Hurricane Katrina

Tanya Taylor: Home, but struggling

Name: Tanya Taylor.

Age: 39.

Location: Bay St. Louis.

Before the storm: Five generations of Taylor's family have lived in Bay St. Louis. Taylor and her husband, Dave, were living with their five children on Union Street.

How did you survive the storm? When Hurricane Katrina's storm surge began creeping under their front door, the couple decided to try to outrun the saltwater. Their Suburban was swept away by rolling waves along U.S. 90 and the family was trapped on the roof of the vehicle. As the SUV floated past the county's emergency-operations center, Bay investigator Tom Burleson and others swam out to rescue the family. The Taylors later nominated Burleson for a community service award.

How are you surviving now? Tanya has been in and out of hospitals, battling Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that causes prolonged episodes of pain and affects the skin, joints, kidneys and blood. After a brief stay in Florida, the family returned in November when schools in the Bay reopened. They are living in FEMA travel trailers while workers repair their home. The Taylors' Suburban was destroyed and they now drive an old police cruiser someone gave them after the storm.

"Every day is a struggle," Tanya said. "Sometimes it seems like we go one step forward and two steps back, but we have all been forced to roll up our sleeves and keep at it."

- RYAN LaFONTAINE

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