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Katrina Photo Journal

Day Before the Storm

 Seeking Shelter in the Superdome


During the Storm

Relatively Minor Street Flooding around Charity


Morning After

 Front of Charity

 Damage to the hospital
seemed minimal at first,
but the floodwaters
began to rise and
backup generators
began failing.

Afternoon: Flooding Begins

Flood Waters Creeping Up

 Water Rising

And Rising

Front Lawn of Charity 

 Caring for Patients:
Generator Power

Without air conditioning,
the temperature inside the
hospital approached 100



Katrina Photo Journal

 The Basement Flooded

Water flooded the basement and the stairwells of Charity Hospital, threatening Emergency care on the first floor. Over 40 emergency department patients, their ventilators and medical equipment were carried up an unlit flight of stairs.

Steps down to Basement  


Evacuation Efforts 







Charity Hospital 



While Charity Hospital was being evacuated, other LSU EM faculty and residents began treating patients outside of the convention center in a makeshift tent, against a background of martial law, flood dangers and power outages. 



Within a  few weeks, a MASH tent was loaned to us and became our free-standing emergency department. 


Over the next year, we provided emergency care in a free-standing tent in the convention center, and in cubicles in an abandoned shopping mall.


In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused devastation along the gulf coast, with the most severe loss of life and property damage occurring in New Orleans due to flooding when the levees failed. 





Over 1,800 people lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina and due to the subsequent floods, making it one of the deadliest U.S. hurricanes. LSU Emergency Medicine faculty and residents stayed in our two main hospitals (Charity Hospital and University hospital) during and after the storm to provide patient care and aid in the evacuation of patients in those hospitals. 




EM faculty and residents also provided continuous care on the streets of the city, in the Superdome, convention center, bus station and various makeshift shelters; anywhere where stranded citizens were seeking refuge. 


Many of our faculty and residents were true heroes during and after the storm. Spirits remained high during the evacuation process.


After all patients were evacuated and the doors of Charity and University hospital were closed, the EM faculty and residents continued to provide care to the stranded citizens of New Orleans using any means available. 




Initially, a tent outside of the convention center became our makeshift ER, and then we were invited to move in to the convention center to join the MASH units provided by the military.  We worked side-by-side with the military for several months, sharing resources.  



When the military left, our ER was moved to a deserted shopping mall, where we obtained laboratory equipment and radiology imaging abilities. 



A little over a year after the storm, University hospital reopened and our residents moved into a newly renovated state-of-the-art emergency department. The doors of Charity Hospital have never reopened and many of us mourn this loss.  Over time, we have come to realize that the spirit of Charity lives on in the hearts of our physicians, nurses and patients. 


  We are proud that our Emergency Medicine residency remained strong and solid as our hospital and city rebuilt itself.  We are certainly stronger because of the storm, but humbled by the experience.  Our residents have adopted this motto: prepared for the worst and providing the best.




Micelle J. Haydel, MD

Program Director