New Orleans native returns home after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico

New Orleans native returns home after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Two months after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, a New Orleans native who lives on the island has finally returned home. Despite her terrifying experience riding out the storms, Laine Gorman says she can't wait to head back.

With no electricity, cell phone service and - up until three days ago - no water, life on the small island of Vieques, just off of Puerto Rico, has been a challenge.

"People are tired, I mean we're living without basic services," Laine Gorman said.

When the Category 5 storm barreled toward the island, New Orleans native Laine Gorman was there. She refused to leave the hotel where she serves as general manager.

"I was terrified - we were all terrified, you know?" she said.

The hurricane left behind total devastation.

"There was no way off of Vieques. Even the small fishing boats and stuff were damaged, so there was just no way to get communications," Gorman said.

For days, Gorman's family didn't know if she had made it out alive.

"The most emotional moment in my 36 years of life is the first opportunity I got to get a hold of a  satellite phone and call my mom. Just to hear her voice and for her to hear mine," Gorman recalled.

Returning to New Orleans for the first time in more than 60 days, Gorman recounts the heroic efforts of the hotel staff to feed residents and first responders on the island.

"We really started to cook off everything that we could and wound up in the first weeks after the storm making 3,000 hot meals ourselves," Gorman said.

Home for her first hot shower in months, and to load up on supplies, Gorman is anxious to return to the island this Friday.

"I mean, I have a home there. It's my life, you know?"

Gorman is also anxious to dive right back into the clean-up effort as it will be months before life there is back to normal again. Gorman said she also wants people to know that Vieques and Puerto Rico still need a lot of help, with even basic necessities in high demand.

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