After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, many coastal Louisiana horse owners said “enough’s enough” and moved farther inland, while others stayed behind to reclaim their farms that were battered and drenched by the storm. Either way, most have moved on in their equestrian pursuits with a healthy awareness of what Nature can throw at them and a resolve that they’ll be as prepared as they can be for “the next one,” should it hit. This time two years ago, The Horse was just beginning to get word of how horses fared in the storm surge and the flooding. This week we spoke with several individuals involved in Katrina recovery, and we found more stories of resiliency and hope.
“It’s really slow progress in the areas that were hit,” said Leslie Talley, client care coordinator for LSU (Louisiana State University) Equine, who worked with many horse owners who fell victim to Katrina’s effects. “Most just reestablished somewhere else. Once you do that for a year, you don’t want to pull up and try to go back.”
The horse community on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, where many of the New Orleans horse owners have set up shop after the storm, is booming. Allison Barca, DVM, a veterinarian who practices in New Orleans, said, “A lot of the barns have moved across the lake and are doing fantastic. There are big, beautiful farms. I thought that they’d lose all their business, but their clients have sold their homes in New Orleans and have moved so their kids can continue to take lessons.”
Talley described the move inland as a smart one. “With the levees, and how it was questionable whether they’d be rebuilt to withstand another (Katrina-like storm), I can’t blame them for not taking the chance,” she said. “You don’t know the levees are going to hol