Local News

Family Loses All After Katrina, But Pledges To Return To La.

Posted September 1, 2005 10:29 a.m. EDT

— Eight-year-old Annie Bellflower loves to dance, but it may be a while before she can attend dance classes again.

"I had to go," says Annie's dad.

Robert Bellflower and two of his children left Kenner, La., just outside New Orleans, the night before the hurricane.

Leaving pictures and mementos behind, they drove to his mother's home in Lee County. Bellflower says he is certain they do not have a house to which to go back.

"It makes me feel helpless and alone," Bellflower says. "Friends, family -- everything I knew for 30 years was in that small town."

It is going to be tough at first.

Bellflower and his 24-year-old son, Shannon, are painters and realize there will not be any work for a while. Bellflower's wife, who went to Lafayette because her daughter was expecting a baby, will not have a job when she returns. She used to work at a department store in New Orleans.

Knowing the storm looked bad, Bellflower brought one of his prized possessions -- his Harley Davidson -- to sell in North Carolina. He hopes the money he can make off it will help his family get an apartment in Lafayette until they can get home.

"If I have nothing down there, I still have my life and my child and if we have to start over, we have to start over," Bellflower says. "It has to be family first."

There are no second thoughts about going back.

"I love the people, the lifestyle, the food," he says.

Bellflower says they will face it together as a family. They plan to pack up their suitcases and head back toward Louisiana this weekend.

"I'm sticking with my dad," says Shannon Bellflower. "He's my best friend."