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Story Corps

Alvin McFadden

Alvin McFadden lived his entire life in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. He survived all types of threats, but Hurricane Katrina was different. It changed Alvin’s life forever.

As a young boy, Alvin remembers fishing and hunting near his home in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. It was part of life growing up there. Another part of living in a neighborhood below sea level, in a coastal city, is the real fear of storm surges from the Gulf. Over the years, hurricanes threatened his home. Alvin remembers the experience of surviving Hurricane Betsy in 1965. The Category 3 storm forced water over the levees into his neighborhood, so flooding was something he had witnessed first hand. When Hurricane Katrina churned in the Gulf, Alvin like many others, felt like the storm would turn away at the last minute, but that didn’t happen. Once it was clear the big storm was heading directly toward the Crescent City, Alvin tried to evacuate but it was too late. He was forced to hunker down with relatives as Katrina devastated his world. Alvin eventually evacuated to Houston and he remains hopeful that his home town will recover, but he’s not sure his old neighborhood will. He says the devastation is too deep and he feels like the Lower 9th Ward will never be like it was prior to Katrina.

For more information or if you would like to tell your story to KUHF, contact Paul Pendergraft at


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