Katrina, a remembrance

Five years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coasts, the event remains a demarcation point in the contemporary history of the US. For many it show the inability of large, complex bureaucratic organization to effectively respond to the human needs of people impacted by the disaster. And for many it became a turning point in their lives as service to others became the purpose that got them up every morning. I share these images as a reminder that national and international events like these are really local ones. If we do not treat them as such, then we will forget that they are human ones. 

A neighborhood street

A tent encampment behind a gas station, December 2005.

Kathleen of Katrina Relief, who left her home in Illinois, moved in her RV to Waveland, Mississippi, and started a non-profit to help in relief and recovery of the homes and lives of people impacted by the storm in Hancock County, Mississippi.

HFHMGC houses 1
Houses built by volunteers from around the country through Habitat for Humanity International Mississippi Gulf Coast.

IMG_8380 Randomkids from around the country who initiate their own projects to help people impacted by Katrina. Kids from around the country raised over $10,000,000 for Katrian relief.

The impact of Hurricane Katrina goes far beyond the loss of homes, jobs and property. It showed the power of volunteer initiative. It showed that individuals when they put their mind to it can do just about anything.  This is especially true when politics and personal gain are left out of the equation.

In many ways, the hurricane event showed the hidden kindness that exists in our nation today. Aristotle wrote,

Kindness (is) helpfulness towards some one in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped. Kindness is great if shown to one who is in great need, or who needs what is important and hard to get, or who needs it at an important and difficult crisis; or if the helper is the only, the first, or the chief person to give the help.

This is the untold story of Hurricane Katrina. A story that is impacted all of us five years on.