Katrina survivor reunited with photo album
Published: January 11, 2006 | 3255th good news item since 2003
Kaysi Higgins came to Lansing in October with clothes for three days, a toothbrush and not much else.
Photo albums and other belongings back home had been ruined when Hurricane Katrina hit and split the ceiling of her New Orleans home, but she still had an album that held pictures from as far back as her baby years.
Higgins, 16, lost the album in MSU’s Main Library but got it back Tuesday after an MSU police staff member tracked her down using clues from the photos.
Higgins got tears in her eyes as she looked at the album.
“I didn’t realize I have all these good pictures in here,” Higgins said. “This is all of my friends and cousins and everybody.”
When Higgins came to Michigan with her mom, Karen Taylor, they didn’t plan on staying. After the hurricane was finished, however, they realized conditions in their hometown wouldn’t allow them to return.
Higgins now attends Lansing Catholic Central High School as a junior and plans to stay in Lansing with her mother until at least the end of the school year.
Higgins said she lost the album while at the library researching for a paper. She didn’t realize it was lost until Denni Kraft, security systems supervisor for the MSU police, tracked her down.
“I knew when I saw the photo album someone would miss it,” Kraft said.
She found the album in a large bin of items and looked through it. One photo had someone wearing school clothing that said “De La Salle” and another showed a birthday cake with the name Kaysi.
With these two clues, Kraft started calling schools named De La Salle around the country, asking what their school colors were to find a match with the photo. After about five calls, she found last week that De La Salle High School in New Orleans matched the maroon and white colors from the photo. She also had someone check the school records for a person named Kaysi.
A day later, Kraft got a call back with a contact number for Kaysi’s grandmother in New Orleans, who told Kaysi’s mother in Michigan.
Kraft said she cried when she was able to contact the owner of the album she had looked through so many times.
“(It’s) amazing to think two little pictures like that could do that,” Kraft said.