Boat that rescued 400 people during Hurricane Katrina removed from Jackson Square

NEW ORLEANS -- For eight years, a  special boat sat in front of the Louisiana State Museum in Jackson Square.

This boat helped to rescue more than 400 people during Hurricane Katrina.

Suddenly, this boat has been removed from the front of the museum.

On the 12th anniversary of Katrina, News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez talks with the "hurricane hero" who drove the boat and rescued all those people.

Kenny Bellau became a hurricane hero during Katrina.  For 14 days, he rescued over 400 people using this boat that he jump-started using only a screwdriver.

"This was the key to the boat that I used to start the boat with every day," Bellau said.

This boat became a symbol of the heroic search and rescue missions during Katrina.  It was placed right in the front of the Louisiana State Museum in Jackson Square, where it sat for eight years until recently.

"They gave me no reason why the boat was removed, I just don't know.  It seems like the boat is a victim of politics.  They probably just wanted to put something new there," he said.

Bellau understands that times change, but he says it's sad because the boat is a piece of history that shouldn't be forgotten.

"We're missing an educational opportunity for people to learn about Katrina," he said.

"12 years on and it is still kind of weird.  We are still worried about the same things when Katrina hit.  We're worried about the pumping stations.  We're worried about flooding.  We're worried about the levees.  All of the same things seem to be repeated," Bellau said.

The boat is a reminder of our history, but will it ever be on display again?

"It was a very popular exhibit, it grossed a lot of money for the museum.  It's just sad that its no longer there.  It was a good ambassador for New Orleans and a good ambassador for the resilience of the New Orleans people," he said.

Right now, they are currently looking for a new spot to put the boat.  Most likely it will be placed somewhere in the French Quarter or Warehouse District, but there are no definite plans.

The boat means a lot to Bellau.  He proposed and got married to his wife, Candy, in front of the boat in 2014.

We reached out to the Lt. Governor's office to find out why the boat was removed.  They said, “While the importance and significance of this boat will never diminish, it is time to find a new exhibit for the front of the Presbytere that will increase interest and visitation while also coinciding with the 300th Anniversary of New Orleans.”