I'm a Survivor
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My name is Lori Wilson and to all my clients I am a Regional Sales Director with Property I.D. But in my mind, I am a SURVIVOR... a Hurricane Katrina Survivor!


It is hard to believe that three years have passed since Hurricane Katrina left such grave devastation in her wake. It's been a challenging, yet rewarding rebuilding period in my life. As a New Orleans native, I had witnessed many hurricanes in the past, but Katrina was not just a typical storm. Late in the evening of August 28, 2005, I hunkered down with my 2 dogs in my office building on Canal St. to ride out the storm. The next 24 hours were filled with howling winds, pounding rain and shattering glass. Later in the day, as the winds subsided there was an eerie calm in the air. I took the dogs for a long walk throughout the area, feeling blessed that we had been spared. A few downed power lines, some debris from gutters and an abundance of tree limbs littered the roads but still I had a sense of relief. Observing the area curfews, I slept once again on the floor of my office.


At dawn the next morning I heard a strange noise. I went to investigate and found it was my dogs... SWIMMING downstairs! At that moment, I knew we had a levee breach somewhere in the city and it was filling up quickly! As the radio broadcasted that there were numerous levees affected, I knew my struggle was just beginning. I also knew that the area where I rented my home had experienced a large amount of damage. I had not obtained renter's insurance, so I knew that I was starting this day with NOTHING left.


I was alone, except for a few elderly gentlemen who were residing in the apartments next door. We waited for 2 days and no assistance arrived. On the morning of the third day, I put my cell phone and vital information in a Ziploc bag, grabbed some dog food and water and started looking for help, dogs in tow.


As I waded out into the streets, the water was slowly rising until at one point we had to swim to make it to the overpass at Interstate 10. Fortunately, the dogs followed me closely and after a tiring effort, we were pulled into a boat and brought to safety. I was able to send help back to the elderly men and they were rescued the following day.


I was fortunate enough to have many friends in Northern California who came to my aid in the form of a plane ride to California, clothing donations, and a place to live until I figured out what to do next. After several months of total denial and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to make the best of what I had left, discovering that there was more than I had realized all those months. I started exercising and eating right, lost a large amount of weight and slowly started to heal from the inside out. I am very proud of the progress I have made and realize now that Hurricane Katrina actually made me a stronger, happier and better person.


I remember my Cajun mother explaining to me at some point in my life that "When God gives you lemons... make lemonade"! She is a very wise woman!


Oh, and if you have any questions about Natural Disasters... I'm your girl!!


Lori Wilson


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