MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - August 29, 2005. New Orleans. Darian Clark remembers as he tries to regain his emotions.
4 years later Clark and his wife are still in Montgomery. It's a story of regrouping, starting over and taking chances.
For Clark that risk involved starting a new business, Smoothies-N-Things in downtown Montgomery. While it hasn't been an entirely smooth ride, the business has certainly been therapeutic for Darian Clark, especially now as the 4th anniversary of Katrina comes up.
"I'll think 'wow, what a storm.' Last year we had Gustav and Ike and you thought this could be another Katrina," said Clark.
Before the storm, Clark ran two clothing stores. He lost both of them in the hurricane. Clark's home was severely damaged but salvageable and is now being rented out. With time to reflect, Clark realizes just how fortunate he was. Clark and his wife of only one month at the time got out. Many of their fellow residents did not.
"I didn't personally know anyone who died but so many of my friends are scattered throughout the country and I don't have their numbers anymore," said Clark.
Clark will be the first to say Montgomery isn't New Orleans, no Bourbon Street here. Still, Clark says he wouldn't have it any other way. This is home now.
"I love Montgomery. The customers have really helped us," he said.
In fact, life in a new city is going so well he says he is just weeks away from opening up another Smoothies-N-Things. This time in Prattville.
Sweet success after a bitter day 4 years ago.
Clark says it was his wife who informed him that they were moving to Montgomery so she could continue her medical practice.
Hurricane Katrina caused an estimated 100 billion dollars in damage and killed more than 1,800 people in its wake.