From the Superdome to Her W.Va. Home: A Katrina Odyssey


Ten years ago, Jennifer Hill was trying to figure out how she, her mother and brother could survive Hurricane Katrina.

On this week’s The Front Porch podcast, Hill tells the fascinating story of how her family fled her New Orleans apartment to find fear and chaos inside the Superdome.

But Hill also talks about the amazing camaraderie of her “Katrina family” – the people who found and supported each other as they escaped.

And she speaks about her random flight to West Virginia, and why she’s stayed here ever since.


Outside the Superdome and walkway to Convention Center during Katrina

These photos come from her “Katrina family” member Linda Veches’ Facebook profile,, Hill says: “These are the pics we took with her camera phone (back when the technology was a bit iffy). Linda was a part of the amazing survival group we formed in the later days of that week.”

And here is an email Hill sent Veches days following their landing and separating in Huntington:

There is not a day that goes by that you do not enter my thoughts, conversations and prayers. I am so fortunate to have met you and it is still hard to put into actual words what you each mean to me.

Linda, your courage, humor and extreme survival skills gave me strength.


Hill’s Katrina family

Stephanie, your calm and serene demeanor kept me still while chaos reigned around us.

Francette, your spunk, tenacity, wit and charm made our time together bearable and can I dare say enjoyable.

It is strange to some and even sometimes to me that I look a back and smile at our stay at the ‘camp.’ My best memory is Friday night, we had all cleaned up to some degree and we sitting, campfire style, discussing our future day of steak and wine and relaxation. I pray that through all the trials and tribulations this past year that at some point you were able to enjoy that dinner.

My sincerest hope is that at some point in the future we can all be together again and I will be the first to lift my glass and toast to the most courageous, brilliant and beautiful women I know.

Forgive me my lapses in communication. I was never the best pen pal but I do love you all!!!



Nicole’s sign

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An edited version of “The Front Porch” airs Fridays at 4:50 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s radio network, and the full version is available above.

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