Lt. Gina Holland, a sheriff’s detective in St. Bernard Parish, near New Orleans, tells USA Today how the experience of dealing with Hurricane Katrina changed her. Holland and other deputies had reported for duty with only enough supplies and clothes for three days. “There was a 24-hour period (when) I didn’t know where my husband was,” she says. “It was the worst 24 hours.” For two weeks she lived on a cot, with provisions dwindling and toilets overflowing. Much of the city was reachable only by boat.
The ordeal has affected her deeply, she says. Gone is the heavy makeup she used to wear; now there’s only a hint. “I guess I was a little materialistic,” Holland says. “I had the Corvette, the Harley. I worked lots of hours, I don’t have kids. So I figured I could buy myself nice things.” Now, she has seen “deprivation and desperation,” says USA Today.