Katrina, 5 years later, how we covered rescues

By Fred Childers – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) –  August 30th, a day after Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans, Interstate 10 was transformed.

"There are people chopping their way through roofs right now," said Erica Menger, who had just been rescued from a flooded home.

The highway near the West End Boulevard exit became a staging area for those who had been rescued.

"We had to go into our next door neighbors' house and get on the second floor and then we had to put our cats there, and we had to leave them," said Menger.

Once the boats were not filled to capacity, we hitched a ride with volunteers, who searched street by street, looking for survivors who stayed behind.

"If you can hear somebody you know, you can't see nothing you don't know if they're under there," said one volunteer just before crawling up on a rooftop to listen for screaming or thumping.

The boat rescue effort paused during the night, and resumed at daybreak.

Some were relieved to be out of their attics or off the sides of their houses, others wondered if they had made a hasty decision.

We know now that leaving was the best option.

"We thought we were going to die," said Menger.

Weeks went by before this water finally receded.

And some of these homes would entomb those who stayed and died, not to be discovered for days, even months later.

©2009 ksla-tv. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.