Locals look back at Hurricane Katrina after 10 years

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Exactly 10 years ago, Hurricane Katrina battered the gulf coast and flooded 80 percent of New Orleans when the levees failed,

The flooding killed more than 1,800 people and many, many more were evacuated, some of those by plane.

One of the first planes to leave New Orleans arrived here in West Michigan. Almost 200 people lived in the barracks of Fort Custer for nearly a month trying to figure out what was next.

Carmen Montano said she waited out the storm in the apartment she'd lived in for years not wanting to leave her two cats behind.

She was stranded there alone without power or a phone for 11 days. Her son, Dwian Montano, stationed in Virginia at the time, left thinking she was dead.

She said it was that 11th day she was rescued by helicopter by the National Guard, forced to leave everything behind other than two bags of clothing.

She was then relocated to Battle Creek, and eventually put up in an apartment in Kalamazoo.

She said despite all the time that's gone by, she still remembers the horror of the hurricane and everything that was lost in the storm.