Esther, a police dispatcher, and Nathan, an art teacher, have been married 27 years. Their new home is their first opportunity to own after years of renting. Back in New Orleans, their second floor apartment was a gathering spot for their three children and 10 grandchildren.
While they rode out the storm in a high-rise building, their home was flooded under 12 feet of water. They spent a few uncertain days traveling around the area before fleeing to Houston.
Recently, Esther and Nathan returned to their old neighborhood, which is now a ghost town. Their apartment was so damaged it was barely safe to enter. Nathan was devastated to see a lifetime of treasures destroyed. Some of his favorite pieces of art were ruined, including a portrait of Esther. Cherished family photographs were missing—even Esther and Nathan's wedding album was nowhere to be found.
"I said goodbye in my heart in there," Nathan said after seeing his home in ruins. "I'm glad I don't have to come here again."