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Katrina Memories

Updated on July 21, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia finds people's memories of great events important to save. She's collected them from friends, family, and fellow writers.


August 29, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina - Where Were You and What Did You Think About This Disaster?

Hurricane Katrina is one of those events that stick in your mind. People tell about how it affected them personally and share their memories.

Even with advance warning, the devastation of New Orleans shocked the nation. Too many people stayed in place, having weathered previous storms or lacked transportation to leave.

Trapped in their homes, many lost their lives. Displaced by the flooding, many never returned to New Orleans. They lost everything and had to start over again.

Many Lost All Their Possessions to Hurricane Katrina

AliciaMae - My boyfriend lived in Metairie (just outside, west, of New Orleans proper) - he lost everything except the few things he had in the car to that storm. I remember lots of desperate phone calls, then texts, then nothing as the phone died - he spent 10 hours trying to get to Baton Rouge to safety, then spent a week in Houston at relatives'. He relocated to the east coast when he found his apartment had flooded and everything was gone or molded. 6 years later and that storm is still known in our house (in New Hampshire away from the coast!) as "that b**ch" !

Working to Help the Victims of Hurricane Katrina

(by MJsConsignments)

I was an Army Staff Sergeant and a GS employee working full time for the Ohio Army National Guard. I spent a couple of months working most days and many weekends moving Ohio's soldiers in and out of Louisiana for the relief effort.

The Markings on the House Tell Rescuers That This House Has Already Been Searched for Victims


15 Friends and Writers Share Their Memories of Hurricane Katrina

  • BunnyFabulous from Central Florida - I was in Orlando and after getting hit by 3 hurricanes the year before, I was watching the news closely and praying that people in NO would be ok.

  • Kate Loving Shenk from Lancaster PA - It was hotter than the hinges where I was, and we were all fearful that Katrina would hit where we live in PA. My family was visiting from Oregon, and they were getting ready to fly back. Little did we know then how tragic everything was destined to be.

  • TravelingRae - I was recovering from dental surgery that delayed my vacation by a week. Good thing, too, or I would have been in New Orleans when Katrina hit. I had to change my vacation plans fast!

  • nikosgr - I was a seaman that period and I was in New Orleans trying to go to my country, Greece. It took me 4 days to go home.

  • Joan4 - I watched this one very closely since my cousin was living there at the time. It felt like we were holding our breath until we heard from him.

  • Ann Hinds from So Cal - It was one of the situations where there was nothing we could do living in California and hoping for the best while seeing the worst.

  • Coreena Jolene - I was worried about my nephew. He was helping in the helicopters picking people up and citizens were shooting at the helicopter. He was ok, but what a life experience for him.

  • SquidooMBA - I was in Orlando and after we got hit by 3 hurricanes the year before I was just relieved that we didn't get it again. I know the gulf coast is still recovering from the devastation.

  • harty5680 - I remember being at work and looking at pics on CNN. My boss was upset that I was doing this even though it was while I was waiting for something to download.

  • JoshK47 - Working at McDonald's at the time - I remember being very concerned for a friend of mine who lived there, and, of course, it was completely impossible to get a call to anyone in Louisiana.

  • Jennifer P Tanabe from NY - I was flying to Scotland because my father was in hospital seriously ill. The plane showed it on the news, then I had the BBC version when I arrived!

  • Tagsforkids - Being in South Florida, we got Katrina first. We were lucky though in the sense that she was just a category one storm after popping up just off our coast. Needless to say, she gained a lot of strength after getting out into the Gulf.

  • slappywalker - I was living in Charleston, SC when this one happened. Our area had been hit by hurricanes before, so I remember thinking that it wasn't out of the ordinary for some people to not evacuate. However, I knew that people had been saying for years that New Orleans would be in trouble since they were so far under sea level.

    The storm itself wasn't that surprising, but the aftermath was still one of the saddest things I have ever seen in my lifetime. Hard to believe that people were trapped for so long waiting for help. And the Superdome was just utter chaos. Sad all the way around.

  • Frischy from Kentucky - I just remember sitting in my living room watching this for days and crying. It was so horrible.

