Arago: Disaster Mail

Disaster Mail

Cover mailed after Hurricane Katrina


Postmarked April 3, 2006, this cover marks the first day normal mail processing operations for first class mail resumed in New Orleans, Louisiana, following Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, causing widespread damage and disrupting mail service.

Four days after the storm, the US Postal Service restarted delivery service where possible, as the floodwaters receded. However, for seven months after the hurricane, all New Orleans mail canceling and sorting were done at a processing plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Not only did this result in New Orleans mail having a Baton Rouge postmark, but it also caused delays of up to a week for mail addressed across town. Regular processing and delivery of fourth class mail, mostly periodicals, resumed in May 2006.

The US Postal Service established the New Orleans Mail Restoration Program to restore the postal system in the storm battered areas, accommodate the many displaced refugees, and reunite them with their mail. Efforts included setting up general mail delivery areas and specific zip codes for refugees at the Houston Astrodome and other relocation sites, as well as providing a toll-free number for postal employees to call for help and information.


Hunter, Michelle. “N.O. postmark returns today.” The Times Picayune. (accessed June 26, 2007)

USPS bulletins September 2, 2005, September 5, 2005, September 27, 2005, April 29 ,2006, June 2, 2006.

Postmark: April 3, 2006
addressed to "NATIONAL PHILATELIC COLLECTION / SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL POSTAL MUSEUM / MR570 PO BOX 37012 / WASHINGTON DC / 20013-7012" circular cancel "UPTOWN STA NEW ORLEANS LA 70115 / APR 3 2006 / USPS" straight text and wavy line machine cancel "NEW ORLEANS LA 701 / 03 APR 2006 PM 4 L"
paper; ink (black, blue) / handwriting; adhesive
Height x Width: 4 1/8 x 9 1/2 in. (10.5 x 24.1 cm)
Museum ID:
Place of Origin:
Place of Destination:
District of Columbia

  • Cover mailed after Hurrican Katrina
  • Reverse of cover mailed after Hurricane Katrina
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