ON AUGUST 2009 at 11 A.M. I lost my grandchild Shanai Green in 25 feet of water. She was three years old. On the same day at 1:00 P.M., I lost my mother Joyce Hilda Green, she was 73 years old. Today, I live in two FEMA trailers and Shaniya and Shamiya come to the Lower Ninth Ward and still see our neighborhood as it was 4 years ago. But we have hope and we know that one day we will have our people and our community back.- Robert Lynn Green, Sr.
MY 90 YEAR old mother evacuated just before Katrina with my brother and his family. My sister and her family also evacuated. They left behind everything they had including houses. Today all three are dead because of the pain of the moves. I am still trying to restore my mothers home and I know the families of my sister and brother are working on their respective homes also. This has been a difficult time for all of us. We have received no help. This has caused me to wonder what government does for its people. As I view the foreclosure issues and economic downturn, I know we have been abandoned again. - Glynne Gervais
...WE EXPECTED FEMA to be there with tarps, MREs, water and ice - as they had been after every other hurricane. No one came...There was no music on the radio, just people calling in begging to know where they could get ice, water and food. We felt abandoned. We felt like our government and our country forgot us. If it weren't for the churches and food banks, many more people would have suffered and died, waiting for FEMA....American citizens should never have to fear for their lives because their government can't be bothered to help them - regardless of their race or socioeconomic status." - Danielle Norwood
I moved to New Orleans after volunteering in the city's most devastated areas. The people and spirit of New Orleans was enough for me to begin a new life here. At first I was scared, but I know it was the only move I could make. There are thousands and thousands of people still waiting to return home. It's as if God asked me, 'What are you going to do about this?' I am now working my hardest to make sure that I make a difference in this city - one person and home at a time. - Horacio Ruiz, Hope for Stanley Alliance
Our church has sent 4 groups to New Orleans and every time we go we are amazed with the people we meet and their stories. For me it was after my first trip. I was headed home and met a fellow at a gas station, he asked where I had been and when I told him he could not thank me enough although I felt as if I had not accomplished anything... Needless to say when we went back 6 months later I was there. We worked at the Lizardi Daycare and we met some former students as well as the neighbors who were working on their homes. Our group is headed back the middle of April so if you see a van with Aylmer Flooring on it feel free to stop and say "HI". I feel as though New Orleans is my second home with all the great people we have had the opportunity to meet. Thank You. - Mike O’Reilly (USA)
I am a product of a great cultural city known by the name of Gary, Indiana. Being a forgotten city is something we had to grow to realize in spite of the insulating effect that segregation provided throughout our youth. I'm going back to the'50s and '60s. During those years the steel industry provided hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs and plenty of taxes to the state and federal governments. When the steel companies "globalize" and downsized American workers, Gary started a downslide that continues to this day. I see all kinds of initiatives and bailouts for every segment of our citizenry, but what about Gary. Our newest high school was built in 1968. No government has made an attempt to rescue what was once a beautiful environment. If Gary had flooded I think the handling of that situation may have been even more callous and heartless. I've seen it and it stinks. My heart and prayers go out to you, New Orleans. - Brian Boulware (Chicago, IL)
Katrina affected me because I am an American who watched footage of my people getting treated like 3rd world citizens. We are the most powerful Nation on planet Earth but, yet, we let our own suffer through a horrific catastrophe and then tried to come up with some gibberish to justify the lack of response. That is sad. But what encourages me is that Kim, Scott and Brian (as well as some others in the documentary) had the most AMAZING attitudes throughout the ordeal and it really made me wonder about myself. How would I react? Could I maintain my composure even when it seems like our Government does not care about my people and I? I could only hope to be as strong. The 3 of them, plus the brother saving lives with the punching bag, were a huge inspiration to me and I'm glad that I had a chance to share in their story because they set a great example for how we should treat each other even in the midst of Hell on Earth. - Travis Harriston (Anne Arundel, MD)
