On August 29 2005 Katrina caused 53 different levee breaches in greater New Orleans, submerging eighty percent of the city. The storm surge also devastated the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, making Katrina the most destructive and costliest natural  disaster in the history of the United States, and the deadliest hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane.

Statement by ICBS on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the cultural heritage of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama
Paris, September 12th 2005

The International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) expresses its sorrow and solidarity with the American people and in particular with the population of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama for the loss of lives and for the terrible disruption of their livelihood caused by hurricane Katrina and the ensuing floods.

Although the highest priorities must be accorded to minimising the loss of life and to the humanitarian activities intended to re‐establish decent living conditions for the hundreds of thousands of people whose homes and means of subsistence have been wrecked by this natural disaster, the International Committee of the Blue Shield must express its profound concern for the fate of the cultural heritage in the affected states.