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Narrators

A high school student and several proud grandmothers, new volunteers and seasoned social workers, the women of the New Orleans Jewish community each reacted to the devastation of Katrina in her own way.

Lainie Breaux

Lainie Breaux

Having just given birth days before the storm, Lainie Breaux was focused on the needs of her new baby in the chaos of evacuation.
Sally Bronston

Sally Bronston

A high school freshman, Sally Bronston had to grow up fast, taking on new responsibilities for her family and community.
Deena Gerber

Deena Gerber

As executive director of the Jewish Family Service, Deena Gerber helped survivors navigate New Orleans’s shattered infrastructure and access social services after the storm.
Jackie Gothard, 2013

Jackie Gothard

A third-generation New Orleans native and the first female president of Congregation Beth Israel, Jackie Gothard worked tirelessly to restore the synagogue and bring the community back together.
Susan and Bill Hess

Susan Hess

A lover of animals and the natural world, Susan Hess helped the Louisiana SPCA and City Park raise funds and plan their recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Lis Kahn

Lis Kahn

A Danish immigrant, Lis Kahn lost many of her keepsakes from her first life in the storm.
Ruth Kullman, 2013

Ruth Kullman

As president of Touro Synagogue, Ruth Kullman focused on keeping her community together after Katrina.
Susan Levitas

Susan Levitas

As a folklorist, Susan Levitas had a special appreciation for the unique beauty of New Orleans culture.
Sandy Levy

Sandy Levy

Having fought for decades to preserve the architecture of New Orleans, Sandy Levy was uniquely suited to help the city rebuild after the storm.
Julie Wise Oreck

Julie Wise Oreck

A fifth-generation New Orleans native, Julie Wise Oreck struggled to accept her community scattering in the wake of Katrina.
Bluma Rivkin

Bluma Rivkin

Bluma Rivkin’s experiences of the devastation of Katrina and the struggles to rebuild were profoundly shaped by her humor, her compassion, and her work as a shlucha (Chabad emissary).
Lonnie Zarum Schaffer

Lonnie Zarum Schaffer

When leadership squabbles threatened to shut down her synagogue after Katrina, Lonnie Zarum Schaffer stepped up and turned the disaster into an opportunity for change and growth.
Madalyn Schenk

Madalyn Schenk

An education reformer who helped spearhead preschool programs for NCJW and United Way, Schenk focused her attention after Katrina on rebuilding schools.
Florence Schornstein with Sandra Day O'Conner, 1985

Florence Schornstein

As director of New Orleans’s Parks and Parkways Department, Florence Shornstein mobilized the community to replant the lush greenery that helped define the city.
Donna Sternberg

Donna Sternberg

Donna Sternberg, who had helped found the first local Federation in Baton Rouge after the Six Day War, used her fundraising experience to quickly mobilize national aid efforts to save her community after Hurricane Katrina.
Sara Stone, 2012

Sara Stone

Sara Stone was ninety years old at the time of Hurricane Katrina, and her experience of the storm was tempered by a lifetime of helping the city weather hard times.
Roselle Ungar

Roselle Ungar

Roselle Ungar used new technologies to keep her scattered community together during the evacuation, and her wry humor to keep herself sane despite the upheaval.
Miriam Waltzer, cropped

Miriam Waltzer

Miriam Waltzer, a retired judge who had spent her career working to improve the lives of others, found it difficult to be on the receiving end as a refugee in need of aid.
Carol Wise with Roswell Weil

Carol Wise

In her work with United Way, Carol Wise worked intensively to restore childcare facilities and rebuild playgrounds throughout New Orleans.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Narrators." (Viewed on December 15, 2017) <https://jwa.org/communitystories/katrina/narrators>.

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