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Stacey Bruno

Stacey Bruno

Hurricane Katrina Survivor

Born: New Orleans, LA, United States
Heritage: African American

Don’t take anything for granted. Stay in school. Be nice to one another and talk to your neighbors.

Stacey Bruno

Hurricane Katrina Survivor

My name is Stacey Bruno. I moved to New Orleans when I was four years old. I have a husband and two children. I have one sister and she has four kids.

Right before the storm, everybody was watching the news. People thought Katrina wasn’t going to be that big. The night before the storm my sister called me up on the phone. She was getting scared and said, “I think we should leave!” It was a restless night. It was raining. Late that evening there was a commercial on T.V. where this guy said, “Make the right decision.” I took it as a message to leave.

Later that day, at 7 o’clock, we began evacuating. We packed the bare minimum, including a little clothing and one toy per child. Before we left, the kids kissed their toys goodbye. When they went back to their room they said, “We’ll be back.”

My husband, children and I went to pick up my sister. Everybody got in the car. We had to leave through Slidell, Louisiana. It normally takes 30 minutes to drive, but it now took us three hours. The kids are panicking. The storm is eight hours away. We needed to find shelter. When we got to Meridian, Mississippi, there were no hotel vacancies. We started heading to Birmingham. While driving through the storm into Alabama the trees were all coming down. The wind is whipping us around.

We stayed in Birmingham in a hotel that charged us $100 dollars a night. The same hotel room would normally cost $55 dollars.

While watching the news, the kids are crying and don’t know what’s going on. They ask, “Will we see our friends again?” We have family members who stayed in the city. We tried to find out if they are okay. Have they lost their lives?

We called my parents in Minnesota and decided to go to Minnesota to live through this time. It took us 23 hours to get up here. That was a hard ride. Once we got here there was an immediate news story on Channel 11. As I get out of the car I’m hooked up to a microphone. Mr. Greg Lawrence from St. Louis Park heard the story. He kindly donated a house to us to live in for a year. His wife, Janet Lawrence, and their two kids presented us with the home, which is a big old blessing.

We’ve been getting tons of donations. They donated us a mini-van to get around. It snows up here, so people have been giving us quilts, blankets, hats and things. They even donated us bicycles. There’s a beautiful park in the neighborhood. We found a church up here to go to. You have to give God praise!

We’ll be leaving back to New Orleans to see if there’s anything we can salvage. They don’t want kids to come down with us because of the mold. It’s going to be hard. There are so many different things we had to leave behind. We can’t bring everything back. To rent a U-Haul, it costs over $1,000.

It’s very sad. There are all of your life memories, which you can’t replace, like pictures. The pictures my kids drew for me I can’t get back. It’s very emotional.

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Honoring Stacey Bruno


Katrina, why did you
Katrina, why did you destroy my home

I have lived in New Orleans
Since I was four
New Orleans a festive place
The levee outside my door
Creole food and crawfish
My neighborhood was mixed
On the shores of Lake Pontchartrain
The wind began to whip
One time they blew the levee up
To save the rich folks’ homes
To force a flood on the poor
Who had no place to go
Unlike George and Betsy
This flood had no name
Now here comes Katrina
A deadly hurricane
The night before the storm
My sister called me on the phone
She said to me I am scared
I think we should leave our home
The night was dark and restless
When a man came on TV
Said make the right decision
I knew it was time to leave
After my two children
Kissed their toys good-bye
The rain it fell like cats and dogs
We fled in the knick of time
We went to get my sister
With my husband, children, too
Will we live, where to go?
What on earth to do?
Everyone got in the car
We drove straight through Slidell
What once took 30 minutes
Took three hours of rain and hail
We rode the storm through Birmingham
They charged 100 bucks a night
For a fifty-five dollar room
That just ain’t right
We watched the news on T.V.
The kids began to cry
Will we see our friends again
I hope they didn’t die
Parents lived in Minnesota
Together we did drive
For twenty-three long hours
Thank God we’re still alive
Stepped out of the car
Hooked up to a microphone
When a local businessman
Gave us all a home
Put us on Kare-11
Even on CNN
Live from Minnesota
With all of my new friends

Words by LARRY LONG with Ms. Tolzin’s 6th Grade Class of Cedar Manor School
(St. Louis Park, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2005 / BMI

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