The Angel Network Team
Oprah reacts to the Katrina catastrophe.
As the catastrophe caused by Hurricane Katrina unfolded, Oprah watched along with millions of viewers around the globe. Determined to move beyond feelings of helplessness, Oprah called on her friends and staff to do their part in assisting with relief efforts. For the past six days, Angel Network teams traveled to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee. They arrived in the Gulf States with a convoy of trucks loaded with food, water and basic necessities. Their mission: make a difference, and tell the stories you haven't heard.
Dr. Oz visits injured survivors awaiting treatment
Dr. Mehmet Oz was the first from our team to arrive on the scene in New Orleans, with hopes of helping the world understand the medical difficulties victims are facing. With most of the hospitals evacuated, Dr. Oz headed to the Louis Armstrong International Airport, where most of the injured are being treated in makeshift clinics. There, Dr. Oz was unprepared for what he saw: thousands of sick and injured survivors, many who had gone days without food or water, patiently awaiting treatment.

Everyone has a harrowing story of how they got to the airport-turned-hospital. Dr. Oz evaluated the condition of one man suffering from wounds he sustained after punching through a window to escape rising floodwaters. "It's been four days and this man is in serious trouble if he does not get medical attention," warns Dr. Oz.

Though grateful to be alive, this survivor is more concerned about finding his family than his own well-being: "I'd rather lose my hand than not be with my children."
Dr. Oz outside the morgue
The airport's tarmac is the last step for the thousands of patients who require constant medical attention. Separated from loved ones, they are loaded onto military planes headed to hospitals across the country. "This is really mind-boggling. I never, never imagined I'd see something like this," says Dr. Oz. "These people working 24/7. Just so heroic. They delivered babies here. It's become a hospital. It used to be an International Airport."

Inside the convention center in New Orleans, many survivors were desperate for medical help.  It was a scene that Dr. Oz says he had never witnessed before.
Dr. Oz
At the convention center, Dr. Oz says, "It's pretty desperate here. They're not drinking. They're not eating. A lot of folks are passing out. You can smell death in the air. Just feces and excrement and human sweat."

But if you can imagine, the situation on the streets of New Orleans is just as grim. "I've walked these streets dozens of times; I could never imagine this happening to New Orleans: a dead body in the middle of a street," says Dr. Oz. "You'd never think this is possible in an American city. But literally all we can do right now is put chairs in front of him so he doesn't get run over by cars. All the emphasis is on transporting the living bodies out. People deserve more respect than having to die on the side of the road like this. Such a tragedy."
Dr. Oz rescues a baby
As Dr. Oz tours the area, the Red Cross sends him a baby in desperate need. "The baby's heart rate is over 200," he says. "That means there's not enough fluid in the body. If there's not enough fluid in the body, the heart has to beat faster. We've got to get this baby on a chopper out of here to get medical care."

Dr. Oz gives the baby a bottle of Gatorade and makes sure the baby's family is taken to a hospital. "Oprah, when I think about what I learned here, I think there are fundamental things that I come away with. The first is that 99 percent of the people that we saw in New Orleans had incredible grace under a lot of pressure; 1 percent didn't. That 1 percent is what was focused on a lot. And I came down thinking that there was one person doing a little bit. It's probably not going to change the world very much. And I remember that little kid that I ran into, dehydrated. Limp. And just giving a little water to that kid made a difference in his life.

"So I asked myself. Can one person make a difference? For me it did. And I think for him it did, too. That's a lesson I'm never going to forget."
Lisa Ling
Lisa Ling has been to war zones around the world yet felt overwhelmed by the chaotic scene she witnessed right here on American soil. Thousands of survivors, many separated from loved ones, gathered at a triage center amidst garbage and debris as they waited to be evacuated.

Lisa listened to people recount their stories of survival as a constant stream of military helicopters flew overhead. One woman separated from her four children described the devastation saying, "It's hell, it really is hell."
Tsunami survivor Nate Berkus
The scenes of destruction and desperation after the hurricane reminded Nate of the tsunami's devastating aftermath. The similarities were especially visible in the facial expressions and body language of survivors, struggling to understand what steps to take next.

Nate was especially moved by the story of a man named Patrick, who survived the catastrophe with his dog Rafiki, only to learn that his pet could not be allowed onto the rescue helicopter. Nate pledged to help by sending Patrick's dog, along with two other stranded pets, to a private home in Baton Rouge.
Lisa Ling and homeless families
Lisa Ling also found still other stunned families walking the streets of New Orleans in a daze. One family she met was wandering a now desolate road, with no destination in mind. They had already taken refuge in the Superdome, but were forced to leave because of the deplorable conditions.

