ESPN to Feature Week of Cross-Platform Content to Mark 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

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ESPN to Feature Week of Cross-Platform Content to Mark 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

  • Begins Sunday, Aug. 23, with special SC Featured on 10 a.m. ET SportsCenter
  • content launches Monday, Aug. 24
  • ESPN The Magazine devotes issue to New Orleans and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Most citizens of New Orleans can likely describe three moments from the past 10 years in cinematic detail: their escape from the storm during Hurricane Katrina; where they were when Steve Gleason blocked the punt in the Saints’ first game back in the Superdome; and where they were when the Saints won the Super Bowl. These are the tent-poles of biography since Katrina, and in telling them, people reveal windows into their most unguarded selves. Everyone suffered through the storm, everyone cried when Gleason blocked the punt, and everyone still struggles to express the emotions they felt when the Saints won in Miami. It is through the lens of sports that ESPN will present a week of dedicated content marking the anniversary.

Special features and content include:

ESPN The Magazine

For the first time in its history, the magazine will dedicate the whole of its feature well to a single story. In a moving and ambitious piece, ESPN’s award-winning senior writer Wright Thompson captures the spirit of New Orleans in the lead up to the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina—from a local coach still trying to re-build his youth football program to a sprawling new development butting up against history to a family fight over billions pitting the owner of the town’s beloved Saints against his children and grandchildren. Thompson describes how the effects of Katrina are so ubiquitous they go unseen and to a certain extent unstated. The story will appear in the magazine, on newsstands Friday, Sept. 4, and Thompson will be featured on multiple ESPN programs, including SportsCenter. Complementary pieces will also be available on digital platforms, including a rich collection of original photography, photo galleries and video on


  • NFL: com Saints reporter Mike Triplett toured the Superdome with Doug Thornton, who managed the facility during and after Katrina. Thornton discusses how far the building has come and how hard it is to believe, recalling memories of holding the place together during the five days after Katrina and spearheading its recovery.
  • FiveThirtyEight: Examines a variety of Katrina-related topics through a data-driven lens. Contributors include chief economics writer Ben Casselman, lead news writer Carl Bialik, data reporter Hayley Munguia and Gary Rivlin, a former New York Times reporter and author of the upcoming book “Katrina: After the Storm.”
  • Grantland: Holly Anderson will present a deep look into Tulane’s football program, which was decimated by Katrina. The timeline piece stretches from 2003, when Tulane was in danger of dropping down a division in football, through the struggles in 2005-06 following Hurricane Katrina and ultimately all the way to this fall, when the entire class of 2005 Tulane athletes will be enshrined in the school’s Hall of Fame. For the story, Anderson spoke with former players, current staff and AD Rick Dickson who has overseen the department through it all.
  • The Undefeated: Jesse Washington provides a reported essay that conveys The African-American Moral of Hurricane Katrina. The disaster remains a seminal moment in America’s racial history, one of the biggest black catastrophes ever. The essay, which also features video by senior writer Jerry Bembry, connects Katrina to what’s going on right now with race in America — Baltimore, Ferguson, South Carolina, residential segregation, and “the undeserving poor” — illuminating the powerful, emotional place that Katrina holds in black America.
  • First-Person: ESPN senior researcher Maya Jones describes her personal experience living in New Orleans, fleeing from Katrina, her eventual return and remembering the experience from 10 years on.
  • espnW: Contributing writer Walter Villa tells the story of Dominique Oden, now a senior at Marist high school in Georgia, who was just a kid when Hurricane Katrina devastated her hometown of New Orleans and forced her family to relocate. Since settling in the Atlanta area, Oden has starred on the basketball court, excelled in the classroom and plans to take her game and her brain to Purdue next year.

ESPN TV/Radio Programming

  • SportsCenter: New Orleans native Stan Verrett, whose childhood neighborhood was devastated by the effects of Katrina, will host afternoon segments of SportsCenter from his hometown on Friday, Aug. 28. Verrett will also contribute pieces as part of ESPN’s week-long coverage, including one on his return with his mother, Dr. Joyce Verrett, to his parents’ home and neighborhood which have yet to fully recover from the hurricane’s destruction. In addition, Wright Thompson will join Verrett on this special edition of
  • The SC Featured segment on the Aug. 23 editions of SportsCenter (debuting at 10 a.m. ET) will focus on the 10th anniversary of Katrina’s devastation as athletes, celebrities and local residents pen and pronounce their dedication to the Crescent City in “Dear New Orleans.” Archie Manning and Steve Gleason, former players for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, and Chris Rose, whose post-Katrina writing gained worldwide acclaim, are among the contributors. Trailer:
  • Outside the Lines will feature Hurricane Katrina-related content on Friday, Aug. 28, including an interview with Wright Thompson.
  • ESPN Films’ SEC Storied: “Wuerffel’s Way” will premiere on the SEC Network on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 9 p.m. ET. The documentary focuses on the journey of former University of Florida and New Orleans Saints quarterback Danny Wuerffel – from winning the Heisman Trophy and a National Championship to spearheading the Desire Street Academy in New Orleans, and then leading recovery efforts for that community outreach program after the devastation of Katrina 10 years ago. A special premiere of the film will air on ESPN on the eve of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 28, 7:30 p.m. ET). Advance review copies available upon request.
  • ESPN Radio: Wright Thompson is a featured guest on the “His & Hers” podcast Monday, Aug. 24 with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill.

In addition, several writers and reporters will continue to contribute to ESPN’s week-long Katrina-related content across various platforms including NFL, NBA, MLB, and College Sports.


Media Contact: Carrie Kreiswirth at (646) 547-4686 or [email protected]

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