storycorps

Henry "Junior" Rodriguez spent his life in St. Bernard Parish, serving 32 years in political office. He became a national figure after Hurricane Katrina as an advocate for restoring not only the communities, but also the coastal areas.

In this conversation recorded March 27, 2010, he speaks with media producer Jared Serigne about the importance of barrier islands to protecting wetlands, and how to stay involved in protecting the coast - even for those not interested in political office.

New Orleans musicians Jim Atwood and Patti Adams were at their Colorado cabin, off the electricity grid, trying to keep track of what was happening in New Orleans, as Hurricane Katrina approached. They clung to their two-inch screen, battery-operated television to decipher what they could expect to see on their return home.

Peter Mayer emigrated with his family from Germany as World War Two approached. He was six years old at the time and spoke no English. He and his family settled in Uptown and he has remained in New Orleans to the present day. He's 80 years old now, and is being interviewed by his son, Josh, who's 49. This conversation was recorded March 21, 2010.

Peter recalls New Orleans during his early years, and is asked about the days after the war, the historic time when Israel became a state, his college days, military service and his return to New Orleans.

Margie Vicknair-Pray and Luann Wenthold have been friends for 30 years. That bond became even stronger as Margie helped Luann slog through her Lakeview home after Hurricane Katrina. All was lost. But the struggles to come in weeks and years ahead involved strangers who were unsympathetic. And the insurance companies who fought paying claims for damages.

In this conversation, Margie and Luann remember some tough times, but an unexpected, life-affirming celebration provided by a football team. Luann begins with a special thanks.

This conversation was recorded March 19th. In this segment of the StoryCorps recordings, a Common Ground volunteer talks with two residents of the Lower Ninth Ward about how the community is coping with  rebuilding.

Nick Karel speaks with J.F. "Smitty" Smith and Ward "Mac" McClendon about how a close relationship evolved between the volunteers and the residents.

This recording was made March 18, 2010. Pam Mathews and her friend, Jo Lincks, were nurses at Memorial Medical Center when Hurricane Katrina hit. Pam's husband, Roy, an accountant, decided to ride out the storm at the hospital. They worked in the neonatal intensive care unit, and made sure the babies under their care got out safe - about an hour before all generator power failed. Jo starts off the conversation about what happened next.

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