By: Erin Hollenkamp
It’s been three years since Hurricane Katrina smashed into New Orleans, flattening homes, tearing apart families and friends, killing over 1,800 people and racking up billions of dollars in damages. It has taken the area a long time to get back on its feet, and just when it seems as though the good ol’ Orleans is back, hurricane season is hurtling Gustav and other tropical-storms-soon-to-be-hurricanes at Louisiana’s coast.
Despite the efforts of volunteers and money donations from across the nation and world, families are still not back up on their feet, and the struggle dozen’t seem to be getting better, reported CNN. The Murray family was lucky to the survive the hurricane in one piece, but they are not out of the storm yet – another one is brewing as Ricky Murray’s wife, Iris, is considering a divorce.
The Murrays returned to their home in Slidell, LA after Katrina only to find that eight feet of floodwater had left the home totally uninhabitable. While Murray works on repairing the home, the family is living in a FEMA trailer that is entirely too small for a family of five. In the past year, Murray has also lost his job and suffered a heart attack that was partially brought on by stress. And now his wife of 16 years is talking about getting a divorce.
Before the hurricane, Murray claims that the couple never had problems and fights. The tight space of the FEMA trailer has put everyone on edge, and Iris feels that the children aren’t be raised as they should because of the lack of space. Although Murray has worked hard, his limited finances have kept the family in the trailer during the renovation of their house.
Although statistics have been kept for anything Katrina-related, including number of deaths, injuries and destroyed or damaged homes, there is nothing about how the hurricane has affected the number of divorces in the state.
According to Murray, many of the family’s friends and people they grew up with have separated or gotten divorced because of Katrina. Although there are resources for couples in need, there is a lot of sadness among people that seems irreparable.
The Murrays have gone through counseling, seeking help through their church and Volunteers of America, but things still aren’t getting back on track as they hoped. Kay Taylor, an outreach worker with the organization, told CNN that overall there are a lot of couples arguing. Both domestic violence and the suicide rate are up in the region.
Pastor Ray Cannata agreed with Taylor. He took a job at a Presbyterian church in New Orleans a week before Katrina hit, reported CNN. Cannata says he has been spending more of his time counseling couples than ever before. In many of the cases he deals with, Cannata says people are choosing to walk away instead of dealing with the problems.
Couples filing for divorce must live apart for 180 days prior to ruling.
Learn more by about Louisiana divorce law.