A Year of Struggle for a Hurricane Rita Evacuee One year ago on Friday, Hurricane Rita devastated areas of Texas and Louisiana -- adding insult to injury to many areas already devastated by Hurricane Katrina. One of those forced to flee was Carolyn Brantley, who left her home in Groves, Texas, when the hurricane hit. She is still struggling to rebuild her life.
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A Year of Struggle for a Hurricane Rita Evacuee

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A Year of Struggle for a Hurricane Rita Evacuee

A Year of Struggle for a Hurricane Rita Evacuee

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Ms. CAROLYN BRANTLEY (Hurricane Rita Evacuee): My name is Carolyn Brantley and I live in Groves, Texas. This is the sound of our new front door.

(Soundbite of door knocking)

ALEX COHEN: Last year, Carolyn Brantley fled as Hurricane Rita approached.

Ms. BRANTLEY: I've lived in Groves for 34 years - my husband and I. When we were allowed to come back after Hurricane Rita, when we opened our back door, our roof had blown off, it was on the driveway.

We opened the backdoor, ceiling tiles, water, mold - the different colors of mold. I never knew they had blue and black and orange and green and white - hanging everywhere, growing off the walls, and buckled floors. Everything was on the ground - wet, ruined.

My husband immediately got a shovel and a wheelbarrow and shoveled everything out the backdoor. We had drawings from our kids - our grandkids - little cards, pictures. They can never be replaced.

We've been in this house of 30 years. We were thinking this was going to be our retirement home. Not anymore. We have to start over.

Right now we are living in a trailer in the backyard. It's hard. The stress is getting to both of us. And we're going to get a house eventually, but you know, the upkeep - you know, the utilities and everything will be more than what we had.

And you know, at this time in your life - he's 62 and wanted to retire and thinking, you know, even though we didn't have much, it was ours and - it was ours, you know?

People asked me if I'm excited about getting a new house. No, I'm not. I liked what we had. I was comfortable with what we had. This is going to be nice, but you know, it's not what we had.

(Soundbite of music)

MIKE PESCA, host:

Carolyn Brantley talking about the damage done by Hurricane Rita to her home in Groves, Texas. Her story was produced by NPR's Alex Cohen.

(Soundbite of music)

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