This American Life producer Sarah Koenig visits Pearlington, Mississippi, a town in danger of not starting up again after Hurricane Katrina. It's in Hancock County, the Ground Zero of the hurricane's devastation.
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About fifteen miles from Pearlington, Bay St. Louis and Waveland are other communities struggling to bring themselves back to life.
At the Astrodome complex in Houston, charities from Colorado and Florida and other states are competing to take in the hurricane's refugees. But Colorado, which offers the best package of any state, just can't get New Orleans residents to relocate there.
Producer Jane Feltes talks with the first people on line for the bus to Colorado: Two twin, six-year-old sisters.
Host Ira Glass talks to evacuees about what it's like to live on a cot in the Astrodome and the Reliant convention center next door. The lights never go out, and the p.a. runs announcements all day.
As a half-dozen families—including a pregnant woman having contractions and another with a four-week-old baby—are driven around Houston looking for housing, they confront potential neighbors who they believe don't want them...and neighbors they themselves don't want. This American Life producer Lisa Pollak reports.
Nick Spitzer, host of the Public Radio International music show American Routes, drives through deserted streets to return to his own house, and finds it doesn't feel at all like home.
Louann Mims, a 78-year-old retiree, planned to leave her New Orleans house before the floodwaters rose, but then the water came rushing in and she was trapped in her house for eight days on the only thing that would float: her extra firm Sterns and Foster mattress. Ms.
Host Ira Glass talks about something he read that seemed to put an end to all debate over one of the key issues swirling around right now. He checks with William Nichelson, author of the books Emergency Response and Emergency Management Law and Homeland Security Law and Policy, to see if he's correctly understanding the issue.
In the days following Hurricane Katrina, Denise Moore was trapped in the New Orleans Convention Center with her mom, her niece, and her niece's two-year-old daughter. There, she witnessed acts of surprising humanity by armed vigilantes, taking charge and doing good.
To find out more about the bridge Denise talked about in act one and the armed police who prevented pedestrians from crossing, This American Life producer Alex Blumberg talks with Lorrie Beth Slonsky and her husband Larry Bradshaw. They're paramedics from San Francisco who were visiting New Orleans for a convention when Hurricane Katrina hit.
We compare Fox TV talk show host Bill O'Reilly's ideas about the hurricane's aftermath with those of Ashley Nelson, an 18-year-old who lives in the Lafitte Housing projects in New Orleans, in one of the flooded neighborhoods. Among other things, she explains what it feels like to go without food and water for two days.
Hundreds of thousands of Gulf residents evacuated before the storm and followed the whole thing from afar. Cheryl Wagner left for Gainesville, Florida, where her friends advised her to buy a gun and a mean dog before returning home to New Orleans.
In August 2004, Hurricane Charley devastated parts of Florida. Afterwards, FEMA built a trailer park to provide immediate temporary housing for those who'd lost their homes in the storm.