I grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I lived there from 1958-1987. During that time we rode out countless hurricanes at home. Betsy in '65, Camille in '69, Frederic in '79, and Elena in '85 were the most noteworthy although to be perfectly honest we did leave the house and go to a local shelter during Camille because it was so strong. Camille was the worst, we knew it was a really powerful storm and we had no idea if the shelter would survive. Power went out there around 8pm and we had to lie in the dark listening to wind banging stuff around on the roof and outdoors. It's scary, and the not knowing how bad it's going to get is the worst part.
I try to stay away from the windows during the worst of the storm, although with Elena it was relatively mild with only 110 MPH winds so once the radio told us that it had made landfall and was past us I knew the worst was over and peeked out the window to survey damage and see how strong the winds were.
The first thing you do is triage. You check to see where the damage is, make sure your home is safe to live in. You check for roof damage, for broken windows, for power lines down, for water and gas leaks. It's a guarantee that you're going to be without electricity for at least two weeks so you empty the refrigerator and freezer and try to cook as much as you can on the gas or charcoal grill. Making sure you have food, water, and gasoline is a priority because stores won't be open for a while and everyone is looking for those necessities. And ice, to preserve a little food and to make ice water for drinking. Keeping cool and hydrated is important in the heat and humidity during the aftermath. You work to clean your yard. Cutting and picking up limbs and leaves and twigs and pieces of damaged structure. You help your neighbors do the same thing. You just try to do whatever you have to do to try and resume a normal life.
Katrina in 2005 was a different beast. The storm surge was much higher with Katrina than even with Camille. My in-laws sought refuge with us (we were living some 300 miles from the Coast at that time) then returned home to find that their home had been under four feet of water. They had to spend a week securing the property and mitigating damage, when there's water there's mold so they had to remove carpets, furniture, the lower portion of walls, lower cabinets, clothing, blankets, everything that was submerged in the oily muddy waters. At the end of the week they came back to stay with us until power was restored, they went three or four days with no running water while they were doing all that work. I never saw a family so happy to have hot showers when they arrived back at our house after that week of work.