Hurricane Katrina made landfall 10 years ago Saturday

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Action News had sent a crew to Louisiana when that big story hit, and they were able to talk with a Valley resident who had just moved there to go to college. (KFSN)

Saturday is a day for both remembrance and celebration along the Gulf Coast. Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall. The costliest storm in U.S. history caused $135 billion in damage and took nearly 2,000 lives.

Action News had sent a crew to Louisiana when that big story hit, and they were able to talk with a Valley resident who had just moved there to go to college.

Kia Thomas' parents had just driven her across the country to attend Xavier University of Louisiana -- the college of her choice. The Edison High School graduate knew her parents had sacrificed to send her to college, so when the storm headed for New Orleans, she knew her family could not afford to fly her home.

Thomas was one of about 400 students who stayed behind. She was eventually evacuated to Baton Rouge along with 200 other students. ABC30 paid the airfare so mother and daughter could be reunited.

Thomas was the last of the students to be picked up. While it was a frightening experience, she said it taught her a lot about herself.

Thomas never went back to Louisiana. She decided to stay in Fresno and attend Fresno Pacific University.

PHOTOS: Hurricane Katrina's 10th anniversary
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