Best friends separated by Hurricane Katrina prepare for high school reunion

(Courtesy: Erika Lovegreen, Casey Figgins)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – Two best friends who grew up together in Mississippi went their separate ways after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Years later, fate brought the friends back together in Roanoke. This weekend, the two will attend a high school reunion they thought would never happen.

A high school yearbook brings baclovegreen2k fond memories for Erika Lovegreen and Casey Figgins. However, it also serves as a reminder of Hurricane Katrina, which Biloxi High School at the start of their senior year in 2005.

“Houses, neighborhoods were completely gutted,” said Figgins. “When I finally got to go back myself to see everything – the housing development we lived in didn’t exist anymore.”

“You didn’t know who lived, who didn’t, if people moved,” said Lovergreen.

The lives of the once-inseparable pair headed in different directions. They left a flooded Mississippi and graduated from high schools in other states.

“After Katrina, I ended up in Williamsburg [Virginia],” said Lovegreen. “She ended up in Missouri. Through my college career at Virginia Tech, I ended up in Roanoke.”

The two stayed in touch over the years and then reunited in Roanoke.

On Wednesday, the duo began the trip back to Biloxi for the “Class of Katrina” reunion. The event was organized by the school as one way for graduates and those displaced to reconnect.

“Something like 30% to 40% of our class got transferred or uprooted to other schools,” said Lovegreen. “They invited all of us back.”

“A lot of uncertainty of what to expect going in. Also, I am very excited,” said Figgins. “I think it will give a sense of closure we never had.”

The reunion takes place on Saturday.

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