Narratives told by Hurricane Katrina survivors to fellow survivors in the wake of the disaster share some signal traits with belief legends as understood by Linda Dégh and Max Lüthi, as well as with hero legends as described by Wilhelm Grimm and exemplified in such ancient epics as Gilgamesh and The Iliad. Echoing contemporary belief legends, survivor narratives project a sense of purgatorial endlessness through which the overwhelming power of the storm continues unabated and the survivors remain helpless victims. At the same time, echoing legends through which godlike heroes unlearn divinity, survivor narrators depict themselves as disappearing heroes: refusing to acknowledge their own courageous acts, they identify heroism in their fellow survivors and, in the process, meld their individual identities with that of the surrounding community. In the resultant hybrid story-world, individuals gain strength only by surrendering it and can keep only what they give away. The legendary hero ultimately dissolves into the surrounding community.

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