After being rescued from her home in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina years ago, Shelia Clayton thought she’d be safe in Arkansas.
But this week, the rising waters of the Arkansas River overspilled their banks in Fort Smith and flooded her apartment. Now she’s reliving the nightmare of losing everything all over again.
Clayton said she was rescued by boat after Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast in 2005 and she and her family were taken to the overcrowded Superdome – which she described as another tragedy.
After that, she moved around Louisiana and then Texas before settling in Fort Smith.
“We’ve been running and still running,” Clayton told CNN Friday.
“And here we go again,” she thought this week, when the water began getting closer to her property and she started sandbagging to keep it at bay. “We thought we were safe here.”
Someone suggested that maybe she could stay on the second floor of her apartment.
“I thought about it and said, ‘Second floor? No, I already got trapped in Katrina and I don’t wanna get trapped again,’ so we gotta go.”
Clayton has three kids, including one who has special needs and another in college. Right now she’s living in her car and said she’s not doing well, emotionally, but she’s trying to stay strong for her children.
“I’m done, I had enough. I don’t think I can take too much more,” Clayton said. “I am just going to walk away and not look back.”
This is the second time she’s lost all of her material belongings, but she’s still thankful.
“We still have our lives. Material things, it don’t really mean nothing to us,” she said. “Let that go, you can always get some more.”
CNN’s Rosa Flores reported from Fort Smith, with Amanda Watts writing in Atlanta.