Local News

Katrina Victims Rebuild Life in Triangle

Posted August 30, 2007

— It has been two years since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. The storm flooded 80 percent of New Orleans and killed more than 1,600 people in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Thousands of displaced New Orleans residents chose not to rebuild after the storm. Some moved to the Triangle, seeking refuge. Leslie Huntington lives in southeast Raleigh now, but she has not forgotten the damage Hurricane Katrina did to her hometown.

“You visit it and they make it seem like New Orleans is looking good, but there are some places that's still not fixed up that needs to be repaired,” said Huntington. "It's sad. It's sad."

Huntington is still disappointed about the condition of her old New Orleans neighborhood in the Lower 9th Ward. She visited last month.

“It's the Lower 9th Ward that was really damaged, and all around in that area, it still hasn't been cleaned up. Houses are still down on the ground,” said Huntington.

Huntington and her family still remember what it was like being trapped in their home for a week after the levees broke. Her daughter, Casey, is unable to shake the memories of wading through filthy, chest-deep water to get help.

“Having water this high up to you, it hits you that this really just happened,” said Casey Huntington.

Eventually, Huntington and her family were among thousands of evacuees who left New Orleans by airplane. As it turned out, the storm made them accidental residents of North Carolina.

“Nobody knew where they were going until they boarded a plane and the stewardess told us when we got on the plane that we were boarding to North Carolina,” said Huntington.

Huntington and her family spent about a month in a Raleigh shelter before finding a permanent home.

She does not see the rest of her family as often as she would like, Huntington said , but she has no plans to move back to New Orleans.


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  • jgirl5830 Aug 30, 2007

    Dbase, I totally agree with you on helping people that are trying to move on or those that got hammered by the insurance company, but the thing is they get shadowed by the parasites with their hands out all time, the gov't cant write a blank check.

  • Dbase Aug 30, 2007

    Honestly Jgirl, the point that you and others are trying to make does not apply to all. My thing is about those that are trying to move on. 2 yrs for many people to get on there feet is enough time just to try to build back financially. I think also, to many of us is looking at those that are not doing for themselves, i'm just speaking on those that are trying to do something, those that are trying to rebuild but (for ex) gets stopped by insurance companies because they had "hurricane coverage but not flood insurance." I'm speaking for all those people that have paid and are not getting what they have paid for in return. There are many that expect a hand out--white, black, hispanics, etc. . .But this still does not give reason for the government to be lazy as well. I just can't see myself cleaning one side of my room.

  • jgirl5830 Aug 30, 2007

    Dbase, the point that some people are trying to make is that much has been done and given to the "victims" of katrina, now its time to step out on your own and make things happen for yourself. The people that are still in trailers or wherever were living in Gov't housing in NO and thats why they havent left the trailers because again they are waiting on the Gov't to do everything for them even though the areas which they relocated to went as far as having job fairs offering them jobs on silver platters.There is no excuse unless you are old, disabled(truely disabled)etc. I remember the job fair they had in Raleigh, for katrina people, no one or I should say few showed up. They complained that they had no way of getting to there, so Fema payed for buses to take them there, the buses showd up again with few people. These people need to stop pointing fingers and look in the mirror, enough with the entitlement mentality, go get jobs and stop having kids you cant afford.

  • Dbase Aug 30, 2007

    I think that some of you have strayed from the point. The point is a hurricane hit and destroyed basically a whole city. Out of that city, only parts of it have been restored. Figure out those parts!! When you are in one section of town and no one is assisting you, its frustrating. Image being stuck on a roof for a week with a baby in hand and no food. So how is that asking for a hand out. Im not the richest of rich or the poorest of poor, but if a disaster came through and distroyed everything I have WORKED hard for, for many YEARS, I WOULD WANT MY TAX DOLLARS TO COME BACK AND ASSIST ME TOO! I built my home and family here in US, not Iraq, and to lose any of that and have people point the finger at me because I need help just goes to show how cold and callous some people are. Everybody is NOT ON WELFARE. Its sad that some are just so sick and tired of hearing about Katrina but would rather talk about Princess Diana, no wonder our government is so backwards. Morales, remember those?

  • nc1state Aug 30, 2007


    I totally agree with you, but on the flipside I don't think anyone should be sitting around waiting for the government to bail them out. I have always live by the philosophy that you have to look out for yourself or no one else will. This happens to be the problem with welfare too. Sure there are people that need it but if you are able to get out of the bed in the morning and have a normal functioning body you should be required to work. I don't have a problem providing for the sick/disabled or elderly but I do have a problem with those that get welfare because the govt owes them and they are lazy. I have seen first hand at the grocery store an individual buy groceries with a WIC and Food Stamps and then turn around and pay cash for their 40 and a pack of cigs. How right is that ?

  • Subdivisions Aug 30, 2007

    I'm glad they've moved on instead of sitting on their hands complaining about how nobody helps them.

    @ Dale - "worst natural disaster in history" is a bit dramatic. And false.

  • jgirl5830 Aug 30, 2007

    Jonp63, I agree with you, I feel like the race card has been played up to the high heavens and I'm so sick of hearing about Katrina. How much money is the U.S. Gov't supposed to hand out for one hurricane? Enough is enough, I wish this family the best of luck and I hope they can make it here but you have to try and do that on your own.

  • skinnycow Aug 30, 2007

    I wish her all the best of luck. I couldn't imagine losing everything and then having to find the strength to go on and start again. It is very disheartening and discouraging. I wish this family and all of the evacuees the most success in their endeavors.

  • Dale Aug 30, 2007

    I look at it this way, Bush (who I voted for and support) sends billions of dollars over seas for a war that will never be won, whereas the United States was hit with the worst natural disaster in history, citizens of this country were killed, suffered, and continue to suffer. I’m not saying turn your back on Iraq, but I feel your main focus first should always be your country and the people that put you in office.

  • mythoughts22 Aug 30, 2007

    i am glad they are doing okay. i am sure they will always remember what happened to them and everyone else. Good Luck & God Bless