Andree' Maduell


I had just retired from teaching elementary school in Jefferson Parish and bought property in Lacombe. This was in the summer of 2005 just before Katrina struck. I have a BA in art from Southeastern Louisiana College, but spent 30 years as a teacher to support my family. I thought I would finally be able to devote my retirement painting, writing and working with photography, and traveling.
When Katrina was on the way, I as well as most of the Gulf South thought this was going to blow over and leave us with a little mess. When the weathermen’s forecast got grimmer and grimmer, most of my family evacuated. But not me. I figured Lacombe was far enough inland for me to be safe. My oldest daughter who has medical problems stayed with me.
Many trees on my property fell, luckily none fell on my house. But water began to invade my property and house until I had ten inches on the bottom floor. The water drained quickly so I was able to clean out the bottom floor. But I had no electricity for weeks. When I was tired from cleaning up, I kept a journal. After a few days I realized the importance of this event, and that I would not be able to remember all the details. Within a few months of writing, I began to visualize these writings as a book. The entire first year of what happened to my family, the evacuations, the problems getting medical treatments for my daughter, the loses, the feelings, the promises, the hopes, the disappointments and my thoughts and reactions to all of these events are now in my book. It is called, “9/18-EBR-ZERO, Hauntings of Katrina.” I published it myself, (it is on, and my web site, because I know big publishing companies would only take “famous” people’s accounts, or take a long time to get it out if it were accepted. I felt that I needed to get this story out soon. I didn’t know if any other ordinary people had day by day documentation, but if they did, each story would be different, yet the same.
When we were allowed to travel in different sections of the city, I took my camera to document the destruction. I first went to Metairie where my old house is and have photos of Lafreniere Park where they put the piles of tree debris. I then went to the lake front by the Southern Yacht Club and was amazed at the way the boats were tossed onto the land. I have many photos of that area. When my youngest daughter was allowed to return to Meraux to see the damage to her house, I took photographs there. On the way back to Lacombe through Highway 11, I took photos of the area where there used to be camps. Some of these photographs I included in the book, and others are on my web site. There is one page on the web site just for Katrina photos. With my photographs as my documented memory, I have no desire to paint scenes of the destruction. I try to focus my art work now on the beauty of nature and of simple things.

Andree’ Maduell
30311 Hwy 190
Lacombe, La. 70445

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