Shelter from the Storm
Hurricane Katrina and its subsequent aftermath have been at the top of the headlines since late August. Though the projected direct path into New Orleans was averted, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were hit harder than anyone imagined – and the residents of this coastal area have been forced out of their homes and from their cities, many seeking shelter from the storm in Houston.
Recovering from this catastrophe has proved a national, state and local effort. More than 100,000 evacuees have sought refuge in Houston, whether in our hotels, homes or shelters. Emergency shelters in the Astrodome, Reliant Center and Reliant Arena have been dubbed “Reliant City,” and even downtown’s George R. Brown Convention Center has become a temporary shelter.
Thousands of volunteers have offered their time and efforts in Houston. Even more money has been donated here – an amount in the millions of dollars. There is a steady stream of clothing, medical supplies, food, water and school supplies being donated at area Red Cross establishments, the Houston Food Bank, schools, churches and businesses throughout Houston. Even our animal sanctuaries have become homes for furry hurricane evacuees. On the following pages, we bring you some glimpses of the people who found Houston a new – if not permanent – home and the Houstonians who welcomed them with open arms and warm hearts.
As the first buses began rolling in to the Astrodome, volunteers swung into action bringing food, water and a comforting presence for our displaced neighbors.
Once the evacuees filled the Astrodome, the convention center was made ready for receiving more victims of Katrina’s wrath. Houston’s citizens and leaders continued a sustained effort to make our new visitors as safe and comfortable as possible.