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Houston's Hurricane Katrina response focus of Houston History magazine panel

Oct. 6 discussion panelists include former Mayor Bill White and meteorologist Neil Frank

aTen years ago, Hurricane Katrina battered the city of New Orleans, unleashing a stream of events that left the city flooded, hundreds of people dead and thousands of residents scrambling for survival. As the Crescent City struggled to recover, Houston became a haven for evacuees. 

To commemorate the devastating disaster and Houston’s response, a panel of distinguished leaders will assemble at the University of Houston to reflect on how the city and its citizens provided assistance during the storm and its aftermath.

Houston History magazine will present “Houston’s Helping Hand: Remembering Katrina” at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 in UH’s Student Center Ballroom East (Entrance 1 off Calhoun Road).

Panelists include former Mayor Bill White, former director of the National Hurricane Center Neil Frank and director of Houston Emergency Medical Services David Persse. Joining these panelists will be Joe Pratt, Houston History editor-in-chief and UH Cullen Professor of History and Business, and Diana Rodriguez of the Houston Fire Department.

This event is free for the public and presented in conjunction with the annual Gulf Coast Reads program, a regional initiative focused on promoting the simultaneous reading or listening to a selected title by those living along the upper Texas Gulf Coast.

In October, Gulf Coast Reads presents events connected to the book “The Promise” by UH alumna Ann Weisgarber, who will discuss her research on the 1900 hurricane that destroyed Galveston island as part of the panel.

The panel complements Houston History’s post-Katrina coverage presented in a 2014 edition of the magazine. Free copies of this issue – also titled “Houston’s Helping Hand: Remembering Katrina” – will be available at this event. To RSVP for the event and receive a free copy of this publication, contact Debbie Harwell at

Houston History spotlights the people and events that have shaped the fourth largest city in America. The magazine is published each fall and spring by the Center for Public History at UH. Each summer, Houston History delivers a digital issue to audiences. Recent articles have explored activism in Houston, the Third Ward’s Hayes Family, the history of the city’s Pride Parade and the origins of the Houston Holocaust Museum. To learn more about Houston History, visit its website.

-        By Mike Emery