Normal life all they desire

AFTER a horrendous battle for survival in hurricane-devastated New Orleans, Tim and Joanne Miller are relieved to finally be back home.

The couple arrived back in Rockhampton on Saturday and said they were glad the whole ordeal was over.

"We just want to get back to our normal life,'' said Mrs Miller, 49.

"It's great to be back with my family again.''

The couple had been vacationing in the US for five weeks and were spending their final week in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit.

They had been kicked out of their Holiday Inn hotel room when floodwaters threatened the French Quarter suburb where they were staying.

The couple sheltered for five days underneath a bridge while violence, disease and death surrounded them.

"There were two dead bodies right near where we were staying,'' he said.

"We had to take it all in our stride.''

The couple also had little food and water throughout the ordeal and said they survived the same way everyone else did ? by looting.

"A policeman smashed a window and said take what you need,'' Mrs Miller said.

"I had never stolen anything in my life.''

Looking back at the ordeal, the couple said they were unimpressed with the way the United States Government handled the disaster.

"I don't think it would be like that if it happened in Australia,'' Mrs Miller said.

"For the first time in my life I felt like a real minority.''

She said there was extreme tension and frustration in the streets and many people made it clear tourists were not welcome.

Fighting and gunfire could also be heard from where they were sheltering. "We had to go out to get to a phone box,'' she said.

"You just kept your head down and did what you had to do.'' The couple was taken out of New Orleans last week when a Channel 7 news team found them and helped them out of the city.

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