Katrina Has Far-reached Effects

MILTON | Friday, September 02, 2005

Even though the destruction of Hurricane Katrina is 1,100 miles away, the devastation and tragedy have been felt locally. Billy Quirk, owner of House Doctors, is originally from Louisiana and traveled to the area before the storm hit to visit his mother. His mother’s house is just an hour northwest of New Orleans, but Quirk said it was lucky and didn’t receive anywhere near the damage that New Orleans did.

Quirk knew the storm might hit Louisiana when he landed in New Orleans Aug. 26.

“After I landed in New Orleans on Friday I got out of there as quick as I could,” he said.

“We only had about 40 mph winds where we were.” He said after the storm he saw masses of people fleeing the city. “When you evacuate over one million people, it is just total chaos,” he said. “There were people everywhere - just living in Wal-Mart parking lots.” He said after the first wave of evacuations it seemed like everything was going to be all right and start getting back to normal. But then the levee broke, flooding the city and surrounding areas.

“When the levee busted, the whole city had to be evacuated,” he said. “It was a mad house. All the poor people were left there because they couldn’t get out of the city,” he said. “It’s just terrible.” A friend Quirk used to work with in Louisiana called him and described the rescue operation as numbing and hard to take. “Some people who were there described bodies floating everywhere and red Xs on houses where families died inside,” said Quirk, who returned to Sussex County Aug. 31. “I was just happy to get back.”

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