Area Hurricane Evacuees React to Latest Headache in the Gulf Coast

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

"The ninth ward is going to be back," Louis Hillard said.

In a furious month where his neighborhood is overwhelmed and flooded not once but twice, 54-year-old Louis Hillard is trying his best to make sense of things.

"Anytime that we catch a hit like that it usually happens in threes. It never fails. They'll be another one coming," Hillard said.

Hillard, alongside his fiance Danita Zachery, has found a safe haven and a new beginning in Rockford, but even with Rita delaying their return to salvage what's left of their life in Louisiana, Hillard still sees a silver lining amidst so much blackness.

"The best thing that happened for New Orleans is for the kids to get out. We are the number one illiteracy city and the nation. I feel as though a fifth grader could come here and pass a 12th grade education," Hillard said.

The evacuees say while adapting is difficult, their area support base is undeniably strong.

"When we first got off the plane, I felt I was at home. New Orleans used to be like that, but it’s only like that for tourists," Hillard said.

Hillard will start job hunting in the coming days, saddened to leave his home for four decades, but energized to start anew.

"We came here to be a positive entity to Rockford, not a negative, and if you help us, we won't let you down," Hillard said.

They’re a couple keeping their heads up, after Mother Nature's fury again lets them down.


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