Tony Roman was so close to walking across the stage and getting his college diploma from the University of New Orleans. But since Hurricane Katrina his college and his home are surrounded by water. Tony lived just 2 miles from where the levee broke. The break in the levee was one of the largest and is blamed for much of the flooding that occurred.
Roman says, “They say we won't be able to get to my house for about 3 months, hopefully by Christmas. Then I can check out how bad it is if I have anything left."
When word spread throughout New Orleans last Sunday that Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 storm, Tony got in the line-up heading to Baton Rouge to seek shelter.
Roman states, "Once they gave mandatory evacuation there was free bus rides, cab rides out, there were ways for people to get out. I feel lucky that I did get out."
With only a backpack of clothes and his truck Tony pulled into Rockford last Wednesday. Here at home he stays away from the horrifying pictures on TV, saying it hurts to know that he had to leave everything behind. But his family is coming to his rescue while he attempts to make something of his senior year.
Roman tells 23 News, “There is so many people who have nothing, at least I can drive to my home. But yea starting over."
What's still not going to be known is how much of his college career he's going to have to make up. With no one at the university there is no way of knowing if his transcripts even exist.
Tony lived in New Orleans for two years. He says he's going to try to take a couple classes at Rock Valley College and get a job to afford to re-build.