New Orleans natives make Columbus home after Hurricane Katrina

New Orleans natives make Columbus home after Hurricane Katrina

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast 10 years ago this weekend. Many survivors are reflecting back on the natural disaster that forever changed their lives.

The storm displaced two sisters and business owners who have called the Fountain City home for the last nine years.

The two New Orleans sisters refused to let Katrina stop them, and 10 years later they are in the Chattahoochee Valley with a food truck that keeps their Louisiana roots alive.

They still have pictures of the damage Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005. Taking the advice of New Orleans officials, Kizzie Johnson and her family left the city during the mandatory evacuations.

"A few items that we can do laundry, personal hygiene items and the clothing on our back, that's all we ended up with after Katrina," Johnson said.

First going to Baton Rouge then Maryland, Johnson and her family returned to the flooded city two months after the storm hit.

"Only to return to nothing. Everything had been wiped out. The home was submerged to the rooftop," Johnson said. 

For nine years, Johnson and her sister has made Columbus home.

"Found out about a program that helps Katrina evacuees to come here and purchase homes under a discounted amount,"

They also have a food truck trailer that is part of the Phenix City Food truck park.

"We did the greater Columbus fair, the Tuskegee-Morehouse tailgate, the MLK event, offering some of the love that we have for New Orleans so that people can experience at little bit of that even if its through food," said Johnson.

Her sister is a Mardi Gras Indian and makes the beaded costumes for the annual carnival. Driving through parts of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, Johnson still see signs of devastation.

"One thing that is gut wrenching for us is 10 years later, were still in the rebuilding phase. 10 years is more than enough time," Johnson said. 

Whether it's to visit family or attend a Mardi Gras parade, Johnson says she will always call New Orleans home.

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