BELLEVILLE - It was seven years ago when Jaszmine Hawkins was in New Orleans to attend Xavier University.

Hawkins was in her first month of school when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city she had been attending college.

She says the images on television marking the seven year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina are an accurate picture of what she survived. Hawkins remembers being evacuated by boat, being stranded on highways, and dealing with the uncertainty of whether she should stay or go.

Hawkins managed to make it out, and says that surviving Katrina is a part of who she is.

Today, Hawkins works as a freelance artist. She says she's been back to New Orleans since surviving Katrina, but has made a new life for herself here in New Jersey.