Our Hurricane Katrina Memories


As we approach the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we share some of our memories. Did you volunteer along the Gulf Coast after the storm? Share your recollections with us on Facebook or Twitter, or at [email protected]. And to learn how Hurricane Katrina shaped us, please visit www.pointsoflight.org/katrina.

“It was a moment when we were either going to stand on the sidelines and wait and see, or jump in. We say service can make a difference and meet real needs. We needed to make that happen. We all just felt that in our bones.”
– Paige Moody, former senior advisor to the CEO, Points of Light

“The thinking was that we needed to get supplies, we needed to get tools, we needed to get volunteers out there to help. Our Corporate Month of Service was set to launch a couple of days after Hurricane Katrina hit, so we had a lot of projects already lined up for volunteers to do. Given the need after Katrina, we were able to refocus our efforts to concentrate on the Gulf Coast.”
– Jen Geckler, executive director of events, Points of Light

“Every homeowner we talked to said they were lucky and grateful. Lucky? They lost everything and didn't have money to start over. Grateful? Maybe because a few volunteers came to help? I never worked on a home where the owner didn't feed us. Maybe just a pot of red beans cooked up in their FEMA trailer. I love red beans! We worked six days a week in the heat and humidity and still came home with extra pounds.”
– Ann Drorbaugh, HandsOn New Orleans volunteer

“Every night the volunteers would have a communal dinner together. They talked about what they did, who they saw, who they helped and why they made a difference. Their stories were just amazing.”
– Toby Chalberg, Points of Light senior advisor to the CEO

“That was a powerful personal moment – meeting with residents, being welcomed as a stranger. Serving side by side with others was profound and meaningful.”
– Ben Duda, co-executive director of AmeriCorps Alums

“The influx of volunteers helped the community – people in despair – see that people do care. There was this gratitude and appreciation. It can be empowering for everyday Americans to see how they can transform lives through volunteer service.”
– Delores Morton, president of programs, Points of Light

“Ten years later, I think that this was one of the most intense and amazing times of our lives. The show of humanity at a time of tragedy, trauma and absolute disaster was so beautiful.”
– Lisa Flick Wilson, former affiliate network vice president, HandsOn Network

Read more memories here.