Friday, August 29, 2008

Katrina Part Three: New Orleans, The Big Easy...or should I say the Big Hard

August 29, 2005 5:00 am
I watched the TV in silence. This was so surreal. Thankfully when Katrina (click here to see a graphic of the storm) hit she was only a Cat 3. I wondered what had become of our house. Was it even there? Are there trees on it or did we flood? How would we know? We left everything!! Most of the "things" can be replaced. I didn't care about clothes or furniture. I cared about irreplaceable things. Pictures, mementos from my childhood, my kid's things, heirlooms, and my cross that my grandma gave me before she died. I wanted my cross. It was given to her by my grandpa on their wedding day. She had given it to me after I got engaged. I think she knew she wouldn't make it to my wedding. That was precious to me. I couldn't believe I left all these things. But I didn't know...no one did.
Once everyone was up, we ate breakfast as our eyes were glued to the TV. It was like I was afraid to look away. We loaded up the vehicle and headed over to North Carolina to stay with my dad. Every rest area we stopped at there were people wandering around with blank stares. Nobody could believe that this was happening.
When we finally made it to my dad's house, I just wanted a shower.
No one could have planned for this. If you weren't down here for the storm you truly do not understand what the people went through, the events that led up to Katrina and after.
Q: Why didn't you leave sooner? Didn't you know that it was going to hit you?
A: Hurricanes come and go and usually you just ride them out. No big deal. Everyone thought that this was the same old storm. A little wind and rain. An excuse to take the day off work/school. Nobody anticipated a Cat 5 hurricane or the catastrophic catastrophe that was to take place (wink wink Geraldo).

Q: Why didn't you take more clothing and valuables?
A: I am not a fortune teller. How the hell was I supposed to know that I was going to be gone for a MONTH!

Logan's 2nd birthday was two days later and all his presents were at home. My dad took me shopping and we got all new presents. (The toys I had for him at home I donated to a fellow Coastie's son. Their family lost everything.) We had a little party for him and then Chad returned, by CHOICE, to New Orleans. Duty called.
I was worried sick about my house and my husband. I saw on the news that people were looting and there were gangs roaming and since there were barely any cops they were doing whatever they wanted. I was fearful that something would happen. Every now and again he would call or send me an email. He was busy going door to door looking for live bodies, getting medicine and supplies to those in need, and battling the heat and intense odor that loomed. He said the smell was disgusting, it was the stench of rotting flesh, animal and human. The water was disgusting. It was filled with bacteria and if you came in contact with it you were going to get sick. It was nasty. He saw dead bodies in houses, floating, on roof tops and on the side of the road. I cannot even fathom this. What I saw on TV was nothing in comparison to the real thing. And this was just the beginning...



Here are some pictures that we took and some from other USCG guys:


From a chopper






This is how high the water got in some spots


Wendy's...underwater



People loading up their boat


A boat...in the road


The infamous signs on the doors


This is I-10, the bridge between the North and South shore over Lake Pontchartrain


The Red Cross



New Orleans lighthouse

More pictures to come...




Over 1700 people lost their lives along the Gulf Coast. Today we remember them.

4 comments:

  1. UNbelievable. It's so hard to believe that that really happened and that it isn't from a dramatic, million-dollar movie.

    Horrific.

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  2. every time i see photos from Katrina i still cannot believe it.

    i was hoping the media would have had more memorial stuff today -- but instead we were forced to listen to vote 2008 stuff. ugh.

    i am hoping that Gustav suddenly just vanishes and comes nowhere near your home!

    stay safe. :)

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  3. I'm so glad you guys were and are okay. I remember how worried about you I was!

    God bless everyone who lived (and did not make it) through that horrible experience.

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  4. So horrible and I am so sorry that you had to be evacuated again only 3 short years later. I am praying that everything turns out to be ok with you and your family.

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