Family Trusts Boat Full of Strangers to Evacuate Children During Louisiana Flooding

This CrowdRelief Disaster Survivors Story was created for Crystal Autrey by Crystal Autrey who is helping them rebuild their lives. 02/14/2019 4:01 AM

It had been raining for days upon days.  My ex-husband took my car to work that day, and I kept his truck.  I was watching the news and realized he needed to get home.  All of the roads around were closing due to the high water.  Later that night, my step-mother called asking us for help.  Their road floods during storms and always had.  I had another friend call me and I asked her to please call me and wake me up so I could go help my parents. At 6:30 AM, she called.  I walked outside on my porch and talked to her for maybe three minutes.  I came back into the house, got dressed, and we left.  My parents lived 15-20 minutes away from us and it took us 90 minutes to get there that morning.  When we arrived, my mother informed us we needed to go home; the National Guard was evacuating our neighborhood and we had left our children at home.  We made sure they were safe and tried to get us some clothes to have during the evacuation.  We picked up our dog kennels as high as we could lift them, and we left.  The water was waist-deep when we arrived back to our neighborhood.  By the time we left our home and went to get our kids and other family members out of danger, maybe in 15 minutes, I was swimming, the water was so deep.  I remember asking several people if we could put our kids in their boats.  Watching boat after boat pass by, saying "No," I could see my home and the water pouring in through our windows.  Finally, a boat filled with only children came by and allowed us to put our kids in the boat, as well.  The only vehicle we had was our truck.  We had six adults, three children, and three dogs in our truck.  We searched and searched for food and found nothing until about 5 PM.  We spent our last $60 to eat.  My aunt and uncle opened their home to us.  We had three family members living in that neighborhood, all with their own families.  The rest of our family pulled together as much as they could to help us.  For about two weeks, we stayed in a two-person tent with five people.  After that, a friend opened their home to us and we stayed with them until we got into our new home.  It was very hard trying to feed five people with nothing.  As time went by, we did what we needed to do to survive.  We got a home and started building from there.  My ex-husband and I divorced; my children and I will be moving into a trailer by March 1st.  I have a couch, and my oldest daughter has a bed.  We still need three beds, four dressers, a coffee and end tables, night stands, a kitchen table, lamps, TVs and TV stands, dishes, and cooking utensils.  All three of my children need clothes.  We lost everything in the flood.  We have some things, but not much at all.  We have come to learn the difference in material possessions and our lives.  We are happy-- all three kids go to school and make good grades, and we are together.  I have never seen kids bounce back from losing everything they have the way the way my three kids have.  They truly deserve a bed to lay in, a dresser for their clothes, and to be kids again and not to be afraid of losing everything the way they have. 

Photo: 2019 NBC Universal

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Louisiana Flooding Disaster Survivor
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Cajun Navy Foundation
10231 The Grove Blvd Unit 37
Baton Rouge, La 70836

Louisiana Flooding
Recovery Stage
Current Housing Situation
Living In Home
Other Factors