Going Back Again

Families from New Orleans who evacuated before Hurricane Katrina hit were allowed back home to get their belongings for the first time Monday.

The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphy followed one of the families on their emotional trip home.

Eager to return, Michael and Wendy Wood were on the road long before the sun rose. They were going home for the first time in more than a week.

"We don't know what to expect and, as we inch closer, I'm getting a little bit excited in anticipation of what we're going to find," Wendy Wood says. "Finally, we'll know what happened."

Many chose main roads, which were snarled in traffic. The Woods took a back road, which proved smart. They were also smart about stocking up: Flashlights, gloves and one last item that was a struggle for them to buy.

"We did purchase a firearm while in Baton Rouge," Michael Wood says. "We concluded that home is not exactly going to be the same for a long, long time."

As the sky lit up with the morning sun, images the Woods had only seen in pictures came to life, and Wendy Wood began to worry more about her own house.

"I just want to get a look at things, so I think I'll feel much better then," she says. "I'm really anxious."

After two hours on the road, they finally arrived in their neighborhood. Overall, it didn't look as bad as they'd feared. Trees were down and the yard was a mess, but the streets were dry and their home was intact.

"Well, I guess we made it through," Wendy Wood says.

It wasn't until they walked on the carpet, that they realized their home had flooded — and not just a little. "At least a foot, if not more," Wendy Wood says.

Reality had changed. So they did what they could, emptied the refrigerator and packed up the things they needed as well as things that mattered to their kids. Then, they said goodbye — for now, but not forever.
  • Tatiana Morales

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