Lawton_Friday marked the third year since Hurricane Katrina hit the shores of New Orleans. The storm was devastated, and when the levees broke, 80% of the city was covered by water. Thousands who survived the storm ended up seeking shelter inside the Superdome, and others ended up on the streets, rooftops, inside homes - awaiting rescue. After the evacuation, many wound up in Texas, and a few landed in Lawton-Fort Sill.
Although Roshiva Johnson is shaken, as she faces the memory of Katrina, she's driving back to New Orleans, right into the path of Hurricane Gustav - she's going back. It's not the Labor Day trip the family had in mind, but she and her son are making the 10-hour drive to get the rest of the family out of New Orleans before Gustav reaches shore. "It's just crazy right now because we've got to hurry up and go back, and try to see what we can do before they put a curfew up," she said.
Gustav is a category three hurricane, just like Katrina, and this is the three-year anniversary weekend of the storm. "Everybody's kind of scared right now," said Johnson. "They don't know what to say, what to think, so they're just going with the flow I guess." It isn't stopping the Johnsons from rescuing their family members from a situation that could be disastrous. "They only can handle a category one, but it's a category three, so we're not going to chance it."
Johnson is going to try to rescue anyone she can fit into her car, but her priority are her in-laws. "She don't drive. and then the ones that do drive, they're all booked up," she said. "We tried to get plane tickets, went up and tried to get a bus, but all the buses tied up, so-- just try to do what we can do." She says she doesn't think that she can ever move back to Louisiana after losing her home and everything she owned, and she doesn't know when her in-laws will go back, either.
In 2007, 7News interviewed Cherlestine Kennedy who survived the storm and lived on a bridge by the Superdome until rescue came. She now lives in Lawton. With Hurricane Gustav heading toward New Orleans, she said she was too terrified to relive the experience for us on this tragic anniversary.