Louisiana Survivors Tell Tales of Katrina

The struggle is far from over for many who survived Katrina's wrath. Thousands of evacuees are being discouraged from returning to their flooded homes. Some of the people affected by the storm tell Morning Edition their stories.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Beth Norris is director of women and child services at the East Jefferson General Hospital, where babies continue to come into the world.

Ms. BETH NORRIS (East Jefferson General Hospital): We've had about five babies born. A couple of them did go to the NICU, which were transported out this morning. The remaining babies are doing fine, and probably would be ready for discharge by tomorrow, if it wouldn't be--they had somewhere to go.

MONTAGNE: That was Beth Norris in New Orleans.

Now a few more people who are living through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Ms. KAREN JONES (Hurricane Victim): My name is Karen Jones. I live in Metairie, Louisiana. It's scary because I've only got like $80 to my name. My job and my bank and everything like that is all in New Orleans. I've pretty much been promised that when everything is clear I'll have my job back, which is fine. But for months I don't know what I'm going to do.

Mr. ALVIE LINSEY(ph) (Hurricane Victim): My name is Alvie Linsey. I live in uptown New Orleans, three blocks off the Mississippi River. My mother passed away on Thursday before the hurricane and we're unable to get in touch with the funeral home. We've got my mother basically lying in state right now waiting for us to bury her.

MONTAGNE: Sara Wheelock(ph) says she didn't realize how tough the adjustment would be for her son.

Ms. SARA WHEELOCK (Hurricane Victim): He said he wanted to go take a nap and he pulled the covers over his head and he started crying, and he was afraid our house had been blown to bits and, you know, he wanted to go home and he started pounding his fists on the bed. And I realized that he had been absorbing everything around him and that it was wrong not to talk to him about it. So we talked about it and I explained to him that we couldn't go home for a long time, that New Orleans was under water. And he was very interested, of course, being a five-year-old boy and the soldiers with the big guns on the street. And we tried to explain it to him, and now he seems better.

Ms. SARAH DAVIS (Hurricane Victim): My name's Sarah Davis. I'm from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My grandmother lives in Gulfport and, after the storm went through Gulfport, she called and wanted us to come get her because she was out of power and didn't have any running water. It's normally a two-hour trip. It took us over four hours to get there. Then when we got to Gulfport, everything was just demolished. Most of the houses, the roofs were lifted off of them. My grandmother, she's terrified and we're going to try to convince her that she doesn't need to move back there at all.

MONTAGNE: Darren Irby(ph) is with the Red Cross.

Mr. DARREN IRBY (Red Cross): We talked to a family yesterday that literally you could hold their entire house in the palm of your hands, just because it was complete splinters. And there was one apartment complex that was up on stilts, and all of the cars had been parked underneath it, and they say that two feet of water will move a car, so you can imagine what 25 and 30 feet will do. It moved it looked like maybe 25 or 30 cars, and it just slammed it upside a building, and it kind of looked like someone had crushed aluminum cans, and so you couldn't even make the model of the car out.

MONTAGNE: Darren Irby is with the Red Cross.

A digest of hurricane news from the Gulf Coast is at our Web site, npr.org, along with a slide show of photographs from the area.

This is NPR News.

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