Ten years ago, the U.S. encountered two of the most devastating natural disasters in its history. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed the world images of parts of Louisiana underwater while its displaced people sought rescue and refuge.
The state’s flagship university, located in Baton Rouge, the state capital, became one of those refuges. Not only did LSU respond by opening the largest acute-care field hospital in U.S. history, providing triage for about 15,000 evacuees and medical care for about 6,000 patients, the university became a hub for critical information and analysis.
In the midst of this crisis, LSU research faculty applied their expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including coastal science, disaster management, oceanography, geology, economics and stress management in order to provide the world with valuable information. On campus, geoinformatics researchers managed the only database that tracked approximately 1.4 million evacuees. Oceanographers captured satellite data and studied environmental impacts from the storm. Psychology and sociology researchers conducted hundreds of interviews with coastal residents in the aftermath of the storm.
The research conducted by LSU faculty continues to be even more relevant and valuable today. Climatologists have archived the location and height of tropical storm surge around the world — about 700 events since 1880. Computer scientists, coastal scientists and engineers at LSU are developing next-generation technology to predict and mitigate future storms.
We are uniquely situated in a part of the country where today’s most pressing issues intersect coastal and environmental sustainability and the world’s energy dependence. LSU researchers build computational models, manage big data and conduct experiments in both the lab and field to provide crucial information to tackle these issues.
Reflecting back upon the 10 years following Hurricane Katrina and its impact on the state and the country, LSU continues to be a safe haven for dynamic research and critical information. For more information, we invite you to visit http://katrina.lsu.edu.
LSU vice president of research & economic development