Tucsonan reflects on Hurricane Katrina as Tropical Storm Barry hits his hometown

Tucsonan reflects on Hurricane Katrina as Tropical Storm Barry hits his hometown
Jerome Hubbard relocated to Tucson from New Orleans 13 years ago after Hurricane Katrina. (Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - People in New Orleans and across the state of Louisiana are riding out Tropical Storm Barry, and the feeling is all too familiar for one Tucson resident.

Jerome Hubbard relocated to Tucson from New Orleans 13 years ago after Hurricane Katrina.

KOLD News 13 spoke with Hubbard about his family, friends and what comes to mind every time he sees the storms coming.

"Those lines are the high water lines, so ya know, think about that, completely over the car," said Hubbard, as he shifts through pictures of his old neighborhood, the memories come flooding back. "This is down the street from them. They had a boat wash up on the sidewalk.

Tales of extreme sacrifice and hardship in the days following Katrina. Thoughts that he cannot escape as his home state braces for yet another major storm.

"I talked with my mom this morning," said Hubbard. "They are just riding it out. It's one of those things they've been through numerous storms."

None quite like Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

"When something like this happens, thats the first thing that comes to mind is ya know, is it going to be as bad," according to Hubbard. "I watched my grandmother get airlifted out by the Coast Guard, then my mom and I got airlifted a couple of days later."

"It really was like being in a movie, we just kept thinking this can't be happening," said Hubbard, who spent time living under a bridge on rations with hundreds of others who were stranded. Going weeks without seeing his family or knowing if they had made it. He said in 2019 people living in Louisiana are as prepared as ever.

"People watch the weather like they watch sports. They stocked up, of course they are taking all the precautionary measures, and making sure things are bunkered down."

Tucson though is a far cry from one of the rainiest areas of the country. Hubbard says he loves monsoon season even more than most.

"I pulled over in hard rains a couple of times and just watched it because it brings me home," said Hubbard, reminding him of a time when rain had a much different meaning.

"That's where I go, mentally and emotionally," said Hubbard. "That's where I go."

Hubbard goes home to New Orleans several time a year, but says he does not plan on leaving Tucson or the desert any time soon.

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