Katrina survivors asks for patience if Harvey evacuees arrive in - Tucson News Now

Katrina survivors asks for patience if Harvey evacuees arrive in Tucson

Jerome Hubbard, got a fresh start in Tucson after Hurricane Katrina. (Source: Tucson News Now) Jerome Hubbard, got a fresh start in Tucson after Hurricane Katrina. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

As pictures, videos and live streams of the destruction after Harvey hit Texas, Jerome Hubbard is reminded of what he endured in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Hubbard's family rode out the storm and flood waters together, but they wound up separated when it came time to evacuate the city. He knows what people in Texas are going through now and he has an idea of what's still ahead of them.

"It's so much going on now, it's just about surviving," he said. "It's about having what you need and that you have those around you and they're alright."

Harvey's arrival has Hubbard's coworkers interested once again in the stories of how he slept under a bridge outside New Orleans, escaped a government shelter in Arkansas and eventually reunited with his loved ones back in Louisiana.

The reunion didn't last long. Hubbard set out for Arizona, where some of the only information he knew about the state was that his uncle lived there. Hubbard has lived in Tucson for more than a decade. He said it took some time for him to relax again.

"I got to being around people and I got to talk to people and I knew it's okay," he said. "I don't have to be on edge and I don't have to be on guard at all times."

His advice to anyone leaving their homes in Texas is to keep an open mind. He said there are few chances to start fresh and he's grateful to have found friends and a life in Tucson.

"I love it here," said Hubbard. "I've had a ball since I've been here."

He said Tucson has a "big, small town" feel. Hubbard asked that the same community that made him feel welcome so many years ago remember its patience if and when families and individuals arrive from Texas.

"I'm not going to say 'tolerate irrational behavior', but just understand that they just came from a chaotic experience," he said. "Just try to be understanding."

Hubbard didn't need to rely on the shelter established at the Tucson Convention Center when he arrived in Tucson, but approximately 100 people did. City spokeswoman Lane Mandle said no out-of-state requests for shelter had been received as of Monday evening.

Those requests would go to the state, the county and then they city, according to Mandle.

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