Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast states 10 years ago this week, prompting an historic effort from the Postal Service to keep the mail moving.
About 17 postal facilities were destroyed and more than 500 buildings were damaged during the 2005 hurricane season, which was the worst on record.
More than 4,000 postal employees were displaced by Katrina, although many returned to work to help deliver checks, medicine and other vital mail.
In some communities, employees handed out mail from trailers, recreational vehicles and even tents when street delivery wasn’t possible.
Within two weeks of Katrina, full service was restored to 82 percent of affected Post Offices.
The crisis prompted lasting changes in the way USPS handles emergencies, including stronger planning procedures.
The disaster also reinforced the need for technological “redundancies,” so that if one system goes down, others are in place to serve as backups.
Additionally, the response to Katrina strengthened the Postal Service’s reputation for being a reliable and resilient organization.
“We’ve always played an important role in helping communities return to normal after a disaster,” said Pat Mendonca, senior director for the PMG. “That was especially true in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”