Starting a new life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2005

Augustine Scott is embarking on one of the biggest adventures of her life.

With a water-logged home, and her children and all of her possessions in Ironton's Storms Creek Apartments, Scott is beginning a one-year stay in southern Ohio.

After Hurricane Katrina swept through her hometown, Scott traveled from a severely flooded Jefferson Parish, La., with her sister, Lekeisha, and her two children Kalia, 5, and Keyina, 4.

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Scott was left without much choice but to seek shelter, as her home would soon be consumed by the flood waters left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"We lived in a townhouse, and they said the water had reached the second floor, so we didn't go back to see anything," Scott said.

At the first word of the coming catastrophe, Scott's family retreated to the New Orleans Convention Center. It was comfortable when they arrived, but crowds quickly changed that.

"It was OK for the first couple of days because there weren't that many people," Scott said. "But then a lot of people showed up and it was a lot of havoc. It was just miserable."

When the announcement came that the CAO was looking to transplant some evacuees to Ironton, Scott knew that this was her opportunity.

"I was like 'I have to leave, I have to go,'" Scott said. "When I heard the announcement I just said, 'I'm going to try it.'"

Although the decision may have been quick, it certainly wasn't easy. Scott, who had never left Louisiana save to travel to Mississippi, was entering a brave new world.

"I was nervous, I was crying, I didn't know what to expect," Scott said.

"I saw a deer for the first time in a while. I haven't seen a deer in a while before," Scott said. "The only ones I've seen have been at the zoo. My children were like 'Look at the hills, look at the mountains.'"

Although the natural beauty of the area was striking, what has truly impressed Scott about her time in Ohio are the people that populate it.

"We appreciate the people, I love these people to death, they are so nice," Scott said. "They've welcomed us with open arms, and everything we need they've come through with it."

Right now, Scott is planning on staying for a year to test the waters in Ironton. Her children will be registered for school this week, and if she feels comfortable here in 12 months time, this will be their home.

It is a big adjustment for the Scotts, especially with all the family they've ever known still in Louisiana. But Scott already has a plan to take care of homesickness.

"My family has already said that they'll come down for Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the holidays," Scott said.