Memories Of Katrina Last In Louisiana Town
LIANE HANSEN, host:
On Sunday morning, August 28th, the day before Katrina made landfall, meteorologists announced that it was a Category 5 hurricane. At 2:00 Eastern time, we reached Eric Blake of the National Weather Service.
Mr. ERIC BLAKE (National Weather Service): If people haven't evacuated, it has a high potential to cause a serious loss of life if people do not get out of the way of this hurricane.
HANSEN: Is it shaping up to be a historic storm?
Mr. BLAKE: It very well could be. It's the most significant threat that this area has seen since Hurricane Camille in 1969.
HANSEN: He was right.
Terrebonne Parish was one of the many areas that was hit hard. Home to Cajuns, blue bayous and oystermen, its biggest city is Houma, Louisiana, where life is measured in hurricanes. Only weeks after Katrina struck, we traveled there to meet three generations of the Voisin family, owners of Motivatit Seafoods.
We drove to Houma to pick up Steve Voisin, and headed south along the bayou towards the Gulf and the family's oyster beds.
Mr. STEVE VOISIN (Motivatit Seafoods): Oh Lord, look at this over here. Is that a cow?
HANSEN: Dead cows and massive amounts of debris choked the bayou. The windows of the houses across the road were coated with a chocolate pudding-like mud. I couldn't imagine how to clean that up. But the people I met were resilient and already talking about Mardi Gras.
We returned to Houma a month later to check in with the Voisins. Kevin Voisin drove us back to the oyster beds, which were beginning to recover. And it looked like a miracle had taken place along the road by the bayou. Yards were cleaned up and houses were repaired.
Mr. KEVIN VOISIN (Motivatit Seafoods): Eight generations of living in south Louisiana doesn't come easy. Hurricanes make us who we are. And it's hard. It's no fun, you know, sandbagging all day. But once it's rebuilt, it's better and people are better. People are nice here because you never know when you have to sleep at your neighbors or when your neighbors are going to be the ones to save you from your rooftop.
HANSEN: Today, the residents of Houma, Louisiana are dealing with a different kind of disaster - massive amounts of oil that spilled into the Gulf from the damaged BP rig. But from what I know about the people of Terrebonne Parish, they'll persevere.