For some Texans, Hurricane Harvey is a familiar antagonist. Survivors of Hurricane Katrina, which marks its 12th anniversary this week, now relive a similar disaster in the place that was supposed to be safe for them:
Kate Quarrella Beard
“It was basically like watching everything over again, and there’s nothing I can do. I can’t cry anymore.”
For Kate Quarella Beard, Katrina made her a realist.
Beard, who left her New Orleans home to seek a better economy, fell asleep on Saturday night with the belief that Harvey was simply downgraded to a tropical storm overnight. Her sleep was interrupted in the middle of the night when emergency alerts and texts from friends informed her that rains from Harvey ruined a few cars on her street.
“Anything can happen,” she observed. “And just like Katrina, it took a crazy turn overnight.”
“Pretty much the same thing, you know? It’s pretty much the same thing.”
Dominic Robinson said that he checked into a shelter after leaving his New Orleans home on a rescue boat. Robinson did the same thing again this week after Harvey hit his Houston home.
Robinson said that Katrina taught him to survive, be patient and “just kind of ride it out.”
“That’s all you can pretty much do with these hurricanes is pretty much sit tight and ride it out,” he offered.
“You only think, ‘Oh, something like that will only happen once.'”
Rachel Allen lost her West Bank home in Katrina and said that her family “pretty much made Houston home.”
But Allen’s current house remains safe as she waits out the storm with her husband and one-year-old.
“It’s devastating to watch on the news, and even though everything you see is just terrible, you find yourself not being able to pull away from the TV,” she said, noting that the experience felt “very similar.”
“Most traumatic experience of my life, repeating itself. That’s the crazy part … you see the cars under water. It’s the same thing. It’s the same thing again.”
Romeo was 10 years old when Katrina hit.
Romeo’s grandmother drowned and his family was forced to leave their home. They lived in the Houston Astrodome for 30 days.
Now, 12 years later, his apartment is underwater.
“Love the people that are close to you as much as you can. Don’t forget to tell people that you love them because you’ll lose people,” he added.
“I think it’s worse than Katrina.”
The bad weather caught up with Amanda Dufrene even after she moved to Houston from West Bank.
Dufrene’s family has a boat, but she said that they were unable to reach the areas that needed help.
“It’s very, very similar things going on, but it’s more subdivisions and families, and it’s really heart-wrenching,” she said, drawing comparisons between the two storms. “There’s just not enough people, not enough boats.”
“We’re right there with everybody else, just holding out hope that we’ve had enough water receding here this afternoon that we’re going to be high and dry, but it’s tough to say.”
Jason Plotkin moved from Houston to New Orleans for a new job a mere two weeks before Katrina hit the area. He was forced to evacuate the area.
Plotkin moved to New Orleans once more and returned to Houston in 2013.
Now floods from Harvey threaten his home, which he shares with his wife and two-year-old son.
“It’s just been a nightmare. It brings up a lot of bad memories.”
Katrina flooded Heidi Evenson’s home with five feet of water. Now, rising waters threaten her Houston home.
Evenson still has power and is keeping up with updates on the news, but what happens next is completely beyond her control.
‘It’s going to be what it’s going to be,” she admitted. “We’ve done everything humanly possible to protect ourselves, but it’s in the hands of God now.”
“Not only for us but for our friends in the Baton Rouge area, who experienced catastrophic weather barely a year ago, a storm threat like this one can trigger PTSD and related feelings,” warns Dr. Charles Preston, coroner for the St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana. “This is not to be taken lightly.”
Those in need are encouraged to seek out help.