The New Orleans Civil Defense Center was designed to function as a command center during man-made (nuclear) and natural disasters. The command center was put to use for the second purpose during 1965’s Hurricane Betsy. This film shows the command center in action, complete with the mayor descending the stairs into the shelter and the call center (room?) full of (mostly) ladies manning the phone lines helping with such personal emergencies as a baby being born during the hurricane.

To see the New Orleans-specific part of the video, start at ~10:44. Though honestly the film is great throughout providing great insight into one of the nastiest hurricanes and the early Sixties in general. There’s even footage of the Gemini V astronauts, whose mission was shortened by an orbit due to the hurricane.

Enjoy this peak into Hurricane Betsy and the New Orleans Civil Defense Shelter in its prime.


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