As the East Coast copes with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, many southerners somberly remember Hurricane Katrina. It's hard to believe, but six years ago on August 29th, the category three hurricane washed up from the Gulf of Mexico.
If you were in the midst of Hurricane Katrina, it's likely you'll never forget certain images. There was massive rain, trees and stop signs were barely standing. Street lights dangled by a thread and debris flew everywhere.
Mark Jones from the Salvation Army says Katrina was the most challenging, but also the most fulfilling operation the Salvation Army has ever helped out with.
Jones says, "Meeting the needs of that many people stretching the army to see the resources that we had go to the maximum use to the glory of God."
After the mainline levee broke in New Orleans and homes were destroyed all across the Gulf, thousands flocked to Jackson's coliseum for shelter. More than 30,000 meals were served there.
"We remember that people were without power for weeks upon end the Salvation Army was responding from the Mississippi Coast all the way to Tennessee," says Jones.
Despite the death and destruction, Katrina has brought about some good. A program called "Envirenew" has helped re-hab homes in New Orleans. The homes are environmentally friendly, affordable and more sustainable in the event of another Katrina-like storm.
The Salvation Army's Captain Ken Chapman says, "If you go there today, you'd see these new homes that have been established, people who are given the resources to start the re-building of their lives."
Chapman says the "Envirenew" neighborhood program can be implemented anywhere.
"Now depending upon the devastation, we've seen with Irene this is an idea that can be used in the Northeast if needed if they need to re-build," says Chapman.
Bringing it back to the South, we hope to never see a Katrina-like storm again, but we should always have our guards up.
Alan Gerard is the head meteorologist for Jackson's National Weather Service. Gerard says, "We could have another category 5 hurricane in the gulf this year or it could be another 50 years, there's just no way of knowing."
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