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Leeanna Joseph remembered

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 10:20 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Back in March, 77-year-old Leeanna Joseph was living in her car for months with a chronic illness following Hurricane Laura.

Joseph has now passed away and a memorial honoring her life and fight was held over the weekend.

Some call her larger than life, even angelic.

Others say she was a firework show of love, grace, and faith.

“Everyone was drawn to her and she left a mark on their lives,” says former chaplain Justin Roberts.

Joseph passed away on Sept. 11 after losing a long battle with cirrhosis of the liver, severe bladder problems, and cancer.

She had been living in the Villas of Lake Charles before Hurricane Laura barreled through, leaving extensive damage to her unit.

Buying a car just to have a roof over her head, she slept in the library parking lot at night.

All her furniture was stored at a storage facility in Beaumont. But ber caretakers say lightning struck the building causing all her belongings to ignite into flames, leaving behind nothing but ash.

“She was one of the victims from the storm who was trying to get help and find hope,” says Roberts. “But she had this unshakeable confidence and faith.”

Joseph said at the time, “Hopefully I’ve gotten some wisdom...wisdom has come with the age and patience, I’ve learned patience. In fact, this has been a patience thing. I didn’t know I needed it. But evidently, I did. And I was surprised with my own self that I could handle it that well.”

She worked hard to improve her situation. And just days before she died, caretakers say they received a call informing Joseph that her apartment was finally ready.

“Not many people across the country even heard about Hurricane Laura or Delta and so you had all of these victims who were stil struggling up to over a year later to find help and find hope,” says Roberts. “What’s amazing is the confidence she did have even in the midst of all that.”

A service and balloon release memorialized her life on Sunday.

And while friends of Joseph say she had a smile on her face through each storm, named or unnamed. Though her story may not have had a happy ending, she has transcended this world and left a permanent mark on all those she encountered.

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