Online UpdateEffects of Katrina Touches Hearts at Home

The torrential rains and howling winds of Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, approximately 1,500 miles away.

Although far in distance, for those with loved ones there, the impact of the hurricane stretches beyond those miles.

For Scott McVay, senior liberal arts major, the memory of what it is like to live through a hurricane haunts him still. McVay lived through Hurricane Andrew when he lived in New Orleans in 1992. In an effort to escape the direct hit, he and his family went to Baton Rouge, but ended up in the path of the hurricane.

Now his brother is living in Lake Ponchartain, La., working with the Coast Guard preparing for the damage.

"(My brother) was in an Emergency Management Meeting with a bunch of task force members and a whole lot of body bags, tens of thousands of body bags, just preparing for this," McVay said, his eyes cast towards the floor. "It's just insane because you have people down there that really heed warnings and some people who wait things out in their shrimp boats."

McVay isn't the only one who has family right in the middle of the action.

"My dad is actually a firefighter in New Orleans, so he is going in while everyone else is evacuating," said Nick Cardinale, junior English major. "I am sure he is okay; he has been in a lot of training for this moment, it's a moment we all have been afraid of for years."

Cardinale said he lived in New Orleans for his entire life, and with the whole city surrounded by water, he is waiting to see if after the storm is gone, if his house and old neighborhood will still be standing.

The damage isn't merely architectural either. More than three-quarters of a million people have lost power due to Katrina's rampage, with authorities saying it could be two months before electricity is restored to everyone, according to the Associated Press.

The lack of power has created a sense of fear for those unable to get in touch with family and friends that had to face Katrina.

"It is a really scary time right now. I have not been able to get in touch with any of my family since the storm hit, the phone lines are all down and the cell phone circuits are jammed. I know they were evacuating, but it's hard to not know for sure that they are okay," said Cory Leonard, junior construction management major who has family in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.

"I spend a lot of time worrying right now," he said.

Tara Curtis, a graduate from Conifer High school in Conifer, Colo., and freshman at Loyola of New Orleans, was only there for a short period of time before she was forced to evacuate Saturday. The shock still hasn't sunk in.

"It was 90 degrees, and there were a couple of clouds in the sky," Curtis said of the day she heard she had to leave. "It didn't seem like a hurricane was coming."

Her and her mother tried to evacuate, but were unable to find an open flight. Curtis ended up taking the back roads to Lafayette, La., with friends of her family. She could only take some of her things with her, having to leave behind photos that she fears will be destroyed.

"It's just so weird. I don't know exactly how to feel," Curtis said.

Jake Bloomberg contributed reporting to this story