Houston shelters Katrina evacuees, 2005

After Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans and much of the Gulf coast in 2005, I went to Houston to photograph efforts to shelter evacuees in the Astrodome and adjoining convention center.

Provided with food and water, clean clothing and a chance to shower, everybody looked pretty good but the most frightening problem they faced was separation from loved ones, as very few people had mobile phones or social media accounts at the time.

Home phones were gone with the homes that had been destroyed and extended families from poor neighborhoods knew they would have no place to gather and find each other. With no better option, many were making posters seeking each other but had no contact information to share.

I am hoping that digital homes on Facebook and other platforms will be more helpful getting people reconnected this time. But I am also wondering what other new technologies could help.

Click on any photo below to scroll through the slide show. There are some additional photos on my other site.

Katrina survivors, 2005

More than 25,000 people who were evacuated from New Orleans and other areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina take shelter on cots laid out across the floor of the Astrodome in Houston in 2005.

I volunteered to cover the disaster and was initially disappointed when I wasn’t sent to the epicenter of the destruction but I found countless stories to tell from Houston instead.

I have dozens of additional photos from this assignment posted on my portfolio site: jimmacmillan.com