Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast, claiming 1,800 lives in four states and causing more than $151bn (£96.4m) worth of damage. The storm made a direct hit on New Orleans on 29 August 2005. The city's dated system of levees and flood walls failed in more than 50 places, flooding 85 percent of the bowl-like city, most of which is below sea level.

The storm produced images never before seen in an American city: desperate masses wading through flooded neighbourhoods, bodies decomposing on city streets, and residents on rooftops pleading for help.

A million people had fled the area before Katrina arrived, but tens of thousands had lacked the means or ability to get out. Many sought refuge at the city's Superdome, converted to an enormous relief shelter. Hundreds of others were plucked from the rooftops of their inundated houses by military helicopters and taken to the city's convention centre. The delayed relief and rescue effort became a permanent stain on President George W Bush's legacy.

Hurricane Katrina anniversary
August 29, 2005: The Treme area of New Orleans lies under several feet of water after Hurricane Katrina hitReuters
Hurricane Katrina
August 29, 2005: People walk down a flooded street after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, LouisianaGetty
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
August 29, 2005: A dog waits to be rescued on the side roof of a house in New OrleansGetty
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
August 29, 2005: The destroyed Hyatt Regency hotel is seen next to statue honouring Spanish-American War veteransGetty
Hurricane Katrina
August 30, 2005: An aerial view shows floodwaters covering streets in New Orleans. It was estimated that 80% of the city was underwater as levees began to break and leak around Lake PontchartrainAFP
Hurricane Katrina
August 30, 2005 : An aerial view of a flooded neighbourhood east of downtown New OrleansGetty
Hurricane Katrina
August 30, 2005: People stand stranded on a roof surrounded by high floodwaters in New OrleansAFP
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
August 30, 2005: Residents wait to be rescued on the roof of their house, surrounded by dangerously high waterAFP
Hurricane Katrina
August 30, 2005: A man paddles on a floating door along a flooded street in New OrleansReuters
Hurricane Katrina
August 30, 2005: The damaged roof of the Louisiana Superdome in New OrleansGetty
Hurricane Katrina
August 30, 2005: A woman is airlifted to safety by a coastguard helicopter in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New OrleansAFP
Hurricane Katrina
August 31, 2005: An aerial photograph shows a levee giving way to high water in New Orleans. Floodwaters engulfed much of New Orleans after the historic city's defences were breached by Hurricane KatrinaReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
August 31, 2005: Houses that were damaged by the hurricane and swept away by water are seen in a flooded neighbourhood of New OrleansReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
August 31, 2005: A man paddles a canoe in high water after Hurricane Katrina devastated the areaGetty Images
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
August 31, 2005 : People cross Flood Street in a boatGetty Images
Hurricane Katrina
August 31, 2005: Two men paddle in high water near the bridge crossing the Industrial Canal to the Lower Ninth Ward in New OrleansGetty
Hurricane Katrina
August 31, 2005: A submerged police car is seen in the east of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the areaReuters
Hurricane Katrina
August 31, 2005: Earl Dunbar of the Louisiana State Capitol Police carries a five-day-old baby, an evacuee brought to the Superdome for treatment. The mother said she had been trapped in her home after Hurricane Katrina hitReuters
Hurricane Katrina
August 31, 2005: Prison inmates are held at the end of a sunken highway in New Orleans, LouisianaReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 1, 2005: A woman gives her dog food and water, seemingly unaware of a dead body floating in the water belowReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 1, 2005: Residents signal to rescuers from the roof of a house surrounded by waterReuters
Hurricane Katrina
September 1, 2005: Dorothy Divic, 89, is surrounded by onlookers trying to keep her alive on a street outside the New Orleans Convention Cenre. Several people among the thousands of stranded evacuees from Hurricane Katrina died while waiting outside the building, with no sign of help on the wayReuters
Hurricane Katrina
September 2, 2005: An aerial view of homes surrounded by floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina as fires burn near downtown New OrleansReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 2, 2005: Hurricane Katrina survivors are evacuated from the Superdome in New OrleansReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 2, 2005: A National Guard soldier helps move an elderly woman at the New Orleans convention centreAFP
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 2, 2005: Heavily armed police patrol past Hurricane Katrina survivors outside the New Orleans Convention CentreReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 2, 2005: Stretcher beds are laid out at the Reliant Centre in Houston to provide shelter for people bused from New OrleansFema/Getty Images
Hurricane Katrina
September 2, 2005: A shaft of sunlight comes in through a hole in the damaged roof of the New Orleans Superdome after it was emptied of thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivorsReuters
Hurricane Katrina
September 2, 2005: Thousands of refugees fill the floor of the Astrodome in Houston, TexasReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 4, 2005: Hurricane Katrina survivors are stacked five high as they are evacuated from New Orleans to Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida, aboard a US Air Force Reserve Command C-130 Hercules aircraftUS Air Force/Reuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 4, 2005: A man looks at evacuees from New Orleans sheltering at the Astrodome stadium in Houston, TexasReuters
Hurricane Katrina
September 4, 2005: A man clings to the top of a vehicle before being rescued by the US Coast Guard from the flooded streets of New OrleansReuters
Hurricane Katrina
September 6, 2005: A man stands in floodwaters as fire burns down a home in the seventh ward of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane KatrinaReuters
Hurricane Katrina
September 10, 2005: A helicopter drops sandbags to help repair the London Street canal levee in New OrleansReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 11, 2005: A house is marked with the words 'Dead Body Inside' and 'Help'Reuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 13, 2005: Hurricane Katrina holdout Joshua Creek looks at the highwater level at his house in front of the Memorial Medical Centre, where at least 44 dead bodies were discoveredReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 18, 2005: An aerial view of destruction in the Ninth Ward of New OrleansReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 18, 2005: A sign critical of US President George W Bush and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is seen in front of a house in the Algiers neighbourhood of New Orleans, three weeks after hurricane Katrina hit the cityGetty Images
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 20, 2005: An aerial view of coastal homes wrecked by Hurricane Katrina between Gulfport and New OrleansReuters
Hurricane Katrina anniversary
September 26,2005: An aerial view of areas of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, still flooded after being battered by Hurricanes Katrina and RitaAFP

While the city was still trying to cope with the effects of Katrina, Hurricane Rita hit the region, further complicating rescue efforts. That year was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history. Ten years after Katrina, many properties still bear physical scars from the hurricane, particularly in poorer African-American neighbourhoods. Only 34% of the former residents of the mostly black Lower Ninth Ward have returned since Hurricane Katrina.