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Sivi Domango, 44, was the Dean of Students/Assistant Principal at the New Orleans Charter Middle School in New Orleans when she heard reports of Hurricane Katrina’s imminent landfall. She and her family didn’t pay it much mind at first, even her mother, who after surviving an earlier hurricane, was extra cautious.

Eventually, though, everyone in Domango’s family except her mother, aunt and nephew, fled to Baton Rouge, while her mother stayed behind with family at an apartment building on high ground.

But when the city flooded, they had to be rescued. Domango remained in the River Center shelter in Baton Rouge, an entertainment facility converted for the purpose, while her mother, fleeing the storm with her sister and Sivi’s dog, Princess, was relocated to Amarillo, Texas.

Because of the storm, Domango lost communication with her mother for a week. Once in the shelter, residents there had little contact with the outside world except for a sole TV where they picked up bits and pieces of information that revealed the bad news for many: that their lives, homes and neighborhoods had been destroyed.

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