Red Cross volunteer remembers Hurricane Katrina 10 years later - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Red Cross volunteer remembers Hurricane Katrina 10 years later

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Red Cross volunteer remembers Hurricane Katrina 10 years later (WFSB) Red Cross volunteer remembers Hurricane Katrina 10 years later (WFSB)
MILFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Saturday marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Gulf Coast.

The hurricane is considered the most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history.

The Connecticut Red Cross deployed 600 volunteers, and Eyewitness News talked to the person responsible for managing the largest shelter in Red Cross history.

Lucian Terranova, of the CT Red Cross board of directors, arrived in Houston a few days before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana.

He said it was his first time working a disaster outside of Connecticut.

"Our assignment was to setup a shelter in Baton Rouge, and they wouldn't let us into Louisiana. So, we called back to Houston and said they won't let us over the border, and they said come back,” Terranova said.

He was tasked with setting up a shelter in the Astrodome. He said the images of the staggering destruction flooded in, along with the people.

“It was one of the largest shelters Red Cross had ever opened. It was 27,100 people at the max that we recorded in,” he said.

Terranova said families arrived, along with parents without their children and children without their parents.

"People were devastated by the time they got to the Astrodome. They had really nothing when you think about it. All they had was what they could fit into a plastic bag,” Terranova said.

Slowly, he said, he saw the dome become a haven for those who had lost everything in a flash.

"The cots become closer together. It doesn't make for privacy for the people at all, but it was a place for them to go,” Terranova said.

He said this experience transformed him.

“I think about the people who came there, who were my age at the time, 60, 62, and they had a black plastic bag and that was their whole life. That was their whole life, so I look at it like, gee what would I put in that plastic bag from my whole life,” he said.

President Barack Obama visited New Orleans on Thursday to mark the anniversary.

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