The journey began on August 28, 2005. My husband, two sons (ages 2 1/2 and 7) and myself left our home in Meraux Louisiana for safety in Mississippi from Hurricane Katrina. I never would have imagined the destruction that has happened to our home, community, friends and family. There are days that I feel like it is all a bad dream and I will finally wake up.

We lived in Mississippi for 2 weeks until we had a place to stay in Houma for about 4 weeks. During this time we had to inventory everything in our home and estimate the value of each item. I could not estimate the pictures or videos of my boys at birth or the pictures of my grandfather who past away a couple of years before the storm. We did our best, but we are still fighting to get paid from our homeowners policy. Our lawyer was having heart problems and did not file the papers correctly with the courts and our case was thrown out. Where is the justice and the rights of the people not the insurance companies? I called and called to find out what was taking so long to get the payment from our policy. I received no response. I finally called the insurance commissioner and even the lawyer for the insurance company and they told me I needed to talk to my lawyer. So three months later is when I found out that the case was dismissed. I was so angry and upset. Why weren’t we told about the dismissal? Why do we have to fight for everything to get back to where we were? Will we ever be where we were? I doubt it, but what else could we do.

We were living in FEMA trailers for almost 3 years and I paid homeowners insurance for this. My husband subcontracted out the work and tried to do a lot of the work himself. It was a long and hard job. We were living off of my salary a teacher. I was extremely lucky to have this job because there were many teachers looking for work. I was teaching first grade at Covington Elementary and it is such a loving and caring faculty. They became the family I didn’t have on this side of the lake. My parents and siblings lived across the lake which is about 30 miles away. We used to live 2 miles away before the storm. Everytime I went to school it felt like home and I didn’t want to leave. I saw teaching in a new light. I wanted to teach the whole child not just the mind. I wanted each student to know that we will face struggles everyday, but how we finish each day is the key. Will we be able to put our head down at night knowing we did our best or was there something else we should have done. I know first grade is very young, but that is where it needs to begin. If a child knows that you care about them they will care to do their best. They will be the friend to the child who is picked on, or they will help a student with that math problem or maybe they will be the child that helps a stray animal in the street. I will continue to build strong students and I will build and encourage my sons, husband, family and friends to finish each day strong and proud to say they did their best.