Hurricane Katrina: Five Years Later


Share on LinkedIn

Five years ago, too many Gulf Coast residents’ lives were changed forever. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina, or Katrina as she became known to us, spread for miles, shattered dreams, displaced entire cities and drained treasuries. As we are getting ready to solemnly commemorate its 5-year anniversary, the social web is definitely remembering the tragic event and discussing what it means.

 Five Years Later

Across social media, conversations about Katrina (above) started to grow in the middle of June and kept growing through the middle of July, whereas conversations about the anniversary remained low relative to other Katrina-related topics.

 Five Years Later Five Years Later

Sentiment (above left) towards rebuilding efforts remained mixed, while sentiment toward various anniversary events (above right) remained positive.

Now let’s take a look at what exactly drove these feelings for the two topics.

 Five Years Later

For conversations around rebuilding efforts (above), the vast majority of the mixed conversations happened between 6.20.10 and 7.4.10. These conversations were driven by news such as these: the unfortunate finding that funding runs out to rebuild homes that were damaged by the hurricane, and the admission that tourism in Gulf needs marketing money, for which Gulf Coast tourism officials are trying to raise $500M from BP. Negative sentiment peaked during a timeframe just a bit earlier, with the announcement that the IRS may tax payments to gulf coast victims. Positive conversations were driven by the success of the Essence music festival during early July, which is credited with some of the revitalization of the Big Easy and is evidence of tourism’s resurgence in the area.

 Five Years Later

Positive sentiment for the anniversary events (above) got a spike between 8.8.10 and 8.15.10 (above), when it was announced that Obama was making a visit for anniversary events and CNN announced a month’s worth of specials dedicated to the region hit so hard by Katrina and again by the BP oil spill.

 Five Years Later Five Years Later

Taking a closer look (above) at the most frequently occurring phrases for Katrina, you can see that there’s a growing trend in mentions of the current hurricane season, with mentions of Bonnie and a “Cat-and-mouse game with weather”, as well as significant mentions of BP in the context of the post-Katrina devastation (as it certainly added to it). At the same time, there are mentions of cleanup and rebuilding of life in the region, as Xavier University revives its volleyball program after 5 years, and UPS and United Way deliver a new family from St. Bernard Parish to a new home.

Where did the conversations take place?

 Five Years Later

Of the three topics, Katrina was mostly discussed in online news and blogs (above).

 Five Years Later Five Years Later

At the same time, the topics of rebuilding and cleanup (above left) were mostly fodder of online news and not as much user-generated content, while anniversary events (above right) were covered in blogs more than any other medium.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Maria Ogneva
I'm the Head of Community for Yammer, the enterprise social network used by 100,000 organizations, including more than 80% of the Fortune 500. At Yammer, she is in charge of social media and community programs, fostering internal and external education and engagement. You can follow her on Twitter at @themaria or on her blog, and Yammer at @yammer and company blog.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here