Story Corps

Jacquelyn Ruth

Jacquelyn Ruth lived three blocks from one of the New Orleans levees that failed during Hurricane Katrina. Her home was consumed by flood water, but she and her family survived.

Jacquelyn Ruth gathered 13 family members in her New Orleans home as Hurricane Katrina churned in the Gulf. Jacquelyn’s home had plenty of room with three stories. They had plenty of drinking water and food, so they felt prepared. As Katrina roared ashore, Jacquelyn says she heard what she calls “an explosion” from the direction of the levee three blocks away. In short order, flood water began lapping up on her front porch. Within a couple of hours, water began seeping in her first floor. In time, she estimated there were in excess of 20 feet of floodwater that had consumed the first two floors of her home and all the homes in her neighborhood. It was six days before they were rescued.

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