Biloxi, Mississippi - Katrina Recovery

The perspective of a volunteer in the recovery effort.

Veronica's house

As the disaster of Hurricane Katrina enters its second month, citizens of Biloxi and the Gulf Coast struggle
to get their lives back to normal. Veronica stands in front of her destroyed home in East Biloxi and
holds up soaked photos of her family. Her home was knocked off its foundations and will be bulldozed.
Water swept over her house, destroying everything she owned.

The interior of Veronica's house looked like "someone had picked up the entire house and shaken it,"
according to one of the Hands On USA volunteers doing cleanup work.

Another view of the interior. Water filled the entire house.

Volunteers empty the house, putting Veronica's possessions beside the road,
where it will be picked up and taken to a landfill, compacted, and then burned.
"It's as if we are shoveling up people's lives," said one volunteer.

Veronica stands with some of the Hands On USA volunteers who stripped out her house.
Later she would bake a cake for them, even though she is living in her van.


All photos are by Richard Smith, a Hands On USA volunteer.
Non-commercial use is ok.