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  • Voices Rising: Stories from the Katrina Narrative Project (2008)
    On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast and nearly toppled the historic city of New Orleans. As the storm cleared, residents watched water and chaos overtake their city while political and legal systems proved unprepared and insufficient for dealing with the disaster.

    The University of New Orleans served as a base for rescue and sustained tremendous damage to its lakefront campus, but a scant month and a half after Hurricane Katrina hit, the university had tracked down its students and risen up, a virtual university on the Internet, the only university in the city that managed to salvage its fall semester. That fall marked the beginning of what came to be called The Katrina Narrative Project. The idea was to get members of the UNO community to interview their fellow citizens in an effort to record their experiences with the hurricane, with being displaced and, ultimately, with their return to the City.

    Hundreds of manuscripts, interviews, and transcripts were collected from students and other residents who were willing to share their personal stories of the disaster. UNO compiled all of the submissions and created The Katrina Archive, which is currently housed at the University of New Orleans library. Voices Rising is a small sampling of this greater collection. These are true accounts of trauma and survival told by the people who endured them. Their stories translate the media’s anonymous portrayal of suffering into the personal language of individuals as they struggle to make sense of the incomprehensible scope and depth of the disaster.

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