Katrina survivor calls Louisville home, recalls devastation


by Maggie Ruper


Posted on August 30, 2012 at 6:18 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 30 at 6:18 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Seven years after Hurricane Katrina hit, New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Isaac. The storms differed in size and strength, but it was a reminder of the previous devastation.

Current Louisville resident Richard Lowe lived in New Orleans for 30 years and he had seen his share of storms, but nothing like the one that blew ashore on Aug. 29 of 2005.

“We just decided we were going to ride it out,” Lowe said.

The relentless storm, and breached levees, left 80 percent of the city under water. Desperation in the streets followed one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. The death toll surpassed 1,800 people.

“My neighborhood looked like a war zone, and there were a lot of neighborhoods that looked worse,” Lowe said.

Lowe was rescued from the roof of his home by a helicopter five days after the storm hit.

“Things happen for a reason and since I’ve been in Louisville I’ve really been blessed,” Lowe said.

Seven years later, Lowe is still haunted by Katrina memories.

“In the back of your mind you think, ‘What’s going to happen this time?’” Lowe said.

For a survivor, it’s eerie to imagine on the seventh anniversary as Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans.

“Before, people that live in New Orleans would say, ‘Oh! there's a hurricane, let’s have a hurricane party,’” Lowe said.

Since Katrina, Lowe said he’s seen a change for the better in terms of preparedness and people taking precautions, but he’s still not ready to go back.

“We're homesick, but we're not aching to go back either. We're making Louisville our home,” Lowe said.