LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Thousands would evacuate New Orleans and never to return, but for one family the fourth anniversary for Katrina is bittersweet. While they may have lost their home and city, they were embraced by a new one.
"It was horrible, it was probably one of the worst things," said Sylvia Pastrano.
Four years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans native Sylvia Pastrano still remembers the day that changed the way of life she had known for more than thirty years.
"All the people that had died and old and new friends that we've never heard from again," said Pastrano.
Though four years have passed, Sylvia still recalls what it was like in the hours before Katrina came ashore.
"Scariest part I guess was about six o'clock in the morning when it did not turn away from New Orleans and when they were saying it was coming straight into downtown New Orleans," said Pastrano.
Leaving her home and city behind, Sylvia considers herself one of the lucky ones after all. She found Lake Charles, her new home away from home.
"Never would've thought that I would have the energy, the ambition to move from one city to another, another house and another office," said Pastrano.
Relocating her court reporting and interpreting business to Southwest Louisiana, Sylvia says the lake area took her in with open arms.
"For all that help and open arms after Katrina and all the New Orleans people here, we love it and we're thankful to the city and everyone," said Pastrano.
While she now calls Lake Charles home, the spirit and strength of New Orleans are still with her.
"The friends there, the music, the unique culture, the food, the French Quarter, the festivals, and just everything," said Pastrano.
And everything in the big easy is getting better with each visit
"There's new construction, new restaurants opening. I think they've got more restaurants than ever before, the hotels are still coming back, and the tourists are definitely coming back," said Pastrano.
Changed in a lot of ways, it does Sylvia good to see a new New Orleans coming back to life.