North Texas

Texas Floods Bring Back Painful Memories For Katrina Survivors

Hurricane Harvey is stirring strong memories for many who survived and escaped Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The similarities of the images from both storms are a somber reminder of a scary and uncertain time.

"There were days where there is always questioning. Not, 'God, whether you're right or not,' but, 'God, whether we're going to make it or not,'" Pastor Edward Spears recalled.

Edwards and his family evacuated New Orleans for what they thought would be a brief time to Atlanta. When they saw the scope of the destruction from Katrina, they met up with more family members and headed to North Texas.

"Five families plus the family that live there, all living in a little house in Arlington," Spears said.

Now, he is the director of Adult Education for the Fort Worth Independent School District and started Faith and Love Church of God in Christ in Fort Worth.

"You've got to leave where it's comfortable in order to become whatever really designed you to be," he said.

Like many, the news reports from Houston of Harvey's destruction are causing a bit of Katrina PTSD for the Spears family.

"We've been watching the weather map, but not necessarily the weather footage, because it is very reminiscent. It is a little too close," he said.

He remembers vividly the feeling of helplessness in those early days.

"That was not only a catastrophic failure of the dams, but a catastrophic failure of structural government," Spears said. "Where our government failed, our people didn't."

Spears thinks we've learned a lot about dealing with disasters from Katrina.

"Being prepared for an emergency is more than having a checklist. It is understanding human capital, understanding human casualty and understanding human need," he said. "When you put all those things together, it's more than just having a warehouse full of trailers that don't work."

Though he can't bring himself to watch all the footage, he knows their loss and prays for the people of South Texas.

"In all the languages in all the world and all the dialects, there are no words for what it feels like," he said.

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