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10 Years After Hurricane Katrina, Randy Adams Still Counts His Blessings


Randy Adams, 10 years ago, while the streets of New Orleans were flooded and tens of thousands of people had fled, including Randy and his family, including their dogs. They took refuge at a Red Roof Inn in Memphis, and we were struck by Randy's determination, his cheer, his care for others, beginning with his family, and his love for his city.

Lots of our listeners were moved to hear Randy, who has lived through the loss of his home, strains on his family, health challenges, lack of work and a hometown turned upside down. Our lives have been richer since then because we check in with Randy Adams now and then. So 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, our friend Randy Adams joins us again from member station WWNL in New Orleans. Randy, how are you?

RANDY ADAMS: I'm doing wonderful, Scott, thank you. It's wonderful to chat with you again.

SIMON: And when you say you're doing wonderful, run that down for us. What are the blessings you're counting now?

ADAMS: Too many to count. Work is in abundance. My house is completely rebuilt. In fact, it's time to renovate again 'cause it's been 10 years. You know, just things are better than they were before.

SIMON: You know, I bet a month doesn't go by - and it's been more frequently in recent days because of the anniversary - that somebody doesn't ask me about you.

ADAMS: Well, thank them for caring and thinking about me from the bottom of my heart. You know, I'll never forget it.

SIMON: How are you about this anniversary?

ADAMS: It's twofold, I guess. On one side, we're happy; we're cheering; we're smiling; you know, life has returned. Everything is good. And on the other side, you know, it's somber. We're sad, you know, to bring back the memories, to recollect all those things and to almost live it again, not quite as we did the first time but to feel that pain again and to feel those emotions. But mostly we stay focused on the positive. But I don't think anyone will ever be able to forget.

SIMON: I mean, I remember when we talked 10 years ago, nine years ago - I don't mind saying it's important for me that people remember it wasn't always so clear that you could pick up your life again. I mean, a lot of stuff got busted.

ADAMS: Oh, absolutely. You know, there was a time I was filled with doubt. I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure what was the next step. Kept my faith, kept believing in God and my fellow Americans, and brick by brick, we put it back together, literally. And difficult doesn't mean impossible, you know, it just means difficult. But the city I live in, you know, all these people around here, all of south Louisiana are very resilient people. You know, we have a never-give-up, never-give-in, never-say-die attitude.

SIMON: The city is different now, I gather, isn't it?

ADAMS: I tell you what's the main thing you notice now. We were a city that took a lot for granted, happy-go-lucky. We don't take so much for granted anymore. We stop to appreciate everything. You know, we talk about it, we think about it, we vocalize it, we make it known. You know, everything - we appreciate everything now. And we're not afraid to stop and talk to people we don't know in the streets and say, hey, how are you? How's your family? How's your mom? You know, and take a few minutes to appreciate all that God has given back to us.

SIMON: Our friend, Randy Adams, in New Orleans. Thanks so much, Randy. Talk to you soon.

ADAMS: Yes, sir. Thank you, Scott. Truly love talking to you guys.

SIMON: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.