Professors reflect on the storm 10 years later

Philip Dynia On the Record

The Maroon

Philip Dynia On the Record

Nicholas Ducote

Many Loyola professors experienced damages of varying degrees during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but all had unique experiences that have stayed with them over the years.

Philip Dynia, political science chair, lived in the Bywater before Katrina and remembers the emotions locals were going through during and after the storm.

“It was a very scary period with anxiety and confusion, and it was obvious that we were going to be out of New Orleans for a while. When I came back, my house was fine and I only got a few inches of water in the street. I was very lucky, unlike some people, because I had a home and a place to go to,” Dynia said.

Connie Rodriguez, chair of the classical studies department, stayed in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and nearly lost everything. She was also one of the many New Orleanians who weathered the storm instead of abandoning her home.

“Katrina put three feet of water in my yard, but the failed levees and the failed army corp of engineers put nine feet of water in my house. I then wound up on the roof of my house with my neighbor and our three dogs after the storm passed,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez felt that the real tragedy wasn’t the storm, though, it was the people who were in control of New Orleans during the days after the storm. Although Katrina produced extreme water and wind damages to the city, Rodriguez said it was the people who were sent to help the lost and displaced locals of New Orleans who did the most harm.

“We ended up getting off of the roof by someone with a boat because the coast guard and the military were refusing to air lift people with pets. Being in the neighborhood that I was in, it also became very clear that they were being selective in who they were lifting off of the roofs,” Rodriguez said.

The weeks following the storm, the city was in an odd state. Locals were allowed to come back and figure out what to do with their homes, but the environment was not what they were used to.

Kathleen Crago, assistant professor of chemistry, said her family’s home was ghostly, strange and not something she expected.

“When we came back, it was strange, and everything was grey, even the skies. There were no birds or people at all. It was very quiet,” Crago said.

Crago’s husband, along with many of the locals of the pre-Katrina generation, also had coping issues after the storm. Her neighbors, especially members of her church, found it difficult to come back and begin rebuilding.

“There were many older people who were involved in the community with our church who either passed away or left with family out of the state after the storm. They had no homes, or no support system. Their lives were disrupted and were emotionally effected until their deaths,” Crago said.

Ten years later and all of these professors, returned to their homes, may have recovered their homes, but still feel the effects of the storm that took it all away.