.

Read the team's report (pdf)

July 2006

Planners Recovery Resource Day
Planners gathered in New Orleans for "Planners Recovery Resource Day," a Louisiana chapter event sponsored by APA and a grant from the Chapter Presidents Council. The three-part program featured a close look at recent neighborhood planning efforts in post-Katrina New Orleans, a panel discussion on state and regional planning issues, and an examination of other cities' disaster recovery experiences.

August 2006

Biloxi Recovery Expo
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's Recovery Expo in Biloxi brought together citizens; planners; local, state, and federal officials; representatives of nonprofits; and developers to exchange information and learn about resources for rebuilding. In addition to displays of model housing and construction techniques, the Expo included town hall meetings and presentations on hurricane preparedness and local recovery plans.

Summer 2006

Expert Teams Help with Neighborhood Planning
Neighborhood-based recovery planning took place all over New Orleans during the summer following Hurricane Katrina as part of The Great New Orleans Community Support Foundation project. Assisted by 15 teams of specialists the teams depended on extensive citizen involvement to develop a citywide infrastructure plan. The effort was overseen by a multidisciplinary group of experts brought together by Stephen Villavaso, FAICP, president of the APA Louisiana chapter.

September 2006

Assistance for Henderson Point, Mississippi
A five-member APA Planning Assistance Team worked in Henderson Point, Mississippi, to assist with post-hurricane recovery planning. The volunteer team worked on identifying building concepts for the new Henderson Point Town Center, as well facilitating a town hall meeting.

January 2007

APA Board and AICP Commission Tour New Orleans
The APA Board of Directors and AICP commissioners traveled to New Orleans, where they were briefed by local planners on the new Unified Plan. They toured hard-hit neighborhoods in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.

Read the story about the New Unified Plan

Summer 2007

APA Sends Interns to New Orleans
APA's Planning Foundation provided support for four interns to work in New Orleans's Office of Recovery Management. These scholarships were made possible by generous donations to the Planning Foundation.

Read Sean Almonte's essay about his experience helping to rebuild New Orleans

Read Angela Trinh's essay about her work in the City of New Orleans Office of Recovery Management.


October 2008

APA Team Reviews New Slidell Master Plan
Volunteers from the American Planning Association toured Slidell to help assess the city's planning needs and offer guidance as the city continues its recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Check back for the team's full report.

Slidell PAT news release

Times-Picayune: Planners examine recovery in Slidell

APA Sponsors Dutch Dialogues II
Representatives from the American Planning Association gathered with a team of Dutch planners, urban designers, and landscape architects; representatives from the Dutch embassy and their ministries of planning, transportation, public works and water management; and local architects and planners for a workshop on how New Orleans might incorporate best practices and lessons learned by the Dutch on how to live with — and derive value from — water.

The three-day workshop was followed by two public presentations.

Times-Picayune: Let's take cues from the Dutch


February 2009

APA at the World Forum on Delta and Coastal Development
APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP, presented on the Dutch Dialogues work at AquaTerra, the second world forum on delta and coastal development. The international event was held to share best practices and discuss the challenges associated with the sustainable development of the world's deltas.

Following the conference, the U.S. delegation received a presentation on historic and current water management in the Amsterdam area from representatives of Waternet, the organization responsible for drinking water, waste water, surface water and safety behind the dykes in Amsterdam. The following day the group heard presentations from Rotterdam city planners and toured the Maeslant storm surge barrier (part of the Deltaworks engineering projects) and RDM Campus.

Read more about Aqua Terra


February 2010

Delta Urbanism: New OrleansDelta Urbanism Book Series
APA's Planners Press unveiled two new books in the Delta Urbanism series of publications. 

Delta Urbanism: The Netherlands edited by Han Meyer, provides a detailed history and overview of how one low-lying country has developed the policies, tools, technology, planning, public outreach, and international cooperation needed to save their populated deltas.

by Richard Campanella traces the development of New Orleans from precolonial times to post-Katrina realities, in the context of the deltaic plain on which it lies.

Delta Urbanism: The Netherlands

Delta Urbanism: New Orleans

April 2010

Community Planning Workshop: Donaldsonville, Louisiana
On Saturday, April 10, 2010, a group of planners took a bus ride to Donaldsonville, Louisiana, to meet with and lend their expertise to an excited group of the city's residents and leaders to help develop a vision for the small, but rapidly growing city's future. More than 60 residents and leaders greeted the eager group of planners upon arrival.

The Community Planning Workshop consisted of three breakout sessions on three of the community's identified needs, which include: infrastructure, housing, and community perception/image. Each group produced a wealth of insights and local knowledge that allowed the team of planners to engage directly with residents and constructively enter into an ongoing discussion of the city's future direction.

Read more about the workshop

APA Co-Sponsors Dutch Dialogue 3
The "Dutch Dialogues" workshops are the outgrowth of extended interactions between Dutch engineers, urban designers, landscape architects, city planners and soils/hydrology experts and, primarily, their Louisiana counterparts. David Waggonner, a local New Orleans architect, initiated this dialogue with the support of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C., and APA.

Dutch Dialogue 3 took place April 7-11, 2010. Dutch and American professionals collaborated to develop new paradigms for 4 specific areas in New Orleans: the Lafitte Corrdior, the outfall canals, City Park, and "the District," which is the neighborhood adjacent to the canals. The findings were presented at a public meeting attended by more than 250 professionals and community members at the Hilton Hotel on April 11.

A full Dutch Dialogues 3 recap

Dutch Dialogues at the National Planning Conference

Delta Urbanism Symposium
APA's 2010 National Planning Conference in New Orleans included a major component on Delta Urbanism, April 10-13, focusing on the growth, development, and management of cities in river deltas, with a spotlight on solutions for balancing various (and often competing) goals: urbanization, port development, industrial development, flood defense, public safety, ecological balance and ecosystem restoration, tourism, and recreation.

More than 4,500 attended lectures, workshops, and keynote speeches that focused on the perils and rewards of living in Delta and Coastal regions. The program offered 18 breakout sessions, one plenary session, and six mobile workshops. The Delta Urbanism sessions were preceded by an international workshop, Dutch Dialogue 3 (see above). Plans are under way for additional symposiums in Boston in 2011 and Los Angeles in 2012.

August 2010

August 29, 2010 marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall on the Gulf Coast.

For resources, interviews and materials that reflect on the disaster