From The Archives: Our Personal Katrina Story

Chattanooga (WDEF)  Hurricane Katrina was one of those national stories that quickly became a local one.

We had hundreds of hurricane evacuees seeking refuge in our city.

And just about everyone here got involved in some kind of relief effort for the hurricane zone.

Some even went down to help with the recovery.

But for us, the most personal stories were about the Braxton family.

They came up to Chattanooga from New Orleans with everything they could carry just hours before Katrina hit.

They were sheltering with their daughter, Allision, who was a reporter here at News 12.

Allison would report dozens of stories over the coming months on the impact of the storm in our area.

But none hit home (quite literally) like the one we aired in December of 2005.

That’s when she went home with her parents to see what Katrina did to her childhood home.

So on the 10th anniversary of Katrina, we share with you the story of when Allison went home.

(play it on the left)


Beignets are back at Café Du Monde and traffic rolls past Jax Brewery in the French Quarter.

But less than five minutes away…is my home, the house I was born in, the house where I took my first steps…it’s gone.

This is the water line right there and the mold is just kind of taking over.

My parents Barbara and Barry Braxton evacuated to Chattanooga two days before Hurricane Katrina Hit.

They’ve been there ever since.

Chattanooga has become their second home.

Barbara Braxton – Allison‘s mother  "and they took care of us emotionally during a time when we really needed it."

My parents and I came back to see our home which is located in Gentilly. 

Our molded furniture now sits on the street.

It’s hard to imagine, but among this debris is 36-years worth of my parents memories.

My father was too emotional to talk on camera.

But my mom describes our neighborhood and the home she dearly loved.

Barbara Braxton " what’s left is a shell of our lives. We’ve shared many beautiful memories here you all were born here and it held a lot of good memories, the memories i’ll have, the structure is gone. Everybody owned their owned homes and we’re like one big family i’m the nurse of the community I took care of everybody when they got sick.

And as my mom grieves over her house she also grieves over friends who died in the storm.

Barbara Braxton "I was speaking with a friend of ours and 18-members of that family died in lower nine.

But through it all my family’s spirit is strong.

Our neighbors will return.

And my parents plan to rebuild bigger and better.

"that’s the only way people will get their lives back together."

And my mom is asking on her Chattanooga Family to help her one last time.

"keep praying for us we need all the prayers in New Orleans and also  speak to your political representatives and help us put pressure on them to put those levees at a category five if we can build Iraq back we can build New Orleans and it must be done. Because we can’t be a community lost. I’d like to say to the people of Chattanooga gawd bless you and than you for everything you’re doing and for the other 15-hundred families that are there also.


Allison left News 12 to return to her hometown.

She is still living in New Orleans, raising a family.

In fact, her son is going to kindergarten this fall.

Categories: Bonus Stories

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