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Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

ST. BERNARDPARISH, La. -- The massive Michoud complex is like a small city, but there's only one hairdresser. Julie Vicknair cuts the hair of the rocket scientists, and anybody else.

'I found a career that would work for me, where I could talk all day long, and cut hair all day long,' she said with a grin.

We met Julie in October, 2005, when she and nine year old son Jesse manned had a barber chair under a tent at a Chalmette emergency aid station.

'It's been non stop,' Vicknair said then. 'I get here about 8:30 in the morning, I stay here until about 6:30, and it does not stop.'

Julie and Jesse didn't evacuate, and when their home flooded, lived in a tent.

'Five feet of water inside my house, mud, every single thing was destroyed,' Jesse recalled. 'We had to rebuild from nothing.'

'They were pretty tough, I have to say, I gutted my own house,' Julie said

It's been nine long years. To survive,Julie had many careers, opening another beauty parlor, a cafe,and a small boutique. She even drove passenger buses.

'And I went to work for the St. Bernard Parish School Board for a few years driving a school bus, three runs a day in the morning, three runs in the evening, five days a week, and I would cut hair at home,' she said.

'Just the devastation was terrible,' said New Orleans native Roy Stouder. 'I got stationed back here right around that time.'

Julie is reconnecting with customers she had before Katrina, like Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Roy Stouder.

'Oh she does very well, I've been coming to her for about six months,' he said.

For Julie, it's been a long journey since cutting hair under that tent after Hurricane Katrina to cutting hair for the rocket scientists here at Michoud. But one thing was certain, she was never going to let Katrina win. She's one tough lady.

'I always just do what I have to do, and I make the most of it, and I'm really happy,' she said.

'She's an inspiration to everyone, especially to me,' said Jesse. 'To this day? For the rest of my life.'

And she's done it all while keeping that smile and sense of humor.

'When I said I was doing this interview, my best friend made a comment that 'I hope it's a mini-series, because you sure are long winded,' Julie said with a laugh.

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