Hurricane Katrina ... A Retrospective

In commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we pay tribute on this page to the many people who came to the aid of The Pro Bono Project in the days after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of our beloved City.

We recount some of the many stories from the moment when we realized that both our clients and our volunteers were spread across the country, as was our entire population, right up until the present day.

While Hurricane Katrina is long gone, the aftermath still lingers on.

From My Perspective: A Law Professor Creates Her Own Domestic 'Peace Corps' Volunteering At The Pro Bono Project

In the Spring of 2008, Professor Susan Waysdorf of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), David A. Clarke School of Law took a six month sabbatical to work at The Pro Bono Project.

She had come on several previous trips with UDC law students prior to this time and felt called to devote more time, expertise and effort to helping The Project rebuild the lives of the many underserved residents of this community. Displaced by Katrina, they were in desperate need of pro bono civil legal services to return home, a fact that became more evident as time passed.

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Hurricane Katrina: The Aftermath

It was August 29, 2005 when the winds howled, the rain came and panic ensued – a lady named Katrina blew through like a woman scorned. When it was over, the City of New Orleans was underwater and news headlines around the world told the story of ‘the perfect storm,’ which had once been predicted only in ‘what if’ scenarios. In its wake, it exposed the many tiny cracks in the façade of our charming city in very ugly ways. But in true Mardi Gras fashion, the parade must roll … and so the recovery and rebirth began.

In the aftermath, The Pro Bono Project (The Project), like most of the non-profits in the City, was heavily affected by this ‘perfect storm.’ Staff, clients and volunteer attorneys were spread far and wide across the United States. The court system in the city was in a state of suspension, as were most businesses and governmental entities, save the Mayor’s office and the Federal officials that poured in to survey the damage and put a number on the cost to rebuild.

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Law Students To The Rescue

Some of the ‘first responders’ to arrive in New Orleans to help The Pro Bono Project were law students. Among the many law schools who sent students and professors early on to support The Project in rebuilding were the University Of North Carolina (UNC) and the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). UNC was the first to arrive thanks to one young man, Tim Goodson, who was a native New Orleanian and had worked at The Project as an intern in 2003 – his first year in Law School. Tim, who now resides in San Francisco, shared his thoughts about the first trip down. By the way, Tim’s parents are still in New Orleans and so he does come home often – the last time for 2015 French Quarter Fest.

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Hurricane Katrina Honor Roll

While we want to acknowledge all who came to support The Pro Bono Project following Katrina, please note that this is not a complete list as some of the data from the firms and law schools who came during the height of the crisis has been lost. We are grateful to all who came and wish to acknowledge the total sum of the work done by all, whether included here or not.

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