New Orleans Evacuee Remembers The City A Year After Katrina

August 29, 2006 -- Posted at 2:15 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- Rosita Richardson was born and raised in New Orleans.

"I  thought I would never leave New Orleans.   I was going to keep my house, and I was going to just travel wherever my kids were.  I thought, wherever I would go, New Orleans would always be home.  As a result of Katrina, your thought process changes," said Richardson.

These were changes to an extreme she never expected.

Rosita evacuated New Orleans several times earlier in the year due to severe weather.

She stayed gone for a few days, but was always able to come back......until Katrina.

"After the hurricane, you had a little sigh of relief, but then when you heard the levees had was like a slap in the face.   My house was completely flooded," said Richardson.

Rosita left with only three days worth of clothes.

She never imagined she wouldn't return until months later.

When she finally made it back, she realized there was nothing to go back to.

"Everyday you think about something else that was in there......something else that was not just a material thing...something else that had meaning," said Richardson.

Rosita says she feels blessed for having the means to escape, she feels for those who weren't as fortunate.

The road ahead for those left in New Orleans, she says,  is now flooded with tears and anguish.

"This is going to effect them for the rest of their lives....not just for a year, not just until August 29th, 2006, and everything goes doesn't work like that," said Richardson.

Like millions of others, Rosita is starting over.

"To me, Jonesboro is very convenient.  There's nothing more than 20 minutes away...if it's more than twenty minutes away, you have gone to far.  I have found the people here, in Jonesboro, to be very friendly," said Richardson.

Rosita Richardson says for the sake of the people, she hopes New Orleans can recover.

Her new home is here, and she says she's just fine in Jonebsoro.