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Lynette T. 7th Ward, New Orleans 09/20/05

Im from the 7th Ward, and I was raised in New Orleans. I was raised and born in New Orleans. I worked as a babysitter. Went to school there, finished the 10th grade. Went to Warren Easton High School. At the age of 17, I decided to go to Job Corps, but so far I didn't make it there, so, I wound up getting pregnant with my first daughter, which is named Dionnka T.

About three days before the hurricane, I wound up moving. The house it flooded before we even really got to move in. So me and my husband, went to a hotel, and we got stuck on the 3rd floor. On Tulane Avenue: Economy Hotel. We got stuck on the third floor, we stayed there about, ooh, maybe about 4 days. Till the rescue team came and got us, brought us on a boat, put us on a bus. It was the National Guard.

AIT: Did they tell you it was time to leave?

And everybody have to get out, yeah. We wanted to stay. We thought maybe the water was going to go down. We didn't know it was that damaged. You know, all over the city because for days we couldn't get out, you know, go nowhere, because of the flood. So they took us, we got on the bus, took us to a bus, took us to the Louis Armstrong airport, and flew us here to Austin. Mm-hm.

Because I seen so much, so much happening, hearing so much happening...I was devastated. I was walking in the water, trying to find a way, you know, to get out? And I coulda sworn I felt a body, or, something...somebody's body wrapped around my leg! But I know it couldn'ta been true! [laughing]

We were trying to leave the hotel so we could find something, you know...something. A grocery store, or anything where, you know, something to eat and drink. We had some, a little few foods, for a few days...we knew it wouldn't last. Few canned goods, chips, few cold drinks, few water. We needed grocery. Mm-hm, change of clothes, you know, and stuff like that.

And everything was all banged up, so we, you know, I went back upstairs, so we stayed up there about 4 days.

But other than that, God was good, God blessed us. He really did, He blessed us. And right now, I could see that he did this for a reason. You know, to change lives. Because so much was going on, in New Orleans, so much. Killing, drugging, and you know, corruption in the cops. You know, children getting killed, bystanders. You know, just, just, just full. It's something you wouldn't imagine. You know? But from New Orleans to here is a big different world. It's a whole different world The people here are beautiful, wonderful. They're so nice, everywhere you turn. You turn your back, everybody speaks to you. You know, they're concerned, like they care about you‹it makes you feel so good, that you still got people, you know, around that cares about you. It doesn't matter the race, or nationality, or anything. Beautiful.

And I cried many days, but you know, as long as I got the Lord in my life, you know, giving me the strength, I know I'm going to make it. I know I'm going to make it. Yes ma'am.

AIT: Is there anything else you would like people to know?

Oh, I would like them to know: Come to Austin, or visit Austin, and check out what a wonderful state it is, Texas. Is beautiful. I thank y'all very much. And for having me here. Yeah, it makes me feel strong. Never thought I would have to go through nothing like this in all my life, days of my life. But it's wonderful. And I survived...I'm a survivor. It's a change, a big change...big, beautiful change. I see myself working, working here, and just living a new life. Building a new life for myself.

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