Life After Katrina: Lady Cardinal Star Reflects On Struggle - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/14/08-Athens

Life After Katrina: Lady Cardinal Star Reflects On Struggle

We all saw the images from New Orleans. Jagged floating pieces of wood where someone's home once stood.

Somewhere in that floating graveyard of houses was Jasmine Nelson's home.

"Watching everything on the news, seeing where you lay your head at, and it's under water," Jasmine recalls.

The next year for the Louisiana high school basketball star was rough. Her family evacuated to Memphis, then to Houston where she and 17 members of her family stayed in an office building. She then moved to Colorado and California before finally returning to New Orleans.

"I had never seen anything like it in my life," Jasmine said. "Usually you hit the road and you always get to come back to your stuff, but this time actually there was nothing there."

When Jasmine lost her house, the basketball court became her home. As her mother worked in Baton Rouge to make money, Jasmine stayed with friends to continue at her high school, McDonogh #35.

In Katrina's aftermath she worked to lead her team to two straight state championship game appearances.

"W came up short both times," she said, "but it was still the best thing that ever happened to me."

A former Trinity Valley Lady Cardinal was a teammate of Jasmine's in New Orleans, something that brought her to Athens. Every day Coach Michael Landers is impressed.

"She was a strong young lady to begin with," Coach Landers said, "and I think her experience in the last three or four years has only added to that."

Monday night Jasmine and the Lady Cardinals won the Region XIV Tournament, sending them to nationals.

"I'm going to cherish every moment of it," she grinned.

Jasmine is All-Region and All-Conference. Her talents may send her back to her home state. LSU is one of many schools interested in signing her.

"That's my biggest dream ever. That would be great...."

Jasmine and the Lady Cardinals play Midland in the NJCAA tournament, Wednesday at noon in Salina, Kansas.

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