The Angel Network Team
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."
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.
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 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 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."
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.
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."
"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 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."
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 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."
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 Oprah.com.
Matthew is committed to helping Katrina survivors.
More about the Katrina catastrophe