The ESSENCE Initiative for Families

The ESSENCE Initiative for Families: Rebuilding Lives in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, along with a $250,000 contribution to African-American-led churches and community organizations in the affected regions.


School Daze

With only a handful of the city’s public schools reopened, New Orleans struggles to dig itself out after Hurricane Katrina and years of mis-management by the city’s Board of Education.


Man on Fire

New Orleans’s Ray Nagin claims local Black residents have been shut out of the rebuilding efforts, and the controversial mayor wants you to know why


Borrow a Cup of Hope

Watching the Gulf Coast tragedy unfold before our eyes reminded Weems how fragile life really is and what’s really important, namely the people who are a part of our circle of love and those who who come to our rescue in times of need.


Life of Possibilities

One woman says nothing can deter her faith


A “Nevertheless” Spirit

How to keep your peace in the midst of a storm


Is God Trying to Tell Us Something?

Reflections On Hurricane Katrina


Learning to Live After the Storm

There were houses that floated off their foundations and into the middle of the street. Boats blocking doorways. Bicycles still entangled in the wires atop telephone poles. These are just a few of the sights Sandra Pender and her daughter Yanada Essex encountered when they returned to what was left of their New Orleans home, just two months after they’d escaped Hurricane Katrina. Although her house there is still standing, virtually all of its contents were destroyed in the flooding after the storm.


Businesses Struggle to Rebuild After the Storms

Business as usual is not an immediate prospect for entrepreneurs in New Orleans


Getting Busy Living

A family who fled New Orleans’ 9th ward for New Jersey right before the Hurricane hit returns home literally and spiritually.


God Has Not Forgotten About You

A word of encouragement for all affected by Hurricane Katrina


Escape on Chef Highway

How Robert Moore and his mother, Ava Lee Moore, survived Hurricane Katrina.


In Katrina’s Wake

ESSENCE reporter Jeannine Amber files her first dispatch from the field, giving a close-up view of life in and around the Houston Astrodome.


After Katrina: The Limits of Charity

Jeannine Amber talks to evacuees at the Houston Astrodome about what they need more than a hand-out.


Finding Shelter From the Storm

In her third dispatch from the beleaguered Gulf Coast, Jeannine Amber considers how and when evacuees from areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina can begin to establish a new home base for themselves and their families.


The Kindness of Strangers

In her fourth dispatch from Houston, Jeannine Amber reports on the real progress being made by volunteers at the Astrodome. In the days and weeks ahead, as part of our mission to keep readers informed, we’ll bring you other accounts of the personal and political realities now being faced by Katrina’s survivors and those who are trying to help them reclaim their lives.


It Is About Race (Commentary)

Like Hurricane Katrina, after a Mississippi storm in 1927, nearly a million people fled. Over a thousand perished. The refugees were overwhelmingly black and poor. History professor and social commentator Jelani Cobb says the past has come back to haunt us like bad food in the gut.


A Finding a Lost Boy

Good Samaritans are one of the bright lights in the stories about Hurricane Katrina survivors. Tracy Lightner speaks from a volunteer’s point of view.


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Felicia’s Miracle

By the grace of God, one survivor swims to safety, then must search for her family.


Privacy, a Casualty of Rescue

A Washington Post reporter writes of her encounter with a hurricane survivor and considers what is there to do when there’s nothing to do but wait?


Momentary Relief

A psychotherapist ponders how nature can destroy homes and bodies but the art of mindfulness can rejuvenate the mind and spirit. A Chattanooga psychotherapist reflects on the overwhelming task of healing for the storm victims.


The Power of Grief

The Chattanooga, Tenn. psychotherapist says finding hope after a terrible tragedy takes time. This is third of three parts.


Leaning on Those Who Care

The Chattanooga, Tenn. psychotherapist says building human bridges can help heal the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. This is second of three parts.


The Waiting Game

CNN correspondent Udoji arrived in New Orleans on August 28, just before the storm and stayed nearly two weeks, through the chaos, until September 9. She said she has seen suffering in the Middle East, in Baghdad, in Afghan refugee camps and in West Africa, but nothing prepared her for the misery she saw after Hurricane Katrina. Udoji took a week off and returned to New Orleans to report on Hurricane Rita. This is the first of her three eyewitness reports.


Elderly Leave Entire Lives Behind

On assignment in New Orleans, CNN correspondent Adaora Udoji finds an elderly man on the edge of survival after the hurricane. He like many other senior citizens had seen storms come and go. They refused to leave at the first sign of trouble. But now he was forced to go.


Signs of Life After the Storm

CNN correspondent Adaora Udoji meets a Streets Department employee who rushed in with his crew to clear streets, bulldozing and chainsawing a path through the destruction so services could eventually be restored.


Bye, Bye Bling

Writer Retha Powers says seeing lives damaged in the wake of the hurricane devastation has challenged her notion of what is important.


Blessed by Strangers

A family’s faith is strengthened by the help of Good Samaritans.


Campuses Open Doors to Students

All over the nation, colleges and universities have taken in students evacuated from schools in the Gulf Coast. Four students in Birmingham take the first step toward reclaiming their lives.


Finding a New Normal Life

Pearl Stewart reports on how individuals are stepping forward to help families regain their footing and start a new life.


New Orleans Families Find an “Angel”

A Jackson, Miss. newspaper publisher gets involved to help storm evacuees


A Lucky Break After the Storm

Despite the loss of a new home and a new job, and her family scattered after the storm, one sister counts herself among the “lucky ones.


Goodbye to My Friend-New Orleans

After being inundated with images from CNN, writer Erin Whitlock realized that her favorite city would never be the same again.


Children of Katrina

One young girl looks ahead to a new life.


Going Home Again

A New Orleanian considers her family’s uneasy future after finding that their home is still standing.


A Narrow Escape From Katrina

Little did the Misty Starks know that her plans to take her boyfriend sightseeing would mean a last look at her favorite city before its destruction.


A Family Rescue Mission

Bryant Moore hadn’t lived in New Orleans in 18 years. But when his family called, he made a dangerous trip to save them in the days after the storm.