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Life Slowly Returning To Normal For Relocated New Orleans Family

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RALEIGH, N.C. — They lost their home -- but not their spirit.

A family from New Orleans is building a new home here in Raleigh.

WRAL has been following their story ever since they evacuated here during Hurricane Katrina.

The 20 members of one family were all staying with an aunt in Wake Forest.

But they are starting to branch out. It's a sign of normalcy: Gennard is on the phone with his new girlfriend. Arriane is on the computer. And Christina is on the floor playing.

"I'm grateful to have somewhere where I have a little room to get around," says Tyeast Banks, the mother of the family.

The Bankses have moved out of Chris's aunt's home and into a two-bedroom apartment. The girls are in one room. Gennard is in another and for now, mom and dad are sleeping on the pullout couch.

"I just want to move on and this is a start," says Tyeast Banks.

They're starting from scratch. They recently went back to their home in New Orleans and were only able to salvage a few pair of shoes. Well wishers in Wake County donated food, clothes and furniture.

"Ya'll are just so friendly down here," says seventh-grader Arianne Davis.

They've felt welcome in Wake County, but there are still many challenges. Despite his search, Chris has yet to find a job.

"I was working and then all of a sudden you are not working and you find a lot of dead ends. It gets frustrating, but you know, you got to keep plugging at it," says Chris Banks.

Just Thursday, Tyeast was hired as a caregiver for Alzheimer's patients -- that's the same thing she was doing in New Orleans.

"I just got a job, I'm just so grateful and happy for that," Tyeast Banks said.

It's a process they are taking day by day. Money's tight. Still, with all the presents they've received, they can't help but already be in the Christmas spirit.

Tyeast Banks has still not heard from her younger sister and her two children. She is hopeful they are alive but despite all Bank's efforts, she's been unable to locate them.


Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Rod Overton, Web Editor

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