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Author Event! Katrina Memoir Panel

Event Type: Adults
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 9/9/2015
Start Time: 7:00 PM
End Time: 8:30 PM
 Three local authors with new nonfiction books about Hurricane Katrina will discuss them and sign copies at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.

The meeting is free of charge and is open to the public. Books will be available for sale to those who would like to purchase them.

Voices of Angels by John Batty

As Hurricane Katrina barreled towards New Orleans, Louisiana, hospitals across the city prepared for the coming storm. Staff members streamed in and began stockpiling food, water, medical supplies and fuel. But what no one foresaw was that their emergency generators would flood and fail, leaving hospitals stranded in the rising water with no air conditioning or much of their equipment and unable to evacuate patients and staff by land. Throughout the devastating winds, rising waters, and August heat, nurses stuck by their patients. They improvised new emergency procedures and methods of record-keeping and patient transport, all without power or reliable information.

The individual voices of nurses come from six New Orleans-area hospitals—Veterans Affairs, Pendleton Memorial, Medical Center of Louisiana in New Orleans, Charity, Tulane Medical Center, and Ochsner—as well as Lambeth House retirement community and the Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge. They speak to the vital importance and ingenuity of nurses under pressure.

John R. Batty is an experienced psychiatric nurse who interviewed the nurses who treated patients during and after Hurricane Katrina. He and co-author Gail Tumulty presented the nurses’ experiences at the American Nurses’ Association conference. Batty’s research into hospital conditions and evacuations has made him an expert in disaster management. Batty, a former writer for First NBC Bank, lives and works in New Orleans.

The St. Bernard Fire Department in Hurricane Katrina by Michelle Buuck

In the early moments, the parish fire department personnel quickly learned that their roles had changed. Abandoned by the ambulance service as the first squalls of the storm reached the area, their new roles were diverse and demanding. Firefighters became the area’s EMTs, rescue and recovery responders, mechanics, social workers, and provision providers. For some six thousand St. Bernard Parish residents who made the unfortunate decision to stay in their homes, fire personnel, ignoring their own losses and heartaches, would become their saviors. The author’s father and son are among the members of the St. Bernard Fire Department.

Michelle Buuck was born and raised in the Faubourg Marigny. Her family includes three generations of firefighters: her grandfather, father and son. This, in addition to her years of community involvement in St. Bernard Parish, instilled in her a strong desire to document these stories. She did this not only to record the area’s hardships during Hurricane Katrina, but also for the first responders whose stories are often forgotten. Buuck served on the Board of Directors for the Nunez Community College History Lecture Series for three years. She has also written for the Times-Picayune, reporting community news for St. Bernard Parish.

Lost in Katrina by Mikel Schaefer

While President Bush was shaking hands with FEMA director Michael Browne (“Brownie,” as he will be remembered) on the fourth day after the storm, St. Bernard Parish was struggling to salvage what they could. Ordinary people did extraordinary things to save the parish that found itself almost completely submerged in floodwater. Heart-wrenching stories of the human will to survive offer an inside perspective on what it means to be a survivor of Hurricane Katrina.

Mikel Schaefer spent his early years in St. Bernard and graduated in 1987 from the University of New Orleans. He is an executive producer at WWL-TV, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans. He was among the staff honored for broadcast coverage during Hurricane Katrina, and WWL-TV was awarded the 2005 George Foster Peabody Award, one of only four television stations in the nation to win.
Library: East Bank Regional Library    Map
Location: Jefferson & Napoleon Rooms
Contact: Chris Smith
Contact Number: 504-889-8143
Presenter: Chris Smith