Winds of Change: A Monument to Hurricane Katrina

By Jessie Nunes, February 27, 2017

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Architecture

Subject Area

  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

2 Days


The Great City of New Orleans was founded by a man named Bienville, brother to the first Governor of Louisiana, as well as a Governor himself. Exploring the delta, he stopped at this spot, looked around, and said \"Here. Here, we\'ll build a shining jewel of the New World.\" The first architect he hired took one look and said \"No way. This place is swamp, terrible for building to last. Let us build further up river.\" Bienville\'s answer was to fire the architect and hire another. And then another one. And another one. Finally he found an architect that agreed to his vision. And the beginnings of our city were laid down among the bayous. We\'ve survived fires, floods, corrupt politicians, and of course, the occasional hurricane. And no matter what this city has faced, we\'ve persevered and seen Bienville\'s dream come true. Seven years after Hurricane Katrina left utter devastation in this great city, we find ourselves still rebuilding, coming together, and keeping his dream alive. Right now, about 30% of the city is still not up to where it was prior to the hurricane. As we look at this, one of our nation\'s most tragic of disasters, students who were not even out of grade school yet will see why every year, we remember. We understand why our city has turned Hurricane Katrina  into a symbol representing our tenacity. Much like the Saints, who we  love no matter how badly they do, even the challenges can be celebrated and incorporated into our path. When the content has been covered and the lesson shared, students will work to help create a memorial that might truly be able to immortalize this time in our past. History is a cycle. It repeats itself, perhaps not in the same exact place, or the same exact way. But they are taught that by remembering the past, by honoring those who have come before us, they prepare for the future.

National Standards

  • Historical Understanding: 1. Understands and knows how to analyze chronological relationships and patterns
  • Historical Understanding: 2. Understands the historical perspective
  • Contemporary United States (1968 to the present): 30. Understands developments in foreign policy and domestic politics
  • Contemporary United States (1968 to the present): 31. Understands economic, social, and cultural developments in the contemporary United States.


  • Students will be able to make connections between different events in History.
  • Students will be able to analyze the timeline of Hurricane Katrina.
  • Students will be able to evaluate the decisions made by local, state, and federal government before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina.
  • Students will be able to analyze the effects of Hurricane Katrina domestically and internationally.


  • Smartboard
  • Airliner
  • Computer
  • Projector
  • Internet


  • Article on Hurricane Katrina
  • Tracking Map for Hurricanes
  • Art supplies to create a 3D model of their monument.


  • natural disaster
  • latitude
  • longitude
  • hurricane
  • delta
  • levy
  • FEMA


Anticipatory Set:
  •      5 True/False questions about Hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orleans.
  • Students will answer individually and then the teacher will go over the correct answers. The class will discuss. Teacher should be prepared for a question arising more and more each passing year.  "Why is this important? "Why do we need to know about Hurricane Katrina?". Without fail, students ask that question each year as they themselves do not remember much about the event eight years ago.
  • Video on Hurricane Katrina (Less than 5 minutes long)
  • Article on Hurricane Katrina's impact.
Guided Practice:
  • Tracking Hurricane Katrina using the tracking maps and the coordinates either found on the computers or given to the students if computers are unavailable.
Independent Practice:
  • Students will work either independently or in groups of no more than three to discuss the effects Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans, the United States, and even internationally. Students will then create a design for a monument that symbolizes what they have discussed. They should be able to give a detailed explanation of how their design corresponds to the event.
  • Students will present their monuments to the class and offer their explanations. The teacher will then have a class discussion on why all the monuments are different, how they differ, and yet how they fit the theme. To discuss how there is no one right way.
After the lesson, students will be give another five questions to see how well they absorbed the content covered.


  • 5 true/false questions regarding the content.
  Summative Assessment:
  • The monument and descriptions
Formative Assessment:
  • 5 questions at the end of the lesson.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Students who are able to can do research on the computers to find out actual costs of building, using different materials. They can also use maps of the city to try and determine where a good place for their monument to actually be built. They can also write letters to the City Council asking about any plans for an actual monument to be built, as the city does not yet boast one.

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