Katrina Survivor Finds Home at Transy

by Erica Mundell
Staff

Kennedy Gloster, a Clay-Davis housekeeper, has been working at Transylvania University since 2005, but not many people know the experiences that he has lived through.

Gloster was a victim of Hurricane Katrina. Born and raised in New Orleans, he lived with his mother, father, two brothers and two sisters in the Mid City neighborhood.

He remembers the day the levees burst at the Seventeen River Canal on Aug. 29, 2005. “A lot of people were scared,” Gloster said. He described the plight of the people as one of great need. Many people had no way of leaving Mid City. “It’s hard for people to just get up and move,” he said.

Gloster sent his family out of the city to a shelter in Mississippi while he stayed behind to continue to work at a local hotel. By September, the waters were too high for him to go to work anymore, and he was forced to stay in his home. With so much water in Mid City, it flooded Gloster’s home, and he fled to the roof to wait for help. He was rescued on Sept. 5 by a helicopter.

“When you’re in that sort of situation, you don’t want to think about anything bad,” Gloster said. “You just want to remember all the good things.”

And he continues to do so today. “New Orleans is a great city and it’s different from a lot of other cities,” he said. But he recognizes the city has changed since the disaster caused by the hurricane. “It’s just not a place to raise a family anymore.”

Gloster was surprised by the reaction of the media and of celebrities to the tragedy of Katrina. “I think a lot of how the government reacted was affected by what people on the news said. (Singer) Kayne West was not a big help at all,” Gloster said.

It was particularly aggravating to him that some celebrities spoke out as negatively as they did because “they don’t know. They weren’t there, and they don’t know what it’s like to be in this situation. They probably never will, either.”

Though many people had their lives destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, Gloster says he is lucky. The St. John’s Episcopal Church of Versailles was in New Orleans helping to support victims and help with reconstruction. The members of the church offered who wanted to start a new life in Kentucky.

Gloster took that offer, and that is why he is here with us today. His family is back in New Orleans, getting back to their lives and adjusting to the new changes they have to make. He, however, is not going back.

Several people at Transy know Kennedy Gloster very well, but he admits that most do not know about that part of his life.

“I don’t tell a lot of people about what I’ve gone through, but I do have a good reason. I want people to see me for me, for Kennedy, not for what has happened to me. I don’t want them to feel sorry for me,” he said.

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