Former Katrina victims reflect on the storm

August 30, 2008 1:05:31 PM PDT
Many of the people evacuating the Gulf Coast now also had to endure the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina three years ago.Katrina hit New Orleans and Mississippi on Aug. 29, 2005. More than 1,800 people lost their lives.

The storm was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Now Gustav is stirring up memories and advice from Katrina survivors in the Triangle.

"Once it gets in the Gulf, it's going to get huge," Katrina survivor Kirk Schulz said. "The Gulf of Mexico is a breeding ground for hurricanes."

"It's very traumatic. And I just keep thinking of all the people in Mississippi who are dealing with Gustav coming," former Mississippi resident Victoria Olson said.

Olson and Schulz lived in long beach Mississippi when Hurricane Katrina slammed their coastal town.

Katrina drove them to live in North Carolina permanently, but they still keep snap-shots of the storm damage and they still have relatives on the gulf coast.

"I do worry about my family down there, what might happen," Schulz said.

Even after Katrina, Schulz says he understands the reluctance to evacuate New Orleans when another storm is coming.

"It's my hometown. That's where I was born. I don't like the idea of it not being rebuilt," Schulz said. "So I can understand why people don't want to leave."

But to Olson, the warnings over Gustav sound eerie and familiar.

"That's just how it was with Katrina. We really didn't take it so seriously. I wasn't even in a mandatory evacuation zone," Olson said.

But even in Durham, they still keep an eye on family on the Gulf Coast and the closing storm.


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