The 2005 Hurricane Katrina heavily damaged the aquarium internally when electrical power and sorely needed generators shut down. This lose of power led to the life support systems, used by the animals, to shut down, resulting in the loss of over 10,000 fish. During the next year, the aquarium was restored, as well as replacing the lost fish. Since then, even more species of animals have been added, going beyond the 10,000 that were lost.
The aquarium has been used as a filming location for the 2009 film, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, directed by Werner Herzog and starring Nicolas Cage, as well as for the 10th episode of Life After People. Bad Lieutenant won the Christopher D. Smithers Foundation Special Award during the 2009 66th Venice International Film Festival.