The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Hurricane Katrina survivor gets new lease on life at TCC

Eight+years+ago%2C+South+Campus+student+Ashton+Myles+fled+New+Orleans+and+eventually+relocated+in+Fort+Worth+after+losing+friends+and+family+members+during+Hurricane+Katrina.%0APhoto+by+Haylie+Jones%2FThe+Collegian
Eight years ago, South Campus student Ashton Myles fled New Orleans and eventually relocated in Fort Worth after losing friends and family members during Hurricane Katrina. Photo by Haylie Jones/The Collegian

By Anderson Colemon/south news editor

Eight years ago, South Campus student Ashton Myles fled New Orleans and eventually relocated in Fort Worth after losing friends and family members during Hurricane Katrina. Photo by Haylie Jones/The Collegian
Eight years ago, South Campus student Ashton Myles fled New Orleans and eventually relocated in Fort Worth after losing friends and family members during Hurricane Katrina.
Photo by Haylie Jones/The Collegian

Rebuilding his life was the objective in Ashton Myles’ mind after Hurricane Katrina robbed him of some of his family and friends. Now, he looks toward a brighter future as a TCC student.

The hurricane that occurred eight years ago has been considerably life-changing for Myles, he says. But what affects him most is the part of the past he won’t get back.

“It was devastating,” Myles said. “All the people you knew and grew up with, you can no longer find because they’re no longer there.”

During the evacuation, both his uncles were killed. All Myles had left was his mother and two siblings. Myles and his family left the quickly deteriorating New Orleans, with a 12-hour car ride that felt like an eternity. 

“The drive was only supposed to take five hours, but it took much longer because of traffic,” he said. “And the gas stations around didn’t have any gas at all.”

The efforts to leave the graphic scenes of Katrina led Myles and his family to relocate to Monroe, La. He described how cell phone service didn’t work for numbers that started with 504, the area code of New Orleans.

He was thankful to have family in Monroe, so he did not have to sleep in conditions like those in the Superdome. His family was provided socks and underwear along with other toiletries.

It took five days for Myles to return to New Orleans, which was in ruins. The city was pitch-black as the utility companies were working to bring power back. At this moment, Myles knew he wanted to start over somewhere else.

The new objective in his life was getting an education, and after attending a school year in New Orleans where he struggled, he later moved to Fort Worth where his mother had relocated and searched for a new school.

“Since I’ve joined TCC, I get a home feeling,” he said. “I’ve been doing excellent in school by making A’s and B’s.”

He said he became involved in organizations that TCC had to offer, like the African-American Association and the Film Club.

He was recommended by South Campus psychology assistant professor Staussa Ervin for an internship with the Fort Worth Sister Cities International, where he is doing marketing and digital media and has his own extension and office.

Myles said he is grateful for where life has brought him.

“I’m in a new place,” he said. “Everywhere I go is a new experience of somewhere I’ve never been, so it makes life exciting.”

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