[StBernard] Fewer Girls Named 'Katrina' Since Hurricane

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Sun May 20 12:01:26 EDT 2007

Fewer Girls Named 'Katrina' Since Hurricane

WASHINGTON (May 11) - As baby names go, Katrina isn't in vogue these days.
But she hasn't disappeared either.

>From its peak in the 1980's - when it regularly ranked among the 100 most

popular names that parents chose for their daughters - it had gradually
slumped to 247th by 2005, even before Hurricane Katrina smashed the Gulf
Coast in late summer of that year.

The name's association with the catastrophe has now knocked it out of
consideration for most parents, sinking its popularity to the lowest ebb
since the 1950's.

Only about 850 baby girls in the United States were named Katrina last year,
according to new data released Friday by the Social Security Administration,
dropping it more than 100 slots on the popularity list. At a rank of 382nd,
it now sits just below Brenna.

Ironically, the two states that suffered most of Katrina's wrath bucked the
trend, if only in small numbers. In Louisiana, the number of babies named
Katrina jumped from eight in the 12 months before the storm to 15 in the 12
months after, according to state health officials. In Mississippi, seven
babies were given the name from 2004 until the storm hit in August 2005,
according to state data. The number climbed to 24 from September 2005
through the end of 2006.

Overall, the country's most popular names list hasn't changed much since
2005. Emily and Jacob remain atop the list. Emily has been the top girls'
name since 1996; Jacob for boys since 1999.

The national trend surprised Cleveland Evans, a psychology professor and
names expert at Bellevue University in Nebraska. But he said Katrina isn't
likely to go extinct.

"This is not going to be a name like Adolf that's going to disappear and be
unusable ever again," he said, referring to that name's association with
Adolf Hitler.

Scarlett and Stephen Billis, a Los Angeles-area couple, named their daughter
Katrina last May.

Scarlett said the couple was reluctant to use the name less than a year
after the hurricane , but her husband had always liked it as a variation of
Katherine, a family name. Also, their family is Greek and the name is close
to the popular Greek name Katerina.

"People ask if we named her after the hurricane," Billis said. "We didn't
pick it because of that and we were actually hesitant ... but we do joke
that our house looks like a hurricane hit."

The Social Security Administration's rankings, released each year just
before Mother's Day, are based on some 4.2 million Social Security card
applications from 2006.

Social Security began compiling the name lists in 1997. The agency offers
lists of baby names for each year since 1880 on its Web site:

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