TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Nearly five years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the city's healing continues, but scars remain. The water carried homes away, sending many families headed to East Texas for a new start.
"We were just one of hundreds of thousands of stories that were going on in New Orleans," said Lanelle Picarella, a registered nurse for Trinity Mother Frances.
Five years since the storm and 80% of the Big Easy's residents have moved back home. Picarella makes up the other 20%.
"We were thinking we'd be gone for a week," said Picarella. "We expected water but we didn't expect the damage that happened."
The Picarellas left before dawn the day Katrina arrived. The next time Picarella saw her city was on TV.
"A lot of the images are places I'd been, people that we knew that lived in those areas," she remembered.
The Picarella home would never be lived in again, leaving a family with nothing but their faith.
"If you don't have that to hold on to and to realize there's more than just possessions and earthly places to be, then it makes it very difficult when you lose those earthly things," said Picarella.
A blessing came in the form of a job at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital.
"This opportunity gave me a chance to keep myself busy mentally and also feel like I was making a difference," said Picarella.
Today Picarella brings skills from her New Orleans hospital to East Texas - her hometown a far cry from the one she left behind.
"Is it the same New Orleans? Absolutely not," she said. "When you go through a trauma like that, no, but are there the friendships, the comradery, is there the multiculturalism, the togetherness we have in New Orleans? Yeah, it's still there."
It is a bond forging a new future, five years and counting.
Picarella says her time in New Orleans is limited to several visits a year. She says there are not plans to move back.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:34 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:34:36 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Friday afternoon two home invasions are reported to police less than an hour apart. Police are trying to determine if the same group of people are responsible. The first robberyMore >>
Two home invasions are reported to Louisville Metro Police less than an hour apart and now officers are trying to determine if the same group of people are responsible.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 11:19 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:19:49 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE 3) - The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban of openly gay scouts from the organization's activities has hundreds of Louisville Scouts and their parents wonderingMore >>
The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban of openly gay scouts from the organization's activities has hundreds of Louisville scouts and their parents wondering where they will meet.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:56 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:56:14 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY – A large heroin sting took place in the parking lot of a Dairy Queen. According to an LMPD arrest report, the bust took place last night at the Dairy Queen on Manslick Road. Officers reportedMore >>
Louisville Metro Police have busted a couple for heroin possession at a Louisville area Dairy Queen after they tried to hide the drugs in the floor of their vehicle.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 8:36 PM EDT2013-05-25 00:36:30 GMT
JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - A major drug bust unfolded Friday in a quiet Jeffersonville neighborhood not far from an elementary school. It happened around 2 p.m. at a home in the 3100 block of ClearstreamMore >>
A major drug bust unfolded Friday in a quiet Jeffersonville neighborhood not far from an elementary school. It happened around 2 p.m. at a home in the 3100 block of Clearstream Way.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 8:07 AM EDT2013-05-25 12:07:57 GMT
ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) – An Elizabethtown mother is recovering from serious injuries she suffered when her SUV rolled onto her, pinning her underneath the vehicle. Kentucky State Police said ShannonMore >>
Shannon Gales' 2-year-old daughter was strapped in a car seat inside the vehicle when it overturned, according to Kentucky State Police. More >>