East Texan reflects on life 5 years after escape from Katrina - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

East Texan reflects on life 5 years after escape from Katrina

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.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Hodges Gardens State Park officially closing Oct. 1

    Hodges Gardens State Park officially closing Oct. 1

    Saturday, September 23 2017 12:18 PM EDT2017-09-23 16:18:26 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

    Hodges Gardens. It's one of the most beautiful spots in Louisiana, but in just days visitors will no longer be able to see it.  It's almost time.  Time for something good to come to an end.  Chris Nolen is sorting and packing up items from Hodges Gardens State Park.  "What are you going to do with magnets that say Hodges Gardens State Park when there's no state park," said Nolen.  That's right Hodges Gardens will officially be closing ...

    More >>

    Hodges Gardens. It's one of the most beautiful spots in Louisiana, but in just days visitors will no longer be able to see it.  It's almost time.  Time for something good to come to an end.  Chris Nolen is sorting and packing up items from Hodges Gardens State Park.  "What are you going to do with magnets that say Hodges Gardens State Park when there's no state park," said Nolen.  That's right Hodges Gardens will officially be closing ...

    More >>
  • Louisianians aren't buying viral video of 'Cajun red beans and rice'

    Louisianians aren't buying viral video of 'Cajun red beans and rice'

    Saturday, September 23 2017 1:22 AM EDT2017-09-23 05:22:53 GMT
    (Source: Food and Wine Facebook page)(Source: Food and Wine Facebook page)

    Remember the social media outrage from Disney's version of a 'healthy' Louisiana gumbo from 2016?

    More >>

    Remember the social media outrage from Disney's version of a 'healthy' Louisiana gumbo from 2016?

    More >>
  • TDL Week 4: High school football highlights

    TDL Week 4: High school football highlights

    Saturday, September 23 2017 1:20 AM EDT2017-09-23 05:20:48 GMT

    High school football scores and highlights

    More >>

    High school football scores and highlights

    More >>
Powered by Frankly