Five years later and we are taking a unique look on what happened during those first few days after Hurricane Katrina. Photojournalists captured the disaster, the photos becoming the first indication Katrina wasn't just a bad storm, but a disaster. Betty Nguyen has more.
As Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, as the levees broke and the waters rose, Ted Jackson took out his camera. He said he was totally unprepared.
"All I have to do is look at the pictures, and everything comes back," Jackson said.
Jackson, a photographer for the New Orleans Times Picayune, was one of the first to bring the horror of Katrina to light. One of a man pleading from his attic window.
"He sees me as the only person that is there that can possibly help," Jackson said.
Another of a family clinging to their porch.
"They said they'd been standing five hours," Jackson said.
We went back to that very spot, where the broken levees pushed the surging waters to rooftops. When Jackson shot this photo.
"There were no reports out of here yet that the 9th Ward was flooded," he said.
He said nobody knew they were there! the world did not know what was happening.
When it seemed things could hardly get worse, thousands had gathered at the New Orleans Convention Center. Jackson captured people desperate for aid.
"That's what we kept telling ourselves. It was so unbelievable. It was like the end of the world. This was the moment where I really realized that if I had a truckload of water and food, it would not help the people as much as my camera would," Jackson said.
The hurricane may have faded from the headlines, but these images remain as powerful reminders.
"Five years later, this brings you back. And without these pictures, it's very easy to forget," he said.