ST. BERNARD, La. - The rain did not stop St. Bernard Parish residents from attending a very special funeral Saturday afternoon, as the entire community said goodbye to Hurricane Katrina as it looks forward to its future.
“We've really had a rough time," said Susan Showalter.
Showalter, like so many St. Bernard Parish residents, has spent the last five years rebuilding, her home, her life, her peace of mind.
Her grief is shared by so many who fought to keep both the community and their own families together.
Hurricane Katrina took all that she and her family had but, like all of these parish residents, she says she had no choice but to come back after the storm.
"I was baptized here, I was married here, my kids were in school here," she said.
Saturday, though, five years after hurricane Katrina, they are all getting a chance to move forward by leaving Katrina behind.
The entire community held a funeral for the storm, placing their written memories, angers and frustrations into a Katrina casket, symbolizing their desire to stop dwelling on their losses, and start embracing their opportunities.
"Now we can put Katrina behind us and move forward," said Joey DiFatta."I think the people were ready for this."
Susan Showalter certainly is. "I said, goodbye, good riddance. Please don't cause havoc like this to anyone ever again."
Residents say one thing is certain, no matter what is thrown at this community, it's resolve is unquestionable, even if the material things are taken away.
"You can't take what makes St. Bernard what it is,” said DiFatta. It's our people, and as long as our people are here, this will be the best community in the world."
And St. Bernard has come a long way.
Parish President Craig Taffaro says that over the past five years, the parish has been able to put almost a billion dollars of essential services like fire stations and schools back into play and the parish's population, which was at 68,000before the storm, is back up to nearly 45,000.