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Two and a half years later, Fannie and her family became some of the thousands of people left homeless by Hurricane Katrina. "When we found out Katrina was coming, I was able to pile 12 of my relatives into the van that Oprah gave me and we were able to get out," Fannie said. Before evacuating, Fannie made sure to take her prized tiara. "Being the van was as crowded as it was with kids, I didn't want it stepped on, so I put it on," she said. "I made sure it was safe."

Fannie and her family returned to New Orleans three months later to find their neighborhood and home destroyed. "We lost everything," she said. "All we had left was the bricks and the floor."