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Hurricane Katrina victim from Louisville devastated for those suffering through Ida

Richard Slawsky had to bulldoze his house because of damage from Hurricane Katrina (2005).
Richard Slawsky had to bulldoze his house because of damage from Hurricane Katrina (2005).(Richard Slawsky)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana. Some people ended up in Kentucky after the catastrophic 2005 storm forced them to leave the Bayou State forever.

Richard Slawsky left his house in Chalmette during Katrina and said he could not go back for at least a month because of dangerous conditions.

“The smell was horrendous,” he said. “There had been a big oil spill in our neighborhood. So, rotted food, crude oil, and decomposing animals and so forth. It was just terrible.”

Slawsky said he decided to bulldoze everything and after about 20 years living in the New Orleans area, the devastation brought him back to Louisville, where he grew up. He’s been in Kentucky ever since.

“My wife and I have four kids, and it was just about time (for them) to go to school and everything,” he said. “So, there was no way that we could stay in Louisiana and live in a travel trailer.”

Slawsky knows what the victims of Hurricane Ida will face — no power, no running water, and huge amounts of debris.

“At this point, you don’t know what to do,” he said. “You can’t take your kids back to a house that’s not going to have electricity for three to four weeks. So, I think they’re still trying to assess the damage and figure out what they’re going to do from here.”

He wished the New Orleans area good luck with its recovery, something that has been ongoing for 16 years now.

“The rebuilding has not quite gotten back to the level that it was prior to Katrina, so we’re still waiting on that,” Slawsky said. “There are parts of town that are still struggling, but it was coming back, so hopefully this won’t be a major setback for the city.”

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