Many of the families Lisa met repeated the same horrific accounts of their ordeal in the Superdome, the very place that was supposed to serve as a safe haven. Shaken by their stories, Lisa felt compelled to question the way authorities responded: "If this had happened to an affluent, white community, would people have had to wait for five days in a dangerous, dark, disgustingly dirty environment, or would something have been done? This is America, that's the thing that is most disconcerting about this."
A victim of Hurricane Katrina left behind
Perhaps the most saddening sight for Nate was the body of one victim left on the street in a wheelchair. Covered by a sheet, with only a foot visible, the image of the shrouded body served as testament to the incalculable amount of loss and suffering.

"This is a picture, I think, to remember what this hurricane really means."

In the midst of so much devastation and despair, our Angel Network was also bringing relief and comfort to thousands of evacuees. Jamie Foxx met our Angel Network trucks to deliver food and some love.
Jamie Foxx helps Hurricane Katrina evacuees
"I'm here in Dallas, Texas, right down the street from my hometown, Terrell," says Jamie Foxx. "Over 14,000 hurricane victims have been transported here and we're getting food for them so they can eat."

Jamie helped distribute food at a shelter and met one little boy who had managed to save his trophies. "I asked the kid, why your trophies? He said because, you know, it shows that he's done something. It shows that he's proven himself. And for the simple fact of that kid, we should all try to dig down deep and do anything that we can."
Jamie Foxx
"The one that really got me was a 66-year-old man and what he said was that 'I have a stint put in for a heart [problem]' and he says 'but I can handle it.' He says but what he couldn't take was the blatant disregard for someone like your grandmother. Eighty years old, sitting there, and nobody coming to help her. It should never happen. These people are Americans. Some of the things that have been said and everything has just been so sad—that we would treat our folk like this—and it's a day I won't forget soon."
Faith Hill
"I don't think anyone who has watched the news the last few days can go to sleep at night without having your heart just bleed," says Faith Hill. "Tim (McGraw, her husband) and I both knew that we had to do something. We just contacted the American Red Cross and said, 'What can we do? What can we bring?'"

The Red Cross gave Faith a list of specifics, for instance: 1,000 toys for children; 500 socks for children, size small, medium and large; T-shirts for men, all sizes, 500 of each; diapers and feminine products and baby powders and food.

"We got three semis and our bus and 8 [o'clock] Saturday morning we started making phone calls to close friends and family," says Faith. "We were able to do a major attack on the city of Nashville in one day and it was just mind-blowing how the community came together."
Faith Hill sings with survivors
Once she arrived in Gulfport, Mississippi, Faith visited a shelter where 125 adults and 25 children were living. "I wanted them to know that we as a country have not forgotten them," says Faith. "Being raised in Mississippi, I've always known that this state has a really strong commitment to community and to helping thy neighbor. I saw it all of my life growing up, and in a crisis like this when you really, really have to count on your neighbor. You have nothing else to count on."

Faith and the Hurricane Katrina evacuees shared a special moment when they sang "Amazing Grace" together. "It was a really great moment," says Faith. "I think for that little moment in time we all kind of forgot where we were and we just sang together and praised together."
Matthew McConaughey
"My father was born down around New Orleans and one of my best personal friends in life was born in Zachary, Louisiana," says Matthew McConaughey. It just so happens that Zachary, Louisiana, population 12,000, is one of the places that has opened its arms to Hurricane Katrina evacuees. In the last seven days, the population has more than doubled.

At the Cornerstone Church in Zachary, Matthew met Lois, one of 130 displaced people. Lois felt happy and blessed to be alive, but she felt a hole in her heart because she had no idea where her family was. We were able to contact Lois's daughter by telephone.

"My expectations before coming down here were not that defined," says Matthew. "I knew what I knew from the television. I saw quite a bit of destruction. I didn't understand necessarily the scope of it. I'm still trying to digest what I think we're all going to have to digest for some time. There's so much work to do. The one thing that is pure about helping out with a tragedy like this is service. Share what you have. And that's the best way we know." Read entries from Matthew's journal, exclusively on

Matthew is committed to helping Katrina survivors.
More about the Katrina catastrophe