Katrina refugees remember life-changing hurricane, 12 years late - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Katrina refugees remember life-changing hurricane, 12 years later

Dianne and Jerry Hester (Source: KCBD Photo) Dianne and Jerry Hester (Source: KCBD Photo)
Hurricane Katrina (Source: KCBD) Hurricane Katrina (Source: KCBD)
Hurricane Katrina (Source: KCBD) Hurricane Katrina (Source: KCBD)
Hurricane Katrina (Source: KCBD) Hurricane Katrina (Source: KCBD)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

It's been 12 years since Hurricane Katrina, a disaster that killed more than 1,200 people.

Hurricane Katrina is still considered the costliest natural disaster in history.

Katrina refugees Dianne and Jerry Hester now call the South Plains home but can't help but remember the hard times they went through.

"It was so devastating to just, to be driving and seeing everybody's lives piled out on the front yards. That was one of the hardest things for me. All of those houses that we knew and we had been to were gone. That's when it hit that everything was gone and it was bad," Dianne said.

The Hesters evacuated from New Orleans, and weren't able to get back into their home for six weeks. By that time mold had set in. The only things they could save were clothes, blankets, and curtains.

"The smell was just horrible. Even to this day people tease me about this but when I dry towels you know how sometimes you don't dry them completely and you smell that musty smell? That brings everything flooding back to me and it just devastates me...it just really overwhelms me," Dianne said.

The Hesters say they stayed in Lubbock because of the friendly people.

Years later, seeing the destruction brought on by Hurricane Harvey is bring back some difficult memories.

"Harvey brought back some bad memories that you're thinking of the same stuff that these poor people are going through that we went through, a lot that they don't even realize that they're going to have to go through because it's not overnight, it's months and months down the road, maybe even years," Jerry said.

The Hesters have a special message for those dealing with Hurricane Harvey.

"Hang in there, you can survive, you will survive. If it gets so bad that you think about you can't handle it, tell somebody, talk to somebody, let somebody know clergyman, doctor, friend, whatever. Don't think that you're in the boat by yourself and don't think it's never going to be right because it will," Dianne said.

Harvey continues to bring more rain to Southeast Texas and could continue through early next week.

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