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Ahead Of 13th Katrina Anniversary, Museum Opens To Memorialize Levee Breaches

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Travis Lux
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WWNO
Residents and members of the media peer into the front windows of the new Flooded House Museum in Gentilly.

Just ahead of the 13th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a museum dedicated to educating people about the storm -- and the levee breaches -- has opened in Gentilly.

The Flooded House Museum is located at 4918 Warrington Dr. in Gentilly. It was severely damaged when the London Avenue Canal levee, which runs directly behind it, failed during the storm.

 

It’s been redone to look like it did the day before the levees broke and flooded the city. Visitors can peer in through the windows, like you would a dollhouse or diorama.

 

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Credit Travis Lux / WWNO
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WWNO
For the next two weeks, the interior is designed to look as it might have the day before the levee along the London Avenue Canal failed. In its permanent state, the inside will look at it might have when residents were allowed to return home -- after the flood waters receded.

The living room walls are painted with a soft yellow, and a giant teddy bear sits on the couch. On the coffee table there’s a newspaper dated August 28th, 2005. It’s headline reads: “KATRINA TAKES AIM.”

 

The museum was created by levees.org, a local nonprofit. It's goal with the new museum is to educate locals and visitors about how the levees were breached during the storm, and how those infrastructure failures changed the way the federal government builds and inspects levees.

 

Aaron Angelo is one of the artists who designed the installation.

 

“We know what happened in 2005,” he said. “But you have kids that were born afterwards in the city and we want to be able to illustrate to them, in perpetuity, what happened here. And allow them to see it.”

 

Two week from now, the inside will get another makeover. This time, to look like it did after flood waters receded.

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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