Katrina victim who relocated to Lubbock shares her memories - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

8/25/10

Katrina victim who relocated to Lubbock shares her memories

Brenda Smith, survived Katrina in 2005 Brenda Smith, survived Katrina in 2005

By Michael Slother - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – It's been nearly 5 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Victims were forced to relocate to other areas, including Lubbock.

Brenda Smith relocated to Lubbock and hasn't been able to visit her family in 2 years. She knows she's lucky to be alive. "I could have been dead you know. I'm here by myself, I live by myself, and I want to be with my people," said Brenda.

Water filled her home and she was nearly trapped inside, but a friend saved her. "I went to go out the door and I couldn't get out the door and I was screaming and hollering for him. He pushed the door open just enough for me to get out, and I got out," she said.

She spent several nights in the Superdome and she'll never forget what she saw. "I had to walk in this nasty water and sleep in the schools and see dead bodies."

Hurricane Katrina took almost everything, except 3 ceramic Cabbage Patch Dolls. "These dolls here, you see they're dirty all over, that's Katrina water. I went there to get them in 2006 and this is the only thing I got out of my house. My sister made these 26 years ago."

When she moved to Lubbock, it was a culture shock. "I've never heard of Lubbock, I've never been in Texas, and it's so different."

She's disabled, and the cost of living has become too high for her to afford moving back with her family. "My grand baby, she don't know me, she calls me Mimi. I talk to her everyday but she really don't know me."

All she has are pictures of her family. She has them all over her fridge and says she talks to them to help her through tough days. "I look at my baby and I look at my moo-moo and I feel them and I touch them."

Brenda remembers her family back home any way she can. "Every Sunday I cook a big dinner and I pretend they're coming to eat. I still do that, Sundays are my hardest days and it's been 5 years."

When bad weather comes rolling in, she gets flashbacks. "If they told me a tornado was coming here I would go, I don't want to experience disasters again."

While she has her bad days, she says Texas is growing on her. "I didn't know what a burrito was until I came here, I make the best burritos, and I eat the Mexican food."

Brenda says the people of Lubbock are great, but it's still not quite home. "I miss the second lines, I miss the jazz, I miss the casinos, I miss everything. I even miss the water."

©2010 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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