New Orleans Resident Stranded in Coastal Empire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/31/05

New Orleans Resident Stranded in Coastal Empire

Bessie Higgins Bessie Higgins

While some are still trying to escape Katrina, other people were already away from home and now can't go back. Last night, we spoke with an evacuee from New Orleans who never thought her family visit might be a long exile here in the Coastal Empire.

Bessie Higgins knows nothing about her house, her family and friends, and she says she has never felt so helpless.

We've all seen the devastating images Katrina has left behind, but no one has been glued to her television set more than Higgins. "It's terrible," she said. "It's really terrible."

This 75-year-old lives in Belle Chase, Louisiana, ten miles from downtown New Orleans. She came to the Coastal Empire two weeks ago to visit her family. Little did she know that may have been the last time she saw her house, her friends and family. "I have friends I know never left," she told us.

Higgins worries about the house she lived in for the last 45 years and the spot she buried her husband more than two years ago. "It's hard, it's a bad, bad situation."

Thousands of people are still stranded on rooftops or attics awaiting rescue in the Big Easy. Officials say rescue boats are having to leave the dead floating in the waters in order to get to those still alive. But Higgins says she tries not to think about that.

"You can't dwell on that, you have to dwell on friends and neighbors you don't know, if they got out and what happened," she said.

Higgins adds the worst part is not knowing what to expect when she goes back home, or even knowing when she can go back home. "It's hard to go to sleep at night."

As of last night, the Coast Guard said it had already rescued 1,200 people stranded by high water spawned by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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