This week nine years ago was the last week of New Orleans before Katrina. In many ways the city’s contemporary history would begin anew. Here is a miscellaneous list of what New Orleans was like in the last week of August 2005 before our lives would dramatically change.

• Ray Nagin was Mayor. He was still popular and seen as a reformer.
• Kathleen Blanco was Governor. She was respected.
• Donald Trump announced that the Trump Tower would be built in the city. (That failure would have more to do with the national economy than Katrina.)
• Approval of Federal City, a military complex on the West Bank, was announced.
• Huey Long’s birthday was celebrated at the Fairmont, which was the former Roosevelt. 
 (Now the Roosevelt is the former Fairmont.)
• Orleans parish’s public school system was a failure and overwhelmed with pockets of corruption.
• A large part of the population lived in run down public housing projects.
• Stacey Head was an unknown young uptown attorney and mother.
• Jim Haslett was the coach and Aaron Brooks was the Quarterback as the Saints limped through pre-season.

• Drew Brees was the Pro Bowl quarterback for the San Diego Chargers though he would become expendable at the end of the season because of a shoulder injury.

• Chris Paul was the first draft choice of the New Orleans Hornets.
• Local levee boards helped maintain lake levees.
• Hibernia bank had branches throughout the state.
• We could watch sunsets at West End and Bucktown while dining at Brunings and Sidmars.

• The Times-Picayune was the state’s most important, and one of the South’s most respected, daily newspapers.

• Few New Orleanians were familiar with Baton Rouge’s daily Advocate newspaper, though as they moved to higher ground they would be.
• In popular language, pre-K stood for “Before Kindergarten” rather than “Before Katrina.”

• We began the week thinking about the upcoming Labor Day holiday. That Friday night the Saints had a pre-season game in the dome. It would be the last time that the team would play in New Orleans that season. For most people, Labor Day would be forgotten.

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 BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s new book, “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2013), has been released. It is now available at local bookstores and at book web sites.