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Patience is a South African penguin. She is small at roughly 6 pounds and approximately 20 inches tall; but at 24 years old, she is the "penguin in charge" of the penguin exhibit at New Orleans's Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hits, devastating the city and surrounding areas with its catastrophic winds and flooding. The aquarium is severely damaged. With no electricity or relief in sight, the temperature in the aquarium reaches dangerously high degrees, putting the penguins in peril. Patience, and the 18 other penguins, along with some of the other zoo animals, must leave their home and their favorite human, Tom, the penguin keeper. Tom drives his penguins to Baton Rouge where an airplane transfers them to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Here the penguins will recuperate and live until they can return home to New Orleans. After nine long months away from Tom and their home, the aquarium is finally restored. And Patience, who has been patient, and her penguins return to New Orleans to a cheering homecoming.