Hurricane Katrina (August 2005)
In August 2005, the United States witnessed the most devastating hurricane to hit its shores in recent times, Hurricane Katrina. Responding to this catastrophe, the Art of Living volunteers immediately launched trauma-relief programmes. More than 400 refugees - adults and children - underwent trauma-relief workshops in Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. By March 2006, Art of Living Breath-Water-Sound workshops were offered in New Orleans full-time and it became the official organisation providing stress and trauma relief.
A team of Art of Living volunteers continues to offer Trauma Relief Programmes and follow-up programmes. In September 2005, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was invited by Mayor Will Wynn and the City of Austin to meet the evacuees of Hurricane Katrina who had transferred there following the disaster. Austin City Council Member Raul Alvarez also noted his appreciation of the Art of Living Foundation’s efforts in the relief operations in Austin. “We made a huge impact on the city of New Orleans by teaching a variety of stress reduction courses, running summer camps and working with people of all ages. It was an honour to be a part of that journey to bring peace of mind back to the lives of thousands of people.’ - Natalie Kaharick, co-ordinator, Hurricane Katrina Relief.