Under a bright blue sky, the 9:30 a.m. warmth was beginning to shine on Royal Street in New Orleans on Saturday, where yellow, blue and black bicycles lined the sidewalk. Eight tourists were adjusting their bike seats preparing for the Confederacy of Cruisers’ Ninth Ward Rebirth Bike Tour, lasting four hours, led by New Orleans native and Hurricane Katrina survivor, Derek Wood.
Hurricane Katrina and Lower Ninth Ward themed tours have sprouted since the storm ravaged the city nine years ago on Aug. 29, 2005. The largest hurricane and third strongest ever recorded to make landfall in the United States, Katrina peaked at a Category 5, with winds up to 175 miles per hour. An estimated 80 percent of the city was under water, 90,000 square miles were impacted, and it caused $81 billion in property damages.
“You can’t disassociate [Hurricane Katrina], it’s part of [New Orleans] and it probably will be for generations to come,” Wood said. “Mardi Gras, jazz, French Quarter and Hurricane Katrina.”
View Stacey Kilpatrick’s multimedia project on Katrina tours here