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With hardly a chance to settle, family flees

September 18, 2005|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO

Boonsboro native Stacy Nicastro lived in the Covington area in Louisiana's St. Tammany Parish for less than two months before fleeing because of Hurricane Katrina.

Nicastro said she and her family moved there because of a job her husband, Neal, got manufacturing building products.

She wonders now if it was a harbinger that they drove to their new hometown in July, when Hurricane Dennis hit. They stayed in a hotel for two days. "Welcome to the South," neighbors said.

As Katrina approached, hard-core natives planned to wait out the storm, Nicastro said. But when their attitude changed, they urged her to leave, too.

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Nicastro said she, her husband and their 10-year-old daughter, Lauren, went to Baton Rouge. A neighbor's relative put them up in a crowded home.

Nicastro said they soon got to see their home again. It had wind damage, but no standing water. About a dozen trees were down, they lost a shed and the roof needed repairs.

They drove north seeking a dry place with hotel vacancies. They decided to go all the way back to Boonsboro, where Stacy still has family.

For now, Lauren, a fifth-grader, is at Boonsboro Elementary School. Her mother told her she will be here long enough for her class to spend time at Fairview Outdoor Education Center in Clear Spring in October.

Nicastro said her desire to find a good school for her daughter helped save her family from a worse situation. She said she insisted they live outside New Orleans, where the schools are notoriously poor, which meant a 35-mile commute for Neal.

Now, Nicastro said, her family is figuring out when they will return to a home they were just getting to know.

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