Hurricane Katrina, 10 years later - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Hurricane Katrina, 10 years later

Amarillo, TX - Nearly ten years ago, devastation struck the city of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina swept away homes and killed many.

One of the last remaining refugees in Amarillo is sharing her story of how Katrina reshaped her life.

Saturday marks the ten year anniversary of the hurricane. Destruction, heartache and loss, these are just a few of the words that sum up the effects of hurricane Katrina.

Many were forced to flee from their homes, losing loved ones, personal items and the routine of a life they've always known.

"The whole city smelt like a rotten body," Jessie Phillips, a survivor of Katrina, said. "And it was like you can't breathe, you can't breathe."

But for this New Orleans native, the hurricane came with so much more while she struggled raising her children.

"Most of their kin folks were either in drugs or getting into drugs dealing, and I'm like God please, two days before Katrina, please God get my kids out of here," Phillips said. "Just be careful what you pray for."

She said with destruction comes new life, and for her that began in Amarillo.

"We had so much stuff given to us," Phillips said. "We were standing outside the Civic Center and people were just giving us money. And stuff like that, saying we are sorry."

She said FEMA aided her family, but Amarillo gave them a home.

"I seen it as a blessing," Phillips said. "It's my blessing but it might not be anyone else's blessings. But you know, I prayed for this and that's what  I got."

Phillips said when she came to Amarillo she was offered the opportunity to go to school and create a self sustaining life.

Today she said she wouldn't go back to New Orleans, unless of course it was Mardi Gras.

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