Hurricane Katrina evacuees | WABE 90.1 FM

Hurricane Katrina evacuees

Writer, performer and attorney Mike Molina worked with New Orleans youths in Atlanta, as part of a project he started called ''New Roots.''
Mike Molina

New Orleans native Mike Molina was living across the country in California’s Bay Area when Hurricane Katrina hit his hometown.

Seeing the storm’s devastating impact on New Orleans, he felt compelled to return to the South.

He ended up in Atlanta, where he stayed for many years, working with displaced New Orleans youths and also performing as a storyteller.

In a conversation with Stephannie Stokes, he discussed his interactions with the young evacuees and considered how the experience influenced his writing. 

At Dobbins AFB, Veterans Administration doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel from Georgia and South Carolina provide triage services to New Orleans evacuees upon arrival by Delta flight.
George Armstrong / FEMA

Hurricane Katrina barreled ashore in the Gulf of Mexico 10 years ago this week, forever changing the people and the places in the storm’s path and wreaking untold devastation and tragedy on an area ill-prepared for the magnitude of the storm.

While Mississippi and Louisiana were the hardest hit, states like Georgia and Texas were profoundly impacted by the massive influx of evacuees in the aftermath of Katrina.

Marietta, GA, September 4, 2005 -- New Orleans Katrina evacuees arrive at Dobbins AFB and begin the security admittance process at the check point. Immediate medical assistance is available here and those able to go to shelters will receive a general heal
George Armstrong / FEMA

When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast 10 years ago this week, thousands of people fled from the category 5 storm. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, estimates that more than 100,000 people from New Orleans, alone, made their way to Atlanta in Katrina’s aftermath -- and many stayed.

Then-Gov. Sonny Perdue, like most Americans, watched in horror as the monster hurricane barreled into the Gulf Coast, killing almost 2,000 people, most of them in New Orleans. But Perdue had no idea, at first, how deeply Katrina would impact Georgia.

Robert Davis looks out of the window of his Johns Creek home.
Stephanie Stokes / WABE

On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast and destroyed New Orleans' levee system leaving the city underwater and vulnerable to the category 5 storm. Nearly 2,000 people died because of the storm, most of them in New Orleans. 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it’s estimated that 100,000 New Orleans residents evacuated to Atlanta according to data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Ten years later, we found six people who stayed in Atlanta. Here are their stories. 

Robert Davis

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks during a National Press Club Luncheon in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Landrieu reported on his city's emergence as a model of urban renewal and economic recovery, 10 years after Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press


New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is visiting Atlanta and Houston to mark the approaching 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Landrieu's office says the trips are being made to thank those cities for welcoming evacuees from the 2005 storm.

He'll also be encouraging those who stayed to return to New Orleans. City Hall says thousands of former New Orleans residents still live in the Atlanta and Houston areas.

On Wednesday, Landrieu will join Atlanta's mayor for a news conference and Atlanta-based religious leaders for a Wednesday evening worship service.