Remembering Hurricane Katrina
It’s been four years since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and the pain is still felt by many of us. I was 9 years old when Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005. It was hard for me to understand what was going on. I knew about hurricanes and the kind of damage they could leave. But I couldn’t believe the devastation and destruction this one left in its wake.
After evacuating our home, my family was anxious to hear news about what was going on. We left our house a couple of days before Katrina made landfall. The weather reports were at first vague on the course of the hurricane, but we knew was it was a category five—the most destructive and strongest hurricane of all.
The day after Katrina made landfall, we witnessed the destruction of places we were very familiar with. Homes and businesses were crushed to the ground. We watched as whole neighborhoods filled with floodwater. We saw people on roofs crying for help and the people who sought refuge in the Superdome in downtown New Orleans begging or food and water.
In the end, I knew it would take a very long time before life could get back to normal. For us, it was several years before my whole family was back together under one roof. Many people are still without homes, or are now living in different cities or states. It helped me personally that I was able to report on the recovery for Scholastic News and the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.
Four years later, I’m happy to say much has improved. All the support from volunteers and donation funds all across the country helped the area start its long recovery. There is still a lot to be done, but progress has been made. The people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region are resilient and strong. We are proud of our culture and heritage and will do whatever it takes to make a full comeback.
PHOTO: (TOP) A view of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans nine months after Hurricane Katrina's storm surge broke the levies and flooded the neighborhood. (Photo by Suzanne Freeman) (BOTTOM) Habitat for Humanity volunteer Katsumi Nakayama from Tokyo, Japan, with Scholastic News Kid Reporter Abigayle Lista in June 2008 during a volunteer rebuilding project in New Orleans. (Photo Courtesy Abigayle Lista)