Hurricane Katrina

Le Nguyen: A stormy boat ride

Name: Le Nguyen.

Age: mid-30s (She is not sure because she was orphaned in Vietnam at a young age.)

Location: Biloxi.

Before the storm: Le Nguyen lived in a rented home in Point Cadet and helped her husband, Chau Nguyen, 51, shrimp. She was about five months pregnant with twins.

How did you survive the storm? They chose to ride out the storm aboard their boat on the Industrial Canal. Le and Chau lost everything except the clothes on their backs and had a horrifying ordeal aboard their shrimp boat during the storm. They ended up living aboard the damaged vessel for some time. Even after they got the boat working, they were forced to live under an overpass of Interstate 10 for a while until their FEMA trailer was delivered.

How are you surviving now? Le lost her twins after the storm. She said she had very little energy and could not sustain her pregnancy.

The bank also threatened to repossess their boat because of outstanding debt.

Eventually, the Nguyens got things in order. FEMA, the Red Cross and other large aid agencies helped them get food and clothes. Friends and Boat People SOS, a Vietnamese community organization, provided enough loans for them to not lose their boat. Even a kindly construction worker or two near where their boat is docked at the Hard Rock Casino has lent them a hand in their recovery.

Now, they shrimp with their boat - which is still a work in progress - as often as they can and use all profits to repay their friends and fix the boat.

"Once I get my boat fixed, I can take care of myself," Le said.

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