Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Six Months After Katrina: A Family Reflects

For years, lifelong New Orleans residents Selwyn and Chiquita Smith saved their money to buy a new home for their family. They were just about to move into their new home when Hurricane Katrina arrived, destroying the home they lived in and damaging the new one.

The Smiths left the city and ended up at a small Atlanta hotel packed with other evacuees. Together with their three children -- Kionte, 14, Selwyn Jr., 12, and Tremaine, 10 -- they began an odyssey.

Reporter Joshua Levs followed the family's story as they managed to find their relatives -- whom they feared had died in the storm -- and began a new life in McKinney, Texas, just north of Dallas. Levs has reported on each twist and turn in the saga through the series "One Family’s Katrina Odyssey."

Now, six months after the storm, NPR asked each member of the Smith family to share how his or her life has changed. Read their reflections below.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Joshua Levs