updated 9/9/2005 10:39:24 AM ET 2005-09-09T14:39:24

Barren Snell will never remember his harrowing adventures in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. His mother will never forget hers.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

Of the 121 babies evacuated from New Orleans to Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge following the storm, Barren was the only one whose mother had not been found.

Until now.

“I didn’t think anyone was going to find us,” Barren’s mother, Talissa Snell, said Thursday night. “I thought we were all going to die there.”

Barren, who was born two months premature, was still in the hospital when the hurricane struck. He was evacuated after the storm, when the electricity was out and the hurricane made travel perilous.

Barren’s mother and siblings, meanwhile, were stuck in the apartment where they had ridden out the storm, surrounded by flood waters and without food or drinking water.

“We didn’t have anything,” Snell said. “A neighbor shared her food and water with us. That was all that kept us going.”

Snell, 25, made signs she hung out the windows of the apartment. She waved towels trying to attract the attention of a constant stream of helicopters overhead.

“Things were getting really bad,” she said. “I just wanted to get my kids out of there and find out how my baby was. I just tried to keep hanging on.”

Finally a soldier on the street heard Snell’s 2-year-old screaming out the window — “Come and get me,” Snell said.

“If he hadn’t heard that I don’t know what would have happened to us,” she said.

Snell was evacuated to the New Orleans airport, but her next destination was still uncertain.

“They’re saying maybe Alabama, maybe somewhere else,” she said. “I just want to get to my baby and have my whole family together.”

Officials had already located Barren’s aunt, Donna Smith, in Galveston, Texas, where she and her family had evacuated. Smith had been trying to gain custody of Barren so she could take him once he was ready to leave the hospital.

The 3-month-old, who has been fed through a tube since birth, is currently learning to nurse from a bottle and so he can be discharged.

Finding her nephew was a miracle, Smith said. When she got the call from her sister Thursday night, she said it was the second miracle she had been praying for.

“As soon as she got her cell phone charged up after being rescued she called us,” Smith said. “I just started screaming and crying. I’m so happy.”

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments