Chapter 3

Stories of Helping in the Aftermath of Katrina


  • Adele Baruch University of Southern Maine
  • Daniel Creek University of Southern Maine


The special circumstances related to helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina—both a natural disaster and a man-made catastrophe—are explored. Stories of individual, formal, and informal networks of helping, alongside stories of exploitation and despair, were shared by participants. Significant to the history of the aftermath of Katrina was the eventual formalizing of some of the informal helping networks, such as the establishment of a musician’s village and performance center in the 9th Ward of New Orleans. The theme of “doing the right thing” echoed throughout our participant interviews, as did “the chance to move beyond angry.” Stories of helping appeared to provide examples of hope to the citizens affected by the storm, as well as encouragement towards purposeful action. The stories of helping, along with participation in altruistic social networks, appear to provide a pathway to the recollection and transformation of traumatic memories.

Keywords: helping networks, man-made catastrophe, the right thing, transformation

Author Biographies

Adele Baruch, University of Southern Maine

Associate Professor and Chair of Counselor Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Daniel Creek, University of Southern Maine

Daniel Creek, MS, is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor in private practice in Portland, Maine.




How to Cite

Baruch, A., & Creek, D. (2020). Chapter 3: Stories of Helping in the Aftermath of Katrina. Narrative Works, 9(1), 43. Retrieved from