Six Months after Katrina: Who Was Left Behind - Then and Now

Six Months after Katrina: Who Was Left Behind - Then and Now\r\n By Bill Quigley\r\n\r\n\r\n Tuesday 21 February 2006\r\n\r\n Introduction\r\n\r\n Nearly six months ago, my wife Debbie and I boated out of New Orleans. We left five days after Katrina struck.\r\n\r\n Debbie worked as an oncology nurse in a New Orleans hospital. She volunteered to come in during the hurricane so that other nurses with children could evacuate.\r\n\r\n There were about 2,000 people huddled in the hospital - patients, staff and families of staff and patients. Plate glass windows exploded in the lobby and on crosswalks and on several floors. Water poured in though broken windows, ceilings, and down the elevator shafts. Eight feet of brown floodwater surrounded us.\r\n\r\n The entire city immediately lost electricity. Soon the hospital backup generators located in the basement failed. No lights. No phones. Even the water system stopped. No drinking water. No flush toilets.\r\n\r\n You can imagine a hospital with 2,000 people and no electricity, water, food, or flushing toilets. Breathing machines did not work. Cell phones did not work. Because the computers stopped working medicines were unavailable. Elevators in the 8 floor building did not work. We quickly ran out of food because the cafeteria and food were also in the flooded basement. The gains of 21st century medicine disappeared. Over 40 people died in the hospital over the next few days as we waited for help.\r\n\r\n Now imagine an entire city with no electricity, water, food or flushing toilets and tens of thousands of people left behind.\r\n\r\n


Leo Gorman, “Six Months after Katrina: Who Was Left Behind - Then and Now,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed June 26, 2019,