Local News

Family Starts Over In Wake Forest After Katrina's Aftermath

Posted September 2, 2005

— Several members of a New Orleans family who lost their homes and jobs are starting over in the Triangle and setting up a new home in Wake Forest.

They are a bus driver, hairstylist, tile layer and caretaker -- all hardworking citizens from New Orleans who have nothing to which they can go back.

"We lost everything," says Tyeast Banks, who along with eight other family members, is staying with an aunt, Charlain Taylor, in Wake Forest. A total of 20 are expected within days.

Taylor's main concern right now, she says, is how to get her 100-year-old grandmother, who is stuck in Cleveland, Miss. -- where she evacuated to before the hurricane -- to North Carolina. She is bedridden with a broken leg and her caretakers do not think she could make the long drive after what she's already been through.

"That's what's keeping me in a knot," Taylor says.

With piles of clothes and air mattresses, things will be tight at her home for a long while. But this will be home for the family.

The kids will enroll in school.

"I don't want them to sit around all day and watch this," says their father, Chris Banks. "It's horrific, traumatizing."

The adults say they do not plan to sit around, either.

"We are going to look for jobs --whatever it takes to get on our feet," Tyeast Banks says.

They are not even certain if they will ever go back to New Orleans.

Chris Banks knows they have to take things day by day.

Even without their homes, though, they are thankful for what they have -- and for their aunt.

"This is a beautiful situation right here," Chris Banks says. "We've got to make the best of it."

With a total of nine homes lost in her family, Taylor knows her crowded house is not so bad.

"We look at the Superdome and Interstate 10 and the Astrodome," she says. "This is the Ritz-Carlton compared to that."

Once everyone arrives, those staying in the house will range in age from 5 to 100 years old.


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