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-- Special edition --

September 9, 2005

'My home, my things ... it's all gone'

NASA photo

Samantha Perez

Jesus Manuel Diaz Jr.

Tattoo staff Molly Horan took the photo of Diaz; Perez provided a picture of herself.

 Fleeing Katrina

Starting the day after Hurricane Katrina stormed across the Gulf Coast, killing thousands and chasing millions from their homes, 17-year-old Samantha Perez began to tell her heartbreaking story. This is the first printed installment, but later entries are available on The Tattoo's web site by following this link.

I guess that, in the long run, my dress won’t matter much.

It was a pretty dress, though, and even though I haven’t cried yet over what’s happened, I know that when I do cry, it will be because I lost my pretty dress.  

It sounds petty, and in your minds the stereotype of this girly, popular, cheerleader will come into your head: gorgeous, blond hair with bright blue eyes, nice makeup, with long eyelashes that never have tears on them to mess up mascara.  

That’s not the person I am.  I’m not pumped full of estrogen. I’m not a cheerleader. I don’t have blond hair. But, I will miss my dress….  

-- Samantha Perez

 Staying behind in New Orleans

Monday morning, Katrina arrived. All of us were at the hotel. My mother and I were on the 20th floor when it came.

The hurricane was so strong that the windows just shattered in every room. We both ran out of the room – my mother praying – but the storm just got stronger.

The hallway was so scary. One of the doors just flew open from the force of the wind, which was trying to suck it out the window.

It felt like we were in a black hole.


-- Jesus Manuel Diaz, Jr

To contact Diaz or Perez, please send an email to The Tattoo

Click here to see how this page looks in print

Donate to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts::
American Red Cross
800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English
800-257-7575 Spanish

America's Second Harvest


 Operation Blessing



Donate and Volunteer:

Adventist Community Services

Catholic Charities, USA

Christian Disaster Response
941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee

Church World Service

Convoy of Hope

Lutheran Disaster Response

Mennonite Disaster Service

Nazarene Disaster Response

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Salvation Army
800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769)

Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief
800-462-8657, ext. 6440

United Methodist Committee on Relief

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