The storm that shamed America
Many uncomfortable questions were raised after Hurricane Katrina hit. None could be easily answered, writes Rupert Cornwell
Even now, five years on, Ray Nagin's words send a shiver down the spine. For the first time, a mayor was ordering the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, as the winds that heralded the cataclysm began to howl through the streets.
Hurricanes were embedded in city lore, but always, it seemed, the city dodged the bullet. Now, however, that charmed life was about to end, Nagin warned on the morning of August 28, 2005, at the hands of "a storm that most of us have long feared".
That night, Hurricane Katrina smashed into the central Gulf Coast.