I found this over on Yahoo! news this morning. I doubt it'll be mentioned anywhere in the Big Media, where Hurricane Katrina will continue to be framed as a) the worst ever, and b) All Bush's Fault.
The deadliest hurricane in US history hit Galveston in 1900. The storm surge swamped the entirety of Galveston Island. In the end, there were between 8000 and 12000 people killed.
Erik Larson, author of the recent Devil in the White City (and no relation to yr hmbl srvnt) also wrote a book about it called Isaac's Storm.
Here's more on the Galveston hurricane of 1900. There's a 16 foot high seawall there now as a reminder. To the people who feel they will wait it out "as usual", please reconsider! There is nothing "as usual" about a storm as huge as Rita. If you are anywhere from Galveston to Houston to Corpus Christi, why not head inland for the weekend?