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He Survived Hurricane Katrina. Now He’s Had To Leave Houston

John Livious started over in Houston after being evacuated from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Now, flooding has forced him to leave this new city.

Debbie Elliott/NPR


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Debbie Elliott/NPR

John Livious started over in Houston after being evacuated from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Now, flooding has forced him to leave this new city.

Debbie Elliott/NPR

Much of Beaumont, Texas, is an island, with vital roads cut off by floodwaters.

John Livious is station in front of a hotel, looking out as rescue trucks navigate a flooded highway in. Conditions here are removing worse.

“Winds picking up. Rain removing heavier. Water rising. Very bad sight,” he says. “Wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”

Livious came here to shun rising H2O in Houston early Sunday. Evacuating was an easy call, he says.

“Gotta go with your gut,” Livious says. “After what we experienced, we ain’t climbing by no integument and watchful for no vessel to come get me off a roof again. Period.”

Twelve years ago, Livious was 18 and vital in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward when Hurricane Katrina struck and a levees failed. Catastrophic flooding sent thousands of charge refugees, like Livious, to Houston. Now, that city is gripped by a inauspicious flood.

“Unbearable, since it’s like déjà vu,” he says. “Witnessing a same thing again.”

The scars feel fresh, of those initial days in a Katrina disaster.

“Trying to stay that additional day or dual incited into 10 feet of water, 9 feet of water,” Livious recalls. “So this time around we did wish to get away, that we did kick a inundate in Houston. Thank God for that. But now, we’re stranded in Beaumont.”

He’s stranded here, though behind in Houston, it’s worse.

“Area that we’re staying during is totally underwater,” he explains. “But we were means to get memories out this time. Because that’s what we didn’t save in New Orleans — like cinema and stuff. So we got memories out since that’s something we can’t reinstate no matter what.”

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He is disturbed about his mother, who left with him and is staying during another hotel opposite a flooded roadway. They were among a estimated 250,000 Katrina refugees who finished adult in Houston. As many as 40,000 stayed, including Livious’ family. He says his mom started over in Houston 12 years ago, though now, they’re behind to block one.

“That’s another tough thing,” Livious says. “It’s kinda opposite when we pierce to a city or state when we have family already. But to pierce to a city or state where we only know no one? That’s different.”

But they did it.

“We did it. Absolutely. It’s America. Home of a brave. You gotta figure it out,” he says. “No other approach around it. Just gotta pray, hang together, get your conduct adult and only get by it.”

Livious says he is a survivor and that a people being discovered in Houston right now will get there too. But he warns it takes time.

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“The hardest thing … what we know they don’t wish to hear right now, is they have to be patient,” he says. “You couldn’t tell me that in 2005 — to be studious when I’m stranded in a Superdome or when we got to Houston and stranded in a Astrodome. But we have to be patient.”

Now, as Tropical Storm Harvey’s torrent has incited to Louisiana, Livious is examination closely. His 4 sons live in New Orleans with their mother.