For many that endured Hurricane Katrina, and survived the horror of those days in New Orleans, 60-year-old Barbara Shanklin gives the fitting title to this post.
60 year old Shanklin survived the horror in those days after Katrina, and like so many others, the images and nightmare will be etched in her mind for the rest of her life. She used to visit her Grandparents in Thibodaux when she was six years old. The long trip was made on weekends and on holidays. She now lives in Angel Place Habitat for Humanity, that is on Bon Jovi Boulevard, here in Bayou Blue. I have seen this place, and it does my heart good to know that such good things are going on here to welcome our brothers and sisters from New Orleans. If they cannot make it back to New Orleans to start again, then this is the best area for them to be. Here in Louisiana’s other blue district, they can find refuge.
Shanklin and her three grandchildren are now comfortably living in a brand new house on Bon Jovi Boulevard, which is in the Angel Place Habitat for Humanity subdivision that straddles Bayou Blue Bypass Road. But the emotional scars wrought by the storm and the horrors that followed will never completely heal, Shanklin told a group of Louisiana college students who are spending their spring break working on other new houses in the neighborhood.
Take in the words of this woman, and understand what happened to our people here. This is what you don’t read any more in the newspapers a year and a half later.
“What happened in New Orleans is something that should never happen again,” she said. “Never let this happen to us again in America.”
“It was something like a Holocaust,” Shanklin added, describing sheets pulled over bodies “in the gutter” outside the Louisiana Superdome, clogged highways leading out of New Orleans and filthy rest stops bursting at the seams with Katrina’s victims.
The most-damaging psychological effect of the storm, however, was “knowing you were homeless … there was nothing back there for you to get,” Shanklin said.
“I’m telling you young people … it’s something that I’ll never get over,” Shanklin added. “I cry every night.”
You are not alone Barbara Shanklin, you are among family here. You may not be in New Orleans, but you are still home. We have not forgotten, and we shall never forget what happened. We are family!
Out of Iraq, into New Orleans!