Chest Deep and Rising by Patrick Yoes

Chest Deep and Rising

by Patrick Yoes

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"This story conveys a moment when the future seemed out of reach, and out of control. It was a time when our world collapsed all around us. It was a time of ever-changing challenges, unspeakable horrors, and survival. Equally important, it was a time of bravery, heroic acts, and selfless devotion by America’s first responders."

– Patrick Yoes, author of Chest Deep and Rising

Chest Deep and Rising is an astonishing look at the events before, during and after the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005, from a unique point of view: a first responder in St. Charles Parish, 20 miles west of New Orleans, one of the people whose assignment was to protect life and property during extraordinary conditions.

Patrick Yoes, employed by the St. Charles Sheriff's Office since 1984, oversees the department’s Special Services Division. In 2005 he lived through 16 days of hell with Katrina. After the hurricane hit, Patrick participated in the Fraternal Order of Police relief efforts, where he helped coordinate vital services to the officers directly in the field at the height of the chaos and during the long months of recovery that followed. His involvement in the emergency services and recovery efforts in his parish and the surrounding area included taking part in a courageous rescue operation at the notorious Convention Center and delivering supplies to the law enforcement officers watching over the worst-impacted, most dangerous areas.

The book takes the reader through the 16 days of his and his fellow officers’ journey, from shortly before the hurricane struck Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and traveled 120 miles inland—devastating an area about the size of England—to the time when he felt they had turned the corner in New Orleans. He also explores the reasons for the failures in emergency preparedness, the impact of Hurricane Rita, and what needs to be done for the future. 

After receiving a detailed personal account of the period from a friend, Yoes wrote Chest Deep and Rising as a way of recalling his own experiences, as a keepsake for his family and grandchildren, and as therapy. He also wrote it to encourage others to tell their own stories. While he humbly states that many thousands of first responders carried out thousands of selfless and heroic acts during that period, his own story is a compelling, gripping, human read, told in meticulous detail with occasional flashes of his own anger and fear. Chest Deep and Rising will make you cry, make you angry, and even, from time to time, make you laugh.

Whether you were stuck on the outside, helplessly watching the events unfold on television, or living through the nightmare of Katrina yourself, Chest Deep and Rising is a deeply important read, capturing a momentous, horrifying but also inspiring time in US history.

A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to the Fraternal Order of Police Charitable Foundation, which is responsible for a wide range of worthy causes, including the Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service in Washington, DC, and the FOP Disaster Relief Fund. For additional information on this foundation, visit 

Patrick Yoes

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