Woman Keeps Dancing

Katrina-weary residents along the Mississippi Gulf Coast would like to put the storm behind them, but they can't really do that.

Katrina is too much a part of their lives.

One woman in Gulfport, Mississippi is helping people cope with Katrina by doing something you might think is a little strange, she's dancing!

When Barbara and her husband Nollie returned to their Gulfport home after Katrina, they found total devastation.

"I'm not worried about material things, really, because I have a lot of things that are treasures that... I mean, look at the people in New Orleans! I mean, gosh!" Barbara Watts said

For Barbara this was more than home, it was her dance studio. It was her life.

It's been a year since Katrina destroyed the home of Nollie and Barbara Watts. The same house where Barbara spent countless hours teaching her students to dance. Even though the house is no longer here, Barbara is still dancing."

It would be wonderful if we could tell you that Barbara's has new studio... but she doesn't. It's a gymnastics studio. The next lesson could be in a school gym, or a church recreation room. Thanks to Katrina, Barbara's Amour Danzar School of Ballroom Dancing is wherever Barbara can find a place to dance.

"And we thought, we'll clean up the lot and we'll start to rebuild but then obstacles hit us from everyway."

No one available to demolish. to rebuild, new building requirements, problems with insurance settlements, the list goes one... and, oddly enough, so does Barbara.

Billy Higginbotham also lost his house to Katrina. But he didn't lose his ballroom dance instructor, "It takes your mind off of everything. It really does," Higginbotham said.

Every Friday evening, Billy and dozens of other dance students get together at a local church for what has become Barbara's Friday night ritual.

Barbara and Nollie understand their need to dance. They, too, live in a tiny FEMA trailer, 35 miles away from their former home. It's the kind of living that can put a strain on a marriage.

"Communication between two people is what keeps them together. And the holding, the loving and the unity and if they don't have that, and they're stressed all 30 days of the month, where do we go?"

And where does Barbara go? It will be somewhere nearby. Because people here need to dance. And Barbara needs to show them.


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