When Katrina hit and the levees burst, Joyce Green's house was surrounded by water. Joyce and six members of her family—including her sons Robert and David—scrambled to the roof to escape the flood. "It looked like Lake Pontchartrain down here," Robert remembers.
The water rose so high that it lifted the house and swept it down the street. According to Robert, when the house finally crashed into a tree and ripped apart, Joyce fell through a hole into the water. Her son Jonathan was able to pull her out and resuscitate her, but she eventually died, Robert says.
"The last image I had of my mother was [of her] laying on her back with a leaf in her mouth. Dead from the water that went in her lungs," he says.
Robert's 3-year-old granddaughter, Shenae, also died in the floodwaters. "She was just too small to fight," he says. Shenae's body was recovered, but Joyce was lost in the debris.