Katrina Evacuee Calls Jonesboro Home

Jonesboro, AR -- "I've never been through anything like that before and I hope I never have to go through anything like it again," said Patricia Batiste.

Patricia Batiste knows she cheated death 2 years ago as she literally had to be dragged from her home on a boat after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans' ninth ward, where she lived was flooded, and her home was destroyed.

"Everything was gone--we had nothing......we had nothing," said Batiste.

She left New Orleans with only the clothes on her back and memories in her heart.

She boarded a bus that made a final stop in Jonesboro.

Her first stop in Jonesboro was Central Baptist Church.

"That was the best thing that could have ever happened to us. They had food and stuff but we saw beds and sheets and stuff.....we just got in the bed," said Batiste.

2 years later, she's an active member of Central Baptist, she's a volunteer, and she's trying to live the American dream.

"I'm going to try to get me a home.  I have to take a class to get me a home, I'm going to try,  and let's hope I get it," said Batiste.

Patricia has been back to New Orleans three times, and upon each visit, she's reminded of the desperation to escape.

"We were there at the convention center, we got caught, I mean we went through pure hell," said Batiste.

The horrors she saw on her way out......

"All I do is cry--I can't take it--I just walk around and cry-- I cry everyday," said Batiste.

"I can't go back to New Orleans,  I can't go back," said Batiste.

Patricia doesn't use the word anniversary to commemorate August 29th.

She says there's nothing to celebrate.

"People lost their homes like I did, I lost my daughter's ashes--they went down with the house.  I mean it was a tragedy," said Batiste.

Through what she calls a tragedy is strength she didn't know she had, courage to overcome adversity, and a new place to call home.