New Orleans Evacuee Shares Katrina Survival Story

August 28, 2006 -- Posted at 2:15 p.m.  CDT

JONESBORO -- "Grabbed my cell phone, and was crying to my mom and aunt saying I knew I should have gotten out.  The water was just rising.....rising so much," said Larry Dillon.

Larry Dillon lived in New Orleans for almost 25 years.

Life in the "Big Easy" was pretty good!

He worked hard, raised a family, and had a comfortable home, but within hours, Hurricane Katrina took everything he worked for.

They sought refuge in an old attic.

"All we can do is just pray, and ask the Lord to save us.   We spent 10 hours on a piece of wood trying to hold on, and you got the water just rising," said Dillon.

Barely making it out with only the clothes on their backs, the family finally made their way to higher ground.

"We stayed almost two days on a bridge, and living in a van.  It was me, my wife, and eight kids in a van," said Dillon.

The Dillon family made their way from the crowded bridge to the Convention Center.

Larry Dillon calls the situation in the Convention Center terrifying.

"While we were sleeping, we hear young guys coming up the stairs saying you better watch your kids because we got guys that are going to snatch them up, rape them, and kill them," said Dillon.

Hungry, exhausted, and scared, the Dillon Family finally got the opportunity to escape hurricane ravaged New Orleans.

"We finally turned around and saw the buses were coming, and I told my wife, we're getting on the bus," said Dillon.

Their first stop was Fort Chaffee, in Fort Smith, and finally a sense a relief.

After being in Northwest Arkansas for a few days, they were bused here to Jonesboro where the kindness of good neighbors overflowed.

".....food and shelter, and all kinds of good stuff.....," said Dillon.

Larry Dillon says, for now, they have no plans to go back.