The Katrina List

“The Katrina LisT” is a collection of stories
derived directly from actual survivors of the historical storm.

IN THE BEGINNING...

In essence, the “Katrina Project” started over 16 years ago, even before the devastating flood following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In early September 2004 I headed to my Aunt Bea’s house (Beatrice Jones-McGlory). As we sat on the couch I began to cry. Aunt Bea said “What’s wrong? “and I said, “I saw my mother’s death.” Then she said, “Go lay on my bed.” After a short nap I went back and sat on the couch next to Aunt Bea. She said, “Do you feel better?” And I said “Yes”.

But as I sat there, I saw the City of New Orleans flooding in the Fall of 2005. I said to Aunt Bea “New Orleans will flood next year.” She looked over at me and said, “Rodney what are you talking about?” I said, “Sitting here I see the City of New Orleans flooded and I am walking through the flood waters.”

I only related this story to three people in my family and only two remembered. Aunt Bea, who said to me on the morning of August 26, 2005 as she, her daughter Jeanne and family were preparing to heed then Mayor C. Ray Nagin’s mandatory evacuation of the entire City, “Rodney, are you leaving?” I said “No”. “I thought you said to me last year that New Orleans would flood?” she said. I said “Yes, but I am supposed to stay.” Aunt Bea looked at me strangely and said, “that do not make sense!”

Then she asked me to get all the loose items from around the house and secure them as gale force winds were predicted. The second person I told of New Orleans flooding was Aunt Mae (Margimain Delores Khaton-Casimire).

July 01, 2005, I woke as if someone had put their finger in my shoulder and said, “go copy all your mother’s photographs from her cedar chest”. So, I got busy copying photos for approximately one week.

I was working on a hot day, August 19, 2005, painting and repairing the outside of Pampy’s Restaurant with Hassan Salaam. Just before lunchtime one of my six daughters Asha called. “Dad, my plane is arriving at 5:49 p.m.” I said, “what airline and what flight?” Asha said she needed to get away from Chicago. I knew something was out of order, but I did not ask. I was glad to be there for her.

Little did I know that the whole of New Orleans would be out of order soon. Asha said she was going to stay with Iris, the daughter of one of my dear, deceased friends. I told her, “no, you are going to stay with me. I will rent a room at the Super 8 Hotel not too far from where I am working”. I was in transition; weeks earlier I had given up my ground floor apartment at 2800 Cleveland.

Well, Asha came to save my life. After spending a week in New Orleans Asha flew back to Chicago. Two days later I turned the news on to find that New Orleans would be in the path of Hurricane Katrina. I paid for the hotel room for four more days – this put me above the waterline. 

These and many stories are documented in my book “The Katrina List, the Untold Story of Hurricane Katrina”, which will be published this year, 2021.

The archive includes 193 CDs, 5,600 images, and approximately 25,000 documents, paintings, posters and the quintessential museum artifact:  The Katrina List, a spreadsheet of approximately 10,000 names with contact information that I collected in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while thousands of residents remained trapped to face the floodwaters of the storm. Every person who was a resident of New Orleans in August 2005 had some association with someone on the Katrina List. Visitors to the museum express a wide variety of emotions when searching the list for familiar names. Some say that they are surprised to know that a particular member on the Katrina List failed to evacuate. Many reveal sadness because a person whom they knew on the Katrina List did not survive the aftermath of the hurricane. All express amazement about this remarkable snapshot of history.

“WE WERE THERE, HERE ARE OUR NAMES, THESE ARE OUR FACES, 10,000 OF THEM.

ARCHIVING THE COLLECTION

The archive includes 193 CDs, 5,600 images, and approximately 25,000 documents, paintings, posters and the quintessential museum artifact:  The Katrina List, a spreadsheet of approximately 10,000 names with contact information that I collected in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while thousands of residents remained trapped to face the floodwaters of the storm. Every person who was a resident of New Orleans in August 2005 had some association with someone on the Katrina List. Visitors to the museum express a wide variety of emotions when searching the list for familiar names. Some say that they are surprised to know that a particular member on the Katrina List failed to evacuate. Many reveal sadness because a person whom they knew on the Katrina List did not survive the aftermath of the hurricane. All express amazement about this remarkable snapshot of history.

“WE WERE THERE, HERE ARE OUR NAMES, THESE ARE OUR FACES, 10,000 OF THEM.

“The Katrina List” is a collection of stories derived directly from actual survivors of the historical storm. The proceeds from the sales of this limited edition collection of narratives will go towards making the Katrina National Memorial Museum a reality in New Orleans.

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