  • jolou - I watched a lot on CNN. Could not believe more people were not evacuating, and how many at the last minute headed to the Superdome. The aftermath was terrible to watch.

I was absolutely distraught when I saw what was happening to New Orleans. I had a daughter in the Army National Guard whose unit was sent there to stop looters and thieves from robbing the people who had so little to survive.

— Nancy Carol

Video - 10 Years After Katrina - Stories of That Terrible Hurricane and the Aftermath

People in Texas Were Affected Too

Renaissance Woman from Colorado - I was a professor at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, Texas and Katrina were first heading straight for the Gulf Coast of Texas. I was teaching a doctoral class when it was announced that the university was being shut down in preparation for the landfall of the hurricane. Living on an island in the path of the storm, Padre Island, the causeway to my home was about to be closed with no access to batten down the hatches. My students wanted to hurry home with me to help me get the hurricane shutters secured on the outside of my condo. That really touched me -- their desire to help me and my home be safe. As it turned out, the hurricane made a last minute sweep toward New Orleans, near where my sister and her family lived. They survived the storm but had massive damage to their home. My poor mother, halfway across the country, was worried as her two daughters were both in the path of Katrina. Very memorable times.


Were You Displaced by Hurricane Katrina?

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There Was Plenty of Blame All Around for the Disaster

FEMA, the governor of Louisiana, President Bush, and many others were cited for the inadequate response that increased the suffering brought by the hurricane.

10 More Memories of Hurricane Katrina

  • Evelyn Saenz - We had just moved back to the US from Costa Rica two months before the hurricane and nearly moved to New Orleans but in the end decided to move to Miami. When Katrina hit Miami as a category 1 or 2 tornadoes touched down a block from us. We had put up hurricane shutters so it was difficult to see what was going on outside. Just as they announced that tornadoes had touched down about a block from us the electricity and TV went out. We had a battery operated TV which I watched for days. We felt grateful that we had not chosen to move to New Orleans.

  • anonymous - I was at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS when the most powerful hurricane to hit the US came ashore right where I was on August 17, 1969. I spent two solid weeks doing volunteer help for the residents of the disaster area. Too bad they didn't remember and allowed Katrina to destroy their lives, once again. BTW: The next year, I was on Okinawa for two major typhoons. Lots of fun. Not. ... later, had a few feet of Mt. ST. Helens ash in my yard and on my car in Idaho.

  • Marigold Tortelli - I was in college, and I live in Texas, but my area was not directly affected by the hurricane. My college has a campus in Galveston, though, so for a few weeks we had students from the Galveston campus in our classes.

  • CruiseReady from East Central Florida - I was following Katrina's every move on TV and on weather forums on the net, as I do every tropical system, from tropical lows right up to monster storms. I'm a bit of a tropical weather system junkie, as I live in hurricane country (though not the gulf coast.)

  • norma-holt - Watching the event unfold on television. Most Aussies were glued to their sets as the hurricane exploded over the cities affected.

  • aquarian_insight - I was in Mumbai where I was stuck indoors for 24hrs with no electricity or water because there was extensive flooding in the area. It was nowhere near as bad as Katrina, but it got no news time due to the events happening in New Orleans. I only found out about Katrina after speaking to my family back home in London and saw it on the news once the electricity was back on.

  • mrducksmrnot - I was bouncing back and forth from the weather channel and NASA site watching the path of the storm before it hit.

  • AlleyCatLane - I was home watching the weather station to see if we were going to get any of the storm here in Tallahassee, and praying that New Orleans wouldn't get a direct hit. Then watching the horrific stories of those poor people after the storm hit was wrenching.

  • Bill from Gold Coast, Australia - I think my mind sort of brushed it off at first as we often hear about natural disasters on the other side of the world and because they are so far away, they do not really mean much. There is always some sort of flood, earthquake or cyclone going on somewhere. This one hit home with me more as it went on and I saw how bad the damage was and heard about how poorly the USA officials responded to it.

  • NoYouAreNot - Well, besides feeling sorry for the lives lost and properties destroyed, I regret not having visited the US and New Orleans before that one happened.

Tell Us Your Own Memories of That Hurricane

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