HOUSTON, TX-- Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history, not just in money ($100 billion), but more tragically, in the loss of over 1800 lives. And so many more were affected, like those of Patricia McGinnis and her daughter Jamie Tolliver.
"I really wasn't gonna leave home," recalls McGinnis. "My daughter, she kept calling and insisting. She said, 'No, we need to go.' I said, 'Where are we going? It doesn't ever flood over here on the West Bank. We just get wind damage, and she said, 'No, mama, we need to leave 'cause it's bad.'"
Toliver says it was tough, "Me, my mom, my daughter, my cousin and my two nieces-- there were six of us... I survived off of $156 feeding all six of us for a week."
It sounds like a miracle, but not half the miracle that was to come. "Many days and many nights, I prayed for a better home where I could be warm in the winter and cool in the summer," says McGinnis. "Katrina was a blessing for me because the Lord gave me what I asked for."
Well, the Lord, and Oprah. Patricia and Jamie were both lucky enough to receive homes on Angel Lane, the street here in Houston where Oprah paid to have 65 homes built, solely for Katrina refugees.
To give back, Patricia works at the Angel Lane Community Center. This Saturday, they are planning a big celebration for the 10th anniversary of Katrina. But Patricia doesn't need a big party to know she's blessed. "(We) didn't know where we were gonna go, and then all of a sudden, somebody fixed it up and said, 'You're gonna have a home on Angel Lane. And that's more rewarding than anything God could give us."
Sometimes it takes weathering a storm to find your way home.