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Lively family has reason to be thankful

BY KEITH LACEY [email protected] Allison Moisan was near tears Thursday morning searching through the rubble in her New Orleans home for the second time since Hurricane Katrina destroyed it six weeks ago.
BY KEITH LACEY

Allison Moisan was near tears Thursday morning searching through the rubble in her New Orleans home for the second time since Hurricane Katrina destroyed it six weeks ago.

Allison and Ray Moisan escaped the hurricane but their home and belongings are destroyed and their lives have been turned upside down.
?I?m in the middle of going through the house to see if we can salvage anything,? said Moisan, 31, speaking on her cellphone from her New Orleans home.

?I don?t have a lot of time to speak to you because we?ve been told it?s still not safe to be here for any length of time.?

Not only did Hurricane Katrina destroy the home the Sudbury native shares with her husband, Ray, but, for the time being, halted her dream to
become a doctor.

Moisan is only weeks away from completing her PhD studies in reproductive biology at Louisiana State University.

Moisan is a graduate of Laurentian University. She obtained her master?s degree from the University of Guelph before moving to the United States three years ago to continue her studies.

Moisan, the daughter of former Walden mayor and regional councillor Alex Fex, is currently a student at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Moisan was working at a research centre in New Orleans to complete her doctorate.

She and her husband, like one million other residents, evacuated the region prior to Hurricane Katrina landing and stayed with friends in Houston when it hit hard, said Moisan.

They packed their clothes, two cats, her research materials, some of her husband?s important work papers and left hoping for the best, she said.
The devastation to their home and the entire area is beyond words, she said.

?You really can?t explain what?s happened here,? she said. ?The damage is just unbelievable.?

Because of heavily polluted water and toxic sludge that has covered most of the city, she and her husband were told to get shots for hepatitis, tetanus. worries about e-coli contamination are real six weeks later, she said.

In terms of completing her education, she says she has deeper concerns right now.

?I was very close to finishing, but I can?t complete my research right now, so I really don?t know what?s going to happen,? she said. ?Right now, we?re just trying to get life back to as normal as possible. We have other things we have to take care of right now before I can even start to think about what I?m going to do with my studies.?

While New Orleans remains a virtual ghost town, numerous businesses are up and running in most outlying communities as clean water and power are back, she said.

Life will return to normal, although most acknowledge it?s going to take several months and probably a couple of years before that happens, she said.

She and husband have decided they are going to return to Canada to live in the Greater Toronto Area where she hopes to resume her studies to complete her PhD within the next year or so.

Her father said he was never concerned about his daughter?s health and safety because they evacuated the area well before the hurricane hit.

?But we couldn?t get in touch for her for a brief period of time after the hurricane and that was bothersome,? he said.

After a traumatic event like losing your home and most of your personal possessions, reality sets in and the next little while is going to be very difficult, said Fex.

That?s why he, his wife, Erna and children want to remain in close contact with Allison.

?Now that reality has set in and the shock has worn off, it can be very trauamatic,? he said. ?This is the period where they?re going to need a lot of support.?

He is happy his daughter and son-in-law are moving back to Canada and will only be a few hours away.

?Yeah, I have to admit that?s going to be nice,? he said. ?We?re going to make a real point of making plenty of visits while they get back on their feet. Allison and Ray have a lot of things to sort out and we?ll be there for them when they need us.?

Allison?s sister Michelle, who attends Laurentian, said she?s just glad her sister and brother-in-law are in good health.

?When something this tragic happens, you forget about material things and you?re just happy they?re OK,? she said. ?I?m really looking forward to
seeing them...they?re supposed to come home in two or three weeks.?



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