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Destination of the Week

Hello and welcome to our final Hurricane DOTW. This week, we're commemorating one of the most destructive hurricanes that have caused life loss and damage in the United States: Hurricane Katrina and its toll on New Orleans.

Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest and most destructive Atlantic tropical cyclone of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. At least 1,833 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane; total property damage was estimated at USD 108 billion, roughly four times the damage brought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Hurricane Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, and crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding there before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane over the warm Gulf water, but weakened before making its second landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on the morning of Monday, August 29, in southeast Louisiana. It caused severe destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas, much of it due to the storm surge. The most significant number of deaths occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases hours after the storm had moved inland. Eventually 80% of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks. However, the worst property damage occurred in coastal areas, such as Mississippi beachfront towns; over 90 percent of these were flooded. Boats and casino barges rammed buildings, pushing cars and houses inland; water reached 6–12 miles (10–19 km) from the beach. The hurricane left an estimated three million people without electricity.

Nearly every levee in metro New Orleans was breached as Hurricane Katrina passed just east of the city limits. Failures occurred in New Orleans and surrounding communities, especially St. Bernard Parish. The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MR-GO) breached its levees in approximately 20 places, flooding much of east New Orleans, most of Saint Bernard Parish and the East Bank of Plaquemines Parish. The major levee breaches in the city included breaches at the 17th Street Canal levee, the London Avenue Canal, and the wide, navigable Industrial Canal, which left approximately 80% of the city flooded.

Levee breaches in New Orleans also caused a significant amount of deaths, with over 700 bodies recovered in New Orleans by October 23, 2005. Some survivors and evacuees reported seeing dead bodies lying in city streets and floating in still-flooded sections, especially in the east of the city. The advanced state of decomposition of many corpses, some of which were left in the water or sun for days before being collected, hindered efforts by coroners to identify many of the dead.

Within the United States and as delineated in the National Response Plan, disaster response and planning is first and foremost a local government responsibility. When local government exhausts its resources, it then requests specific additional resources from the county level. The request process proceeds similarly from the county to the state to the federal government as additional resource needs are identified. Many of the problems that arose developed from inadequate planning and back-up communication systems at various levels.

The American Red Cross, America's Second Harvest (now known as Feeding America), Southern Baptist Convention, Salvation Army, Oxfam, Common Ground Collective, Burners Without Borders, Emergency Communities, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities, Service International, "A River of Hope", The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and many other charitable organizations provided help to the victims of the storm. They were not allowed into New Orleans proper by the National Guard for several days after the storm because of safety concerns. These organizations raised USD 4.25 billion in donations by the public, with the Red Cross receiving over half of the donations.

New Orleans city has a population of 343,829 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. The New Orleans metropolitan area had a population of 1,167,764 in 2010 and was the 46th largest in the United States. The city is named after the Duke of Orleans, who reigned as Regent for Louis XV from 1715 to 1723, as it was established by French colonists and strongly influenced by their European culture. It is well known for its distinct French and Spanish Creole architecture, as well as its cross-cultural and multilingual heritage. New Orleans is also famous for its cuisine, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz), and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras, dating to French colonial times. The city is often referred to as the "most unique" in the United States.

New Orleans' major arport is Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (KMSY), located in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. It is owned by the city of New Orleans and is 11 miles west of downtown New Orleans. The airport was formerly known as Moisant Field, and it is also known as Louis Armstrong International Airport and New Orleans International Airport. Despite its status as an international airport, the majority of commercial flights offered are to domestic destinations within the United States. The few international commercial destinations are Toronto, Canada; Cancun, Mexico; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (the latter two destinations only being offered seasonally).

At an average of 4.5 feet (1.4 m) above sea level, MSY is the 2nd lowest-lying international airport in the world, behind only Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport in the Netherlands. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, MSY served 9.7 million passengers per year, nearly all of them non-connecting. In 2013 it served 9,207,636 passengers, 7.1% more than 2012.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport was once a major gateway for Latin American travel from the United States. That travel now mostly goes through other hubs for legacy airlines such as the American Airlines hubs in Dallas/Ft. Worth and Miami, the Delta Air Lines hub in Atlanta and the United Airlines hub in Houston.

KMSY opened after World War II, replacing the older New Orleans Lakefront Airport (which kept the NEW and KNEW airport codes and now serves general aviation) as the city's main airport. KMSY was renamed in 2001 after Louis Armstrong, a famous jazz musician from New Orleans. The National Weather Service forecast office for the area was once located at MSY, but has moved to the suburb of Slidell, and now uses the non-airport codes LIX and KLIX.

The airport was closed to commercial air traffic on August 28, 2005, shortly before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, and it remained closed as floods affected the city. The Associated Press reported on August 31 that MSY would receive humanitarian flights, and that the airport "has no significant airfield damage and had no standing water in aircraft movement areas", although the airport did, as the article put it, (sustain) damage to its roofs, hangars and fencing." In early September, the airport opened only to military aircraft and humanitarian flights, and served as a staging center for evacuees. The airport reopened to commercial flights on September 13, 2005.

The New Orleans Aviation Board, along with the Mayor of New Orleans Mitchell Landrieu, have recently approved a plan to build a brand new 826 million dollar terminal building on the north side of the airport property. The new terminal will hopefully boost Southern Louisiana's economy. The terminal is set to be finished May 2018 in time for New Orleans' 300th anniversary. The new terminal will have two concourses, new shops and restaurants, 2,000 parking spaces, and a new privately funded airport hotel.

KMSY has two runways:
10/28, 10,104 ft, 3,080 m
01/19, 7,001 ft, 2,134 m

Live flight tracking is available here.

We can guide you to charts and scenery files.

Charts FS9 FSX X-Plane

We have selected three videos on YouTube. First, a Cessna 152 in a night time approach.

Our second video was filmed from a B757 cabin.

And we conclude our visit to KMSY with some plane spotting.

That's the end of our Hurricane DOTW. Our next month will consists of a tour of our five hubs at the occasion of the Platinum Airways domain's fifth anniversary. We hope that you'll join us.

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1 Destination of the Week#220 Sunday, 19 October 2014 6
2 Destination of the Week#219 Sunday, 12 October 2014 48
3 Destination of the Week#218 Sunday, 05 October 2014 67
4 Destination of the Week#217 Sunday, 28 September 2014 78
5 Destination of the Week#216 Sunday, 21 September 2014 103
6 Destination of the Week#215 Sunday, 14 September 2014 105
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8 Destination of the Week#213 Sunday, 31 August 2014 154
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10 Destination of the Week#211 Sunday, 17 August 2014 148
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