Nacogdoches Katrina survivor recalls evacuation ten years later

Nacogdoches Katrina survivor recalls evacuation ten years later

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It's been a decade since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, but for New Orleans evacuee Ilona Girard, it's feels like just yesterday.

"Ten years and it is just poof," said Girard.

Girard and her family thankfully evacuated before the storm hit.

"The storm was moving east, so we decided it was better to turn to west," Girard explained.  "This is the reason we came to Texas."

The family stopped at the first motel they could find with vacancy, which was in a town they never heard of, Nacogodoches. There, they waited to find out what would become of their home and lives in the Big Easy.

"We watched the television and what was happening, what was going to be our destiny and we were very nervous," Girard said.

Girard's sewing business and home were both water-damaged beyond repair. She knew she had to make a decision that would change the her family's life forever.

"I felt really good here in Nacogdoches, so I thought okay, I'm going to stay here," Girard said. "And I'm still here, ten years later!"

Girard opened a new sewing business, The Red Thread, a month after arriving with the help of the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce and the community.

"People just brought me stuff to help me to start and it is really nice," Girard said. "I really appreciated the help from everybody."

Ten years later, Girard is glad she made that stop in the little town she never heard of, that is now her permanent home. She is also  grateful for the giving community she now calls her customers and her friends.

 "I'm really thankful for Nacogdoches because they helped me to restart my life because it was a brand new life," Girard explained. "I'm really happy about it, I really like this whole area, I really like the Oldest Town in Texas!"

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