Hurricane Katrina had profound effects from many perspectives: scientifically, socially and politically. Rather than be a bystander to the disaster, I chose to volunteer for the widespread clean-up in November 2005. When I returned, I submitted a first-person narrative of my experience in Mississippi that was included in a USGS publication focusing on the hurricane as a special feature. The article was rerun in the Department of Interior national newspaper. The challenge of this piece was conveying overwhelming devastation without the hyperbole in covering natural disasters.