Most remember Hurricane Katrina through the pictures or the news footage, but Jennifer Huntley of Olympia was there.
“I’ll never forget that,” said Huntley, who was a reporter and anchor for WWL-TV in New Orleans from 2000-06.
Twelve years after the arrival of the hurricane, Huntley still remembers covering stories about those who died and neighborhoods destroyed by Katrina.
Huntley, now married with two children, teaches music and occasionally works as a freelance journalist in Olympia.
She’s had a hard time watching Tropical Storm Harvey coverage from Houston.
“The similarities, the aftermath of the storm, it’s really powerful,” said Huntley.
She hopes Katrina taught Americans regions hit by natural disasters need assistance in the short and long term.
“It’s going to be a long haul for them," said Huntley. "It’s a marathon, not a sprint for them to be able to recover.”
John Ratté remembers the devastation as well. He currently lives in Seattle, but he was born and raised in New Orleans, until Katrina forced him to leave.
“I had gotten out of New Orleans about two or three days before landfall,” he said, adding he drove all over the country staying with family and friends until settling in Seattle.
“I ended up on my buddy’s couch for a couple of weeks out here,” Ratté said.
He never left.
“You are talking to one of the luckiest guys from Katrina,” he said while recounting his story. “It was four months of anxiety but also I had a lot of support.”
He feels most for Houston residents who were also Katrina evacuees.
“I don't know if I can imagine what that's like,” he said.
Ratté explained the devastation doesn’t end when the rain stops. He said when he returned to New Orleans in October 2005, standing water basically disintegrated homes.
“It was destruction like I couldn’t fathom,” he said.