New Orleans natives in Potomac made desperate phone calls to relatives as they struggled to comprehend devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the first days of September.
At the same time, residents throughout Potomac and the county — many of whom had no direct connection to the disaster — worked to raise money, gather supplies, and prepare local shelters and homes for the displaced victims.
In Potomac Village, Grayson Gingery and Blair Umbel, students at Connelly School of the Holy Child, sold lemonade to raise money for the American Red Cross. They said they didn’t mind giving up one of their last days of summer vacation for such an important cause.
At Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, dozens of people — some parishioners, and others who just showed up — packed a 42-truck trailer with food and dry goods for the Gulf Coast victims.
Members of the Montgomery County Humane Society — including several from Potomac — went to the Gulf region to help with animal rescues there.
“New Orleans is going to be different. If and when it comes back, and to what degree it comes back,” said New Orleans native Furman Barnes of River Falls in a September interview.
“We just hope to God they don’t make it like a Disney World, where you can buy a ticket and go through, visit the French Quarter,” said Rebecca Barnes, his daughter-in-law.