A Randolph woman feels lucky to be alive and back in Wisconsin. She and her two young daughters spent several hellish days trapped in New Orleans last week.
"I still smell dead people," says Lia Mittelstadt. "And there's no dead people here, but I still smell 'em everywhere. You know, so it's just I don't know how long it's going to take to get over it."
Lia and her daughters Cassidy and Mackenzie were on vacation in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. They ended up staying at the Superdome with other evacuees, where Lia says they witnessed so much violence and death, it will be hard for them to ever get over it.
With little food and water, at one point she was so ill from dehydration, she felt she was going to die.
"The only thing that was keeping me going at that point was getting the kids out my only goal was to live long enough to get the kids out, that was basically it. I did not have any hope at all of living through this," she says.
How did Lia escape, and how does she feel about the way the rescue effort was handled? We'll have much more on Lia's remarkable story of survival Tuesday on NBC 15 News.