Walmart as Hero: 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

Today is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina‘s destructive collision with the Gulf Coast. “The surge and battering waves smashed into levees, which collapsed, causing extensive flooding throughout the New Orleans region. Ultimately, 80 percent of New Orleans and large portions of nearby parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters did not recede for weeks. The National Guard was called in to help with evacuations. Thousands sought refuge in the New Orleans Convention Center and the Superdome, which were overwhelmed. It was one of the largest displacements of a population since the Great Depression, according to the NOAA.” The federal government’s response became highly politicized due to its multiple day response and lack of preparation. What is often overlooked is the response from the private sector. A case in point is Walmart. Though often maligned as nothing more than a greedy corporation, the incentives and preparation of Walmart allowed it to respond quickly and effectively to the Katrina disaster. As we reflect on the lessons learned from that day 10 years ago, we should attempt to learn the right lessons. Economist Steven Horwitz provides some of those below.