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Hurricane Katrina survivor sees similarities in Harvey

Tuesday marks 12-year anniversary of historic hurricane

SAN ANTONIO – Zabrina Priestley cannot watch the coverage of Hurricane Harvey for too long. The images of flooding, cars being devoured by water and people being rescued by boats are all too close for comfort.

Sitting in her Northeast Side home she tells the story of how she and her children were rescued from the roofs of their homes too.

So many people are going through the exact same thing that we passed through,” she said. “Just to be so close to the anniversary and here it is another year around the same time, more disaster, more lives being taken by the storm, it's sad.”

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Her faith carried her through the storm and rescue. She remembers the devastation and lives lost. But things got worse when she returned home.

“When I went back to my home that's when it really hit me,” she said.  

Everything was gone, except for the priceless pictures of her grandparents and children she left on top of the dinner table. She believes they floated above water while everything else was swallowed up.

READ MORE: Family escaping Houston flooding left in medical limbo

Alone in a new city she decided to start again in South Texas.

“Although we lost a lot, we gained a lot,” she said. “I gained so many friends, so much love was here in San Antonio.”

Motivated to do more she went back to school and now 12 year later owns her own business, Zabrina’s Jolly Bunch, a day care for children with special needs.  

Tuesday will mark 12 years since Hurricane Katrina slammed in several Gulf Coast states. Priestley said it pains her to see others going through what she suffered through, but she has words of encouragement for them.

“I would tell people now in this situation, just trust God. I know it's hard and it may not feel like nobody is coming but there is help, it's on the way,” she said.


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