Katrina Survivor’s Message of Hope for Hurricane Sandy Victims

With all the recent devastation from hurricane Sandy, I thought it appropriate to have my friend and colleague, Dr. Alsop–a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma related disorders–prepare a post on her experiences dealing with the lasting emotional effects from hurricane Katrina. Here’s what she had to say:

As a proud New Orleans resident, I have been concerned and worried as I watch the news on Hurricane Sandy. I have seen the photos of devastation and know that the Northeast is really in need of support at this time. My thoughts are with everyone up there as they face this challenge and all of the aftermath.

I grew up in the South, and lost my home and many belongings in Hurricane Ivan and spent a year living on the couches of friends’ and family’s homes as I waited for the house to be rebuilt. I remember feeling frustrated, sad, and mostly unsettled. Much of my family was displaced from their homes and the city of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. I had moved to Maryland the week before the storm hit, and felt terribly helpless and scared watching from afar and hearing about the news and slow progress from loved ones. I know the experience well of wondering if your city will ever be the same and mourning the loss of normalcy as recovery begins… because New York, Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Vermont, Pennsylvania and all of the Northeast and tropical areas affected, from the islands of Cuba and the Dominican Republic, to rural, small towns and the large, bustling cities, YOU WILL recover. Things will not ever be the same, as is the case with any major event impacting so many people. Such natural disasters—traumas—are scars on the human soul; with time those scars will lighten and look different than they do now, but they will always be visible in certain light.

As a clinical psychologist, I specialize in working with those that have survived traumas, from long-term, prolonged relational traumas to massive, natural disaster traumas. My experiences living in the South, and knowing what it is like to sit without power and hope that everything will be okay has left me well-acquainted with the multitude of feelings and reactions that such events can bring. I hope those that are struggling now and find themselves further affected in the future, will seek needed help from a family member, a trusted friend, and a mental health professional. Coping with trauma can be a challenge, but there are ways that can lead to alleviation of the pain, and people that can help guide you in that direction.

For those that suffer from addictions, whether it is to substances, or other compulsive behaviors that harm the self, I hope that you will speak up about your emotional experiences, reaching out for the first time to others or following plans to contact supports in particularly difficult times of urges or impulses. You are not in this alone.

Here is a list of resources for those needing support from this devastating storm:

Dr. Megan Alsop
2901 N. I-10 Service Rd E, Ste 300
Metairie, Louisiana 70002
phone: 504-780-1702

Dr. Megan Alsop is a Louisiana licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in trauma-related disorders, including Posttraumatic Stress, Acute Stress, Dissociative Identity, and dissociative disorders. Upon completing her formal education and training at Loyola University in Maryland, she returned to her storm-battered city of New Orleans to help people rebuild their lives and recover. She works with those experiencing depression, anxiety, difficulty controlling thoughts and worry, grief, relationship issues and more. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Dr. Alsop and the great work she’s doing in New Orleans please visit:





  1. What a wonderful post. It is indeed a scar to the soul. We went without power for 2 days. We had food but I didn’t want to eat. We didn’t have any heat so we sat around 13 candles spread across the coffee table. I don’t ever want to go through anything like that again.

    • I know exactly how you feel. My family and I lost our roof during hurricane Ivan in 2004. We had lots of water damage and lost many things with sentimental value like family pictures. We were out of power for nearly a month! It was very hot and extremely uncomfortable, especially when it started raining again b/c we had no roof! The only positive was the extraordinary communal effect that resulted from the trauma. Friends were helping friends, neighbors were helping neighbors. Everyday a group of us would go door to door assessing other houses’ damage and seeing what we could fix to help out in the short term. I got to know people I probably wouldn’t have otherwise ever talked to. It was great! It was like we were a little village, isolated from the rest of the country, living without power, helping one another. Sometimes I think I would’ve like to live in the pre-industrial era. Everything was simpler back then. Anyway, I’m rambling. Good luck to you. I hope you and your town can recover quickly.

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