East Texan reflects on life 5 years after escape from Katrina - KCTV5

East Texan reflects on life 5 years after escape from Katrina

Posted: Updated:
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email | Twitter
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Nearly five years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the city's healing continues, but scars remain. The water carried homes away, sending many families headed to East Texas for a new start.

"We were just one of hundreds of thousands of stories that were going on in New Orleans," said Lanelle Picarella, a registered nurse for Trinity Mother Frances.

Five years since the storm and 80% of the Big Easy's residents have moved back home. Picarella makes up the other 20%.

"We were thinking we'd be gone for a week," said Picarella. "We expected water but we didn't expect the damage that happened."

The Picarellas left before dawn the day Katrina arrived. The next time Picarella saw her city was on TV.

"A lot of the images are places I'd been, people that we knew that lived in those areas," she remembered.

The Picarella home would never be lived in again, leaving a family with nothing but their faith.

"If you don't have that to hold on to and to realize there's more than just possessions and earthly places to be, then it makes it very difficult when you lose those earthly things," said Picarella.

A blessing came in the form of a job at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital.

"This opportunity gave me a chance to keep myself busy mentally and also feel like I was making a difference," said Picarella.

Today Picarella brings skills from her New Orleans hospital to East Texas - her hometown a far cry from the one she left behind.

"Is it the same New Orleans? Absolutely not," she said. "When you go through a trauma like that, no, but are there the friendships, the comradery, is there the multiculturalism, the togetherness we have in New Orleans? Yeah, it's still there."

It is a bond forging a new future, five years and counting.

Picarella says her time in New Orleans is limited to several visits a year. She says there are not plans to move back.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Motorcyclist killed in accident near KCI

    Motorcyclist killed in accident near KCI

    Friday, October 20 2017 9:31 PM EDT2017-10-21 01:31:34 GMT
    (KCTV)(KCTV)

    Police are investigating after a motorcyclist died when he was thrown from his vehicle in an accident.  

    More >

    Police are investigating after a motorcyclist died when he was thrown from his vehicle in an accident.  

    More >
  • Trump family breaks with presidential pet tradition

    Trump family breaks with presidential pet tradition

    Saturday, October 21 2017 12:49 PM EDT2017-10-21 16:49:48 GMT

    He campaigned and won vowing to shake up Washington. Now, President Donald Trump is again breaking with tradition on a more personal matter: keeping a pet at the White House.

    More >

    He campaigned and won vowing to shake up Washington. Now, President Donald Trump is again breaking with tradition on a more personal matter: keeping a pet at the White House.

    More >
  • Severe storms expected to move through Kansas City Saturday evening

    Severe storms expected to move through Kansas City Saturday evening

    Saturday, October 21 2017 3:33 PM EDT2017-10-21 19:33:49 GMT
    Storms are expected to make a sweep through areas south and east of Kansas City through the evening. (KCTV5)Storms are expected to make a sweep through areas south and east of Kansas City through the evening. (KCTV5)

    After a week of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s, a round of severe weather is working its way across Kansas and into Missouri. StormTrack5 Meteorologist Ronelle Williams says Saturday will start breezy and mild but expects thunderstorms to move in during the second half of the day.

    More >

    After a week of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s, a round of severe weather is working its way across Kansas and into Missouri. StormTrack5 Meteorologist Ronelle Williams says Saturday will start breezy and mild but expects thunderstorms to move in during the second half of the day.

    More >
Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.