Ten years ago, I wrote an account of Hibernia Bank’s recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita at the request of the company’s CEO, Herb Boydstun. We wanted to document the extraordinary effort by employees of Louisiana’s oldest and largest bank after those disasters. Also, because Hibernia was about to merge with Capital One, the story might serve as a final chapter in the company’s 135-year history.
I had thought it would be relatively simple to describe the rescue of this fine old company. Instead, I was overwhelmed by the accounts of personal hardship — and remarkable accomplishments — of Hibernia people. I still am today.
After this was completed in 2006, I put it away for a number of reasons, but on this 10th anniversary of those terrible events, it seemed appropriate to bring it out.
The story is largely as it was first written. I have eliminated some references and condensed portions I felt were too long. I have not attempted to update the personal accounts, which I think are the best part. I am grateful to the many people who spoke to me and offered their photographs. To the extent I have fallen short in telling their stories — and in any inaccuracies — I alone am responsible.
I will always be indebted to Charlotte Miller, my assistant (now deceased), who researched many facts; also to Bobbie Fazende, my former assistant, and Carmel Peyton and Mary Huber, for transcribing many interviews; and to Jim Lestelle, head of corporate communications, and Cathy Chessin, chief legal counsel, for making suggestions on earlier drafts. I am grateful to Steven Thorpe, of Hibernia’s corporate communications department, who took the “cover photo” of the Hibernia Tower I used at the top of this website.
My sole aim here is to honor the wonderful “Hibernians” who sacrificed so much to save their company a decade ago.
Russell S. Hoadley
Retired Chief Public Affairs Officer, Hibernia Corporation