Thousands of homes were obliterated by the effects of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. One of those homes stood at 2005 Lizardi Street in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. This mailbox is all that remained, except for the front steps and a field of debris.
The hand-painted green flowers and butterflies on this mailbox, and the carefully lettered name and address of the Alexander family, evoke the domestic serenity that was shattered by Katrina's waters. Inside the mailbox a thick layer of dried mud recalled the wall of water that washed over this neighborhood August 29, 2005, when everything in its path was either submerged or destroyed.
The Lower Ninth Ward was a victim of the over-burdened Industrial Canal, whose concrete flood walls collapsed beneath the weight and force of the water. Further afield, a manmade navigation canal, the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet ("Mr. Go"), offered a short cut not only to ships leaving the Gulf headed for New Orleans but for storm water moving inland from the Gulf. It was this water that in large part flooded the Industrial Canal and devastated the Lower Ninth Ward.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Associated Date
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
overall: 12 in x 21 in x 7 in; 30.48 cm x 53.34 cm x 17.78 cm
United States: Louisiana
United States: Louisiana, New Orleans
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Cultures & Communities
Domestic Furnishings
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Family & Social Life
Government, Politics, and Reform
National Treasures exhibit
Artifact Walls exhibit
Hurricane Katrina
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
National Treasures exhibit
Artifact Walls exhibit
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
Publication title
Treasures of American History online exhibition
Publication author
National Museum of American History
Publication URL

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