Evacuees Remember Katrina 7 Years Later, Move Forward
Almost seven years after leaving New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina evacuees make the Fort Smith area their new home.
“This time it was different,” said Patricia Porter, an evacuee. “I sensed it was different and I wanted my family to come, but they didn’t.”
Hurricane Katrina hit the coast of Louisiana Aug. 29, 2005.
“We were supposed to have that hurricane like several years ago,” said Wilfred Jackson, an evacuee. “It’s always been a myth you know, but it finally happened. We didn’t believe and it hit.”
Jackson made the decision not to get out. Seven years later he still remembers when the water started to rise. “My mom and dad got rescued before I did,” he said. “They were only saving married couples with their youngest kids.”
Starting over is not easy. Monday night Katrina evacuees met to talk about the future. They discussed everything from voter registration to college, and benefits. “Katrina come through and give me the opportunity to come here,” said Preston Hawkins, Jr.
Hurricane Isaac is expected to make landfall later this week. “I know they better not take it for a joke or a hoax,” said Jackson.
Many of the New Orleans natives still have family back home. “I have sisters and brothers and relatives that are there trying to evacuate even as I speak to you,” said Porter.
Nearly 2,000 people died because of Hurricane Katrina. People lost everything. “I just don’t use it for an excuse anymore. It happened. You know I just move on with my life. Take it one day at a time,” said Jackson.