Memphian tells tale of survival in New Orleans

Memphian Phyllis Blackwell was one of the many tourists who got stuck in Hurricane Katrina, and wasn't sure she'd make it out.

"First thing people ask me is what were you doing down there," Blackwell said.

She said it all started with two incredible deals: a $32 train ticket and a $59 hotel room. She was so excited about her trip Blackwell says she lost track of Hurricane Katrina after it hit Florida...

"Little did I know that it was headed to New Orleans," She said.

She arrived in the city on Saturday, August 27th. It was the day before Mayor Ray Nagin ordered mandatory evacuations.

Blackwell was stuck in her hotel, where she rode out the devastating storm.

"I was just scared," she said. "It was the most horrible night of my life."

She didn't think it could get worse, until she was rescued from the hotel, and taken to the Superdome. Conditions in the arena were awful.

"You couldn't flush the commodes. There was debris everywhere, and the odor was horrible,"

It was a violent place as well.

"It got so stop asking god to save you. I asked him to, if I had to die, and I was almost sure I wasn't gonna make it out of there, to let death let it be easy," she said, "just come quickly, let a calm come over me, and that's it."

But Blackwell survived, leaving the Superdome for the Astrodome, and eventually home to Memphis. Friday, she was still wearing the wristband she got in Houston, as a reminder of her ordeal.

Despite everything she went through, Blackwell says she will visit New Orleans again as soon as it's rebuilt.