I live on the MS Gulf Coast where Katrina hit. I didn't move here until after the storm but everyone I know lost something and many lost it all and some still are living in campers and trailers. When you are faced with losing everything big and small I think you go thru a grieving process and it comes and goes sometimes its not so bad and sometimes its overwhelming but you get thru it one day at a time which I know is cliché but tis very true. My neighbors of some of the best people I have ever met and if I had faced all they have been thru I don't know that I could have done it with the grace and poise they have. I love it here and no matter what the weather brings we will be staying.
As for how you prepare you have all the most important things in 1 rubbermaid tote and thats what you take besides clothes its best to keep it where its easy to access.Keep copies of pictures on CD's and backup your hard drive and keep copies also keep your tax returns insurance papers deeds birth certificates all car titles a copy of any important # a copy of each utility bill with their phone # and your account# so you can have it and anything that cannot be replaced in there. You cant rest on having them in a safe as high winds and water will carry them off and sometimes. Also you cant count on being able to get new copies of anything there are places down here where all records were lost to the storm and it was a real hardship for some people trying to "prove" who they were or where they were. Also another good thing to do is a video or picture inventory so forbid you lose everything its hard to remember all the little stuff you might need to turn into the insurance companies.
If you google disaster preparedness there are lots of good tips as to how much of what you should have on hand per person. Batteries propane and food/water are the most important and make sure you have all medications refilled there were some serious issues here with that one!