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Anderson visits Our Lady of Guadalupe Church outside New Orleans for the memorial service of Ethel, an 82-year-old mother whose story gained national attention after a CNN special report.

In August, Ethel and her daughter Patricia were forced to evacuate their home when the floodwaters started rising. Patricia feared this day, she says. "I stayed up all night...as I was watching Katrina come in, I was praying," Patricia says. "I was saying, 'Oh lord, this may be the one.'"

Ethel's arthritis made it difficult to walk, so Patricia says she and her siblings loaded her on a hospital bed and began pushing her down Highway I-10 to escape the rising waters. "My momma...she had a look I would never forget," Patricia tells Anderson. "She was so scared—that look on her face was so frightening."

In the heat and confusion of the evacuation, Ethel's condition worsened and she had a stroke. Medical personnel rushed Ethel into a helicopter—without identification or any family members.

Ethel died two days later. Her children had no idea where she was.
FROM: An Oprah Special Report: The Katrina Stories No One is Telling
Published on February 21, 2006


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