Tag Archives: American Studies

Experiences with Hurricane Katrina

Mississippi Gulf Coast, August 2005

We were no strangers to tropical storms and hurricanes. It wasn’t every year we would see one, but nearly every year one would threaten to visit. In the early days of a tropical low pressure system, little attention is paid to their broad projected paths and wind speeds just above the limits of those found in school zones. The cyclone would start to form in the Gulf, Caribbean or Atlantic, and everyone would develop a low level pang of worry just in the back of their minds that this storm would head our way and destroy everything. Could this be it?

The moment Katrina intensified and began a track toward land was the moment all eyes became fixed. The fascination and fear of her destruction captivated. Will she be it?

First order of business: prepare for the end of the World!

The hurricane specialist announced we were most certainly in the path of an unusually colossal storm and that we should find ourselves a safe shelter in another state far away. Many took the advice of officials and did the sensible thing, evacuated. All main routes leading away from the coast became clogged with cars packed so full you couldn’t see the passengers. Some were headed East, some West and North. Many had a destination, family or friends, but many just planned to drive for as far and as long as it took to avoid the impending tragedy.

Some chose to ignore the exodus and wait out the hurricane. They either refused to believe or comprehend the possible damage predicted, were overconfident in their own ability to resist death no matter the circumstances, had no means of escape or were fascinated by the beauty of nature’s strength and longed to experience something so powerful. This was the general make up of those who stayed behind.

Then Katrina came.

She was more than all had expected. In all dimensions and directions. Though it was the height of summer, the trees all died as if it were winter. Some roads, bridges, and buildings vanished down the street, into the sea and into the forests. People vanished in these same ways. Boats rested on houses while cars were in the bay.


We found out what the world would be like without power and fresh water and for a short while, what it would be like without hope. But slowly, over many years, new bridges replaced the temporary steel ones, businesses reopened and the residents built new homes. We wouldn’t forget what it was like to have everything stripped away. Katrina was it.

by Gregory Howard

If you would like to find out more about Hurricane Katrina, here are a few books we have available in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library collection.

five days Groove Interrupted great deluge Breach Levees Broke

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WWII Film – CREW 713

We have had the son of an American airman contact us about a film he’s been making. Here are the details about this exciting film Alejandro Mena is directing in memory of his father and those who served during WW2:

CREW 713: THE MEN WHO FLEW “THE IRISHMAN’S SHANTY” is a WWII documentary film produced by Fiona Hall and directed by local Dallas filmmaker, Alejandro Mena.  Currently in production, the film is the story of Mena’s father’s B24 liberator bomber crew who flew bombing missions over Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany from their base in England in 1944.

Crew 713 Pic 3

CREW 713 was the first crew to complete a 30-mission combat tour with the bloody, violent and short-lived 492nd Bomb Group (H). The 492nd would go on to become the most devastated American heavy bomb group in WWII and was subsequently disbanded after only 89 days of combat service.  CREW 713 is Mena’s homage to his late father’s military service, a salute to the men who served in the 492nd and a glimpse into a brief window in time when the mighty 4-engine heavy bombers rained destruction down upon the Third Reich in their massive air armadas.  The producer’s goal is to educate and expand the knowledge about the Bomber Air War of WWII, specifically the contributions of the B24 Liberator bomber and the men who flew them.

Crew 713 Pic 2

The film provides a new twist on the WWII documentary genre.  CREW 713 will feature animation, re-enactments, archival footage, modern music, and interviews with 492nd veterans to tell the story of these venerable B24 liberator bomber boys.  Copies of the veteran interviews will be donated to The National Archives and to the WWII Museum in New Orleans, so that future scholars may study these men.

Crew713 Pic 1

Shanty Films LLC is still seeking sponsors to help fund the film. For more information and to contribute to their general production fund, please go to their website, www.crew713.com.

About the filmmakers:

Producer Fiona Hall served as the production manager on the 2011 Academy Award nominated film, THE ILLUSIONIST, produced by Pathe Films and directed by Sylvain Chomet.  Director Alejandro “Alex” Mena is a 20-year veteran of the Texas film and video production industry. Most recently, Mena served as director of operations for the 2014 Lone Star Film Festival & line producer on the independent film, The Last Possession.

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New 2nd Air Division E-book Collection

The 2nd Air Division Memorial Library has a new selection of e-books available! These titles are on loan through the digital library website at digitallibrary.norfolk.gov.uk.

You must also be a member of the library to borrow any of the e-books and you can join by going to Norfolk Library Joining Page.

Browse through titles such as Liberator and The Mighty Eighth in WWII

Cover of LiberatorCover of The Mighty Eighth in WWII

This new collection aims to make more of our books accessible to the public and we look forward to expanding our digital selection in the future.

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