Katrina survivors make Longview home

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Two women who Katrina brought to East Texas are now reflecting on the storm, and their decision to stay here. The devastation that hurricane Katrina wrought on new Orleans sent thousands rushing to Texas for safety. Two of them - a mother and daughter came to East Texas.

"At first we decide that we wasn't leaving, but then when the sheriff said we had to leave," says New Orleans native Emma Dufrene. "We had to go and we left with three outfits."

Dufrene and her daughter Beryl Shankle left everything they owned in homes that were wiped out, and found solace in their Texas neighbors.

"The first year was the roughest but it became easier," Beryl said.

Both have been back to see the devastation of their home town.

"We're very blessed because we got out," Emma said. "It's still not right. It's still not new Orleans like it should be. I miss it, I miss all my friends and family. I feel it was real terrible that the poor people suffered and had to go through all they did."

Coming to Texas probably saved Dufrene's life. She was diagnosed with cancer a few months later and had life-saving surgery. They live next door to each other and feel they were meant to end up in Texas.

"We feel God wanted us here, that's why we're here, that's why we decided to stay," said Emma.

Both mother and daughter see each other every day and say the only thing they miss now about their original home town is the food. But they say Texas cooking is alright with them.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.