CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – This week marks the 8th year anniversary that Hurricane Katrina made landfall, devastating the Gulf Coast. More than 1,800 people were killed in the storm. The category three left 80% of the city underwater. FEMA says the total damage was $108 billion, the costliest hurricane in U.S. history.
Almost half a million people lived in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit; now, less than half that remains. Many people left town after the storm destroyed everything. One family came to Medford and spoke exclusively to NewsWatch 12 about the experience. Now, they’re speaking out once again.
Eight years ago, Chris and Joy were evacuating their New Orleans home, headed to Baton Rouge with very few items. Fast forward several years, and the couple now calls central point their new home, but the spirit of New Orleans is still a big part of their lives.
Their home is now filled with fleur de lis and the few photos saved from the storm and even a new cat they named “Nola”. Today, Chris and Joy Brown, and their three children, look through magazines and books about Hurricane Katrina. They also like to watch documentaries about the devastation.
“It’s such a life changing thing that it’s something I want to make sure they know: one, my heritage, and two, what they lived through because it’s a world wind I think really,” Chris said.
Brown was born and raised in New Orleans. He said it took quite some time before he could read or listen to anything about the hurricane without getting really, really upset, but he says it’s something that’s healed over time. It’s an experience he says has given him more faith in people.