NEW ORLEANS -- Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air/Ground Task Force Katrina planted their boots in New Orleans Sept. 3 to react to Louisiana’s natural disaster. Only a one day later, the SPMAGTF grew a branch in eastern New Orleans, which became the new home of 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment and 4th Amphibious Assault Battalion.The Marines are shacking up at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility with just enough service support, including mechanics and communicators, to conduct regular patrols into assigned sectors of the city in search of survivors and maintain operations in the rear. The convenient combination of the Assault Amphibian Vehicles with grunts in tow makes almost any search and rescue mission within the capabilities of the teams. Each day, a convoy of AAV’s takes to the streets of New Orleans to primarily recover evacuees and provide humanitarian assistance. All personnel pulled from the wreckage are turned over to civilian authorities to be further evacuated from Katrina’s damage. The Marines are also continuously working to improve the surrounding area through clean-ups and minute rebuilding efforts.The deployment of United States Marines and activation of reserve units is part of a federally-sanctioned program to provide humanitarian assistance to thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina.