Memories of Mango Sorbet, Jazz Fest and Katrina After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the lives of Antoinette Franklin and her niece, Iriel Franklin, were changed forever. Now relocated to Texas, the Franklin ladies keep alive the memory of their hometown with hopes of returning in the future.
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Memories of Mango Sorbet, Jazz Fest and Katrina

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Memories of Mango Sorbet, Jazz Fest and Katrina

Memories of Mango Sorbet, Jazz Fest and Katrina

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JOHN YDSTIE, host:

This week from StoryCorps, traveling the country and collecting your stories, we hear from 60-year-old Antoinette Franklin and her niece, 23-year-old Iriel Franklin. They survived Hurricane Katrina. Their family relocated from New Orleans to Stafford, Texas, just outside Houston.

When StoryCorps visited Houston earlier this year, Antoinette and Iriel spoke about life now and life back then.

Ms. IRIEL FRANKLIN: What was your hardest day after the hurricane?

Ms. ANTOINETTE FRANKLIN: When we went to Darrow, Louisiana and my mother and my Aunt Mabel broke down. They are the matriarchs. They are the strong women of the family. They are the ones that everybody depended on. And when they realized that everything that they had worked for all their lives was taken away from them, that was very, very painful. But I want to know from you, how about your hardest day?

Ms. I. FRANKLIN: My hardest day was not knowing where you guys were or where my father was, because not being able to know where your loved ones are...

Ms. A. FRANKLIN: Okay, it's all right. It's painful.

Ms. I. FRANKLIN: Yeah. What has been the hardest decision that you had to make?

Ms. A. FRANKLIN: The hardest decision is staying here, okay?

Ms. I. FRANKLIN: Yeah.

Ms. A. FRANKLIN: Because I really miss so much about New Orleans. You know, I miss my daddy's pink and yellow roses, playing tambourine at St. Monica's Holy Hill Gospel Choir, snowball stands...

Ms. I. FRANKLIN: Yes.

Ms. A. FRANKLIN: ...mango sorbet at the jazz fest...

Ms. I. FRANKLIN: Oh, yeah.

Ms. A. FRANKLIN: ...the Mardi Gras. Oh, I miss the Mardi Gras. And the house my daddy built with his heart and hands.

Ms. I. FRANKLIN: What are your hopes for the future?

Ms. A. FRANKLIN: You know, I'd love to have a nervous breakdown myself, but everybody else has taken their turn before me, so I won't be able to for quite a while. I'm hoping that we'll be able to go home.

Ms. I. FRANKLIN: What have you learned from all of this?

Ms. A. FRANKLIN: I've learned that love and family and faith are more important than anything in the whole world. I used to say it, but now I've experienced it.

Ms. I. FRANKLIN: This situation has made me grow so much because I was always the little girl, the one that was being taken care of.

Ms. A. FRANKLIN: Well, you had to really step up, and I'm very, very proud of you because this has been trying, you know? But we're up to the test, and I thank you for being on this battlefield with me. I couldn't have asked for a better partner and a better niece. I love you very, very, very much.

Ms. I. FRANKLIN: I love you, too.

(Soundbite of music)

YDSTIE: Hurricane Katrina survivors Iriel Franklin and her Aunt Antoinette. Their interview will be archived, along with all StoryCorps interviews, at the Library of Congress. Subscribe to the StoryCorps podcast at npr.org.

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