Hurricane Clean-up Sign

No sooner had Katrina departed New Orleans in August 2005 than waves of hurricane clean-up signs went up in neighborhoods hard-hit by the storm, offering house-gutting services, mold removal, drywall replacement, and even building removal. The work was hazardous, involving the mucking out of homes and the handling of mountains of demolition debris and sodden household belongings. Many homeowners undertook their own clean-up, but much was performed by immigrant laborers attracted to the region by the promise of hard work and good wages.
The scrubbing away of the tell-tale oily high-water mark was one of the most visible challenges of the clean-up effort. Some property owners regarded this mark as a badge of survival and protect it as evidence of what they endured in 2005. Most, however, opted for the cleansing away of this stain, a bitter reminder of the terrible tide that rose in New Orleans when the levees fell.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Associated Date
Physical Description
plastic, "coroplast" (overall material)
overall: 30.5 cm x 61 cm x .5 cm; 12 in x 24 in x 3/16 in
Place Made
United States: Louisiana, New Orleans
United States: Louisiana, New Orleans
United States: Louisiana
ID Number
catalog number
nonaccession number
related event
Hurricane Katrina
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Industry & Manufacturing
National Treasures exhibit
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Related Publication
Kendrick, Kathleen M. and Peter C. Liebhold. Smithsonian Treasures of American History
Treasures of American History online exhibition
Publication author
National Museum of American History
Publication URL

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