I live in New Jersey and don't personally know anyone that lost his or her life as a result of Katrina and the failure of the U.S. federal government to protect and serve those affected. Nevertheless, I shall never forget seeing the film footage reflecting the initial and continued suffering of those who found themselves in the path of Katrina. Further, I am still saddened and shocked by the way in which the victims continue to be treated. We are all connected by virtue of our humanity. When we see an injustice and remain silent, then we become part of the harm. Everyone deserves to be protected and enjoy human and civil rights regardless of race, religion, culture, socioeconomic status, et al. - Donna Nassor (Bergen, NJ)
I'm not a victim of Hurricane Katrina, nor do I know any victims but seeing this film opened up my eyes to how people are treated in America. I'm fourteen years old, and I want change. - S.B. (Ocean, NJ)
I enjoyed the film and the music. I had no idea the people were just forgotten and left to fend for themselves because they are poor and have no expectations. I enjoyed the celebrations and the smiles, no matter what. The music is JAMMING and I wish I could get the CD somewhere. I spent most of my life being prejudice against those who aren't white, but events like these continue to show me how ignorant I was and how good all people can be when the chips are down. I will dedicate my efforts where needed to help the cause and make amends for my thoughts, beliefs and ignorance. - Jason Whitehurst (Brunswick, GA)
As I observed the unfolding of the Katrina story from New Mexico I was sick at heart. This story of human suffering is a story of our racist society. We need to heal from Katrina as part of healing from racism. We need to heal from racism to be a society. I am using this film to teach my students about racism as my contribution to this healing. Please do your part - Nancy Marquis (Santa Fe, NM)
We are all waves on an infinite ocean, believing as we poke up our heads to look at other waves, that we are separate, individual and unique. By quiet reflection, anyone can come to the realization that below the surface we are all one, all connected, all made of the same stuff. When any one of us suffers, the pain flows through us all, whether or not we allow or accept conscious awareness of it. Misery is like a tumor quietly growing giving no outward sign, until the quality of life is irrevocably damaged. When we answer the desperate plea of anyone known or unknown, we elevate ourselves. We are as a nation and as individuals the worse for the Bush-inspired lack of humanity, and lust for wealth and power at all cost. - Stephanie Horsley (Los Angeles, CA)
I was fortunate enough to get out of New Orleans the Sunday before the storm came. However, my life was still turned upside down. My family and I had a car accident in Texas that tore up our car. We had very little money, but we figured if we could just get home, everything would be okay. We were in the hospital, one son with a broken leg and glass in his eyes, one son with multiple contusions on his face, arms and back, and another who suffered a minor concussion and was undergoing test to be sure it was minor. My mother in law suffered the worst injuries. She couldn't move, her back was broken. I was in the hospital when I saw the first news reports of water filling up the streets. I prayed, but it kept rising & rising, day after day. Going home, was beginning to look bleak...I cried more. - Trica Yong (Glenarden, ME)
ONE QUICK story. I'M from San Diego and I was working in a home in New Orleans during the summer of 2008. My friends and I were putting in a wood floor. As I looked up I saw the child of the family whose house we were working on. She was about four or five years old. I realized that she has never known a home with a floor. For the past three years of her short life she has lived in a FEMA trailer. I told her that the funnest thing to do is to wear socks and slide across a wood floor. She ran away. As we finished the job and we were cleaning up for the day, I looked up, and there was the little girl, standing in the door way, a huge smile on her face, and fresh socks on her feet! She was going to experience, for the first time, stepping (and hopefully eventually sliding) on her own homes floor. It's the little joys in life that these people have missed out on for so many years.- Rev. Christian DeMent
THE REBUILDING of the gulf states matters to me because I am an American, and my brothers and sisters there are still suffering. I hurt inside every time I think about what Bush didn't do to help my fellow Americans in the Gulf States. It doesn't matter that I don't live there. We are all in this together, and, when my brothers and sisters are suffering, my life doesn't feel very good. - J Thomas

Where Were You?

Hurricane Katrina devastated the homes and impacted the lives of many throughout the Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. We’d be honored if you would share your experience of Katrina, and of survival.