The Angel Network Team
In Waveland, Matthew meets an engineer who built his "hurricane-proof" dream house to withstand 160 mph winds—but despite his best efforts and the strength of steel and concrete, the builder's house is now gone. "It hurts," he says, "but you can't do anything about it. Mother nature, you know…."
Matthew is committed to helping Katrina survivors. Read entries from Matthew's journal, exclusively on Oprah.com.
"It feels really good to be out here and to be contributing," Chris says. "It's black and white, Mexican and Asian—everybody's out here together—helping to help people. This is incredible."
With a truck full of food, Chris went in search of survivors. He found about 20 families left homeless by the hurricane at Houston's Bonita Street House of Hope.
"Right here at the first stop, there were so many people with so many stories that just wanted to be heard," Chris says. "[They] just wanted to be hugged, just wanted to be listened to."
One little girl with an amazing spirit brought out a more serious side to the famous funnyman. Chris couldn't help but be reminded of his own daughters. "All you got is family," Chris says. "Think you got a house, think you got all this other stuff, but all you got is family."
Gayle meets a family who barely survived the hurricane. They blocked windows with mattresses thinking they would be protected, but as the monstrous storm pummeled Louisiana, five feet of water came rushing into their home. To escape, they were forced to climb into the attic.
"Even though I heard all the numbers—seen all the stories—its even bigger than what you imagine it to be in person," says Gayle. "You look at this damage and you wonder how anyone made it out alive."
One survivor, desperate to help, admits to "commandeering" a boat in order to rescue stranded residents.
Survivor: A friend of mine was stuck in New Orleans in the flood, and they [were] running out of food and water, and they needed some help. … I drove down to New Orleans [and] we commandeered some boats.
Gayle: What does commandeered some boats mean?
Survivor: We stole some boats—18 boats—and we rescued 300 people.
Gayle: Wow! Were you afraid, or did you just say, 'I'm gonna do something'.
Survivor: I just had to do it.
Four 18-wheelers filled with food—thanks to donations from the Angel Network—met John and Kelly at a shelter that housed many of Hurricane Katrina's evacuees.
"So many of these people have such hope and such life and such determination," Kelly says. "It's really beautiful."
First stop is a food bank, where, with the help of FedEx® and Kroger®, Lisa Marie loads a truck with groceries. Then it's time for a pit stop at Target® for toiletries and clothes. "I thought I was going to grab a couple things at the store," Lisa Marie says, "and I ended up filling up a truck. I went a little crazy."
Lisa Marie's final destination is the Grand Casino Convention Center in Mississippi to distribute the supplies to people who have lost everything. One evacuee says, "I really appreciate everything Ms. Presley is doing for us. We have nothing, so we're very grateful for everything she's doing."
"I see an emotional wave right now of 'let's do something,'" Jesse says. "But then in three months, in six months, it may be three years, we'll need a marshal plan of training, job development, rebuild your own neighborhood as the water subsides—there will be jobs to clear up New Orleans. And New Orleans, like the rest of the coast, just will not go away."
Forty-eight hours after the storm, he was on the ground with a search and rescue squad. They came across overwhelming suffering, including a family of four that had drowned inside their home.
Another body was spotted nearby, rotting in the street for two days. "The teams really can't take the bodies away at this point because there is no place to store them," Anderson says. "They put a sheet over her [and] they have taken photographs so her next of kin may be able to identify her. But they are going to leave this body here until someone can come."
"It's devastating," Anderson says. "In Waveland, the storm waters have long gone, but the waves of sorrow have just begun."
Oprah: Has FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] been here?
Keisha: No, we have yet to see them. The only FEMA we've seen are the Search and Rescue FEMA. But a relief team we have yet to see.
Oprah: Do you feel abandoned?