Katrina’s Aftermath

I grew up in New Orleans and hurricanes were a way of life. As a school kid you hoped to get enough of a scare to get school cancelled. More often than not, however, there was a lot of fuss and nothing ever happened. I cannot recall EVER evacuating although I know we did discuss it prior to the landfall of Hurricane Andrew.

My parents evacuated at the last minute before Hurricane Ivan and almost ran out of gas sitting still on the interstate. They could find no place to go and with my elderly grandfather in tow, it was a tortuous twelve hour drive to my house in northern Texas. They were disgusted by the whole process, swore they’d never evacuate again, and New Orleans escaped unscathed. I remember my father sitting in my living room and saying that “next time” he was just going to pack a bag and go to the Superdome.

The “next time” would be Hurricane Katrina and they were eager not to repeat the Ivan experience. The Superdome didn’t allow pets, so they booked a room in Houston, packed the crazy cat and my grandfather, and headed out early. The idea was to make a mini-vacation out of it. At no point did we expect that my parents wouldn’t return to their home for a month. I had been planning to visit my parents over the weekend (I was living in Little Rock at the time), and was perturbed that my plans were being interrupted. Again, we never thought that Katrina would amount to much. Hurricane warnings had become like the Boy Who Cried Wolf: after a while, you stopped thinking anything would ever really happen.

Most of you saw on TV that Hurricane Katrina was not a pretty thing. Flooding, death, major destruction. My family watched in on TV too–wondering about friends, homes, belongings. Reports were conflicting and no one knew what was going on. Cell phones didn’t work and the overall feeling was one of helplessness. To put it bluntly: it sucked. I could get into the whole thing, but you’ve seen it or heard it, and if you haven’t, then go get Spike Lee’s documentary on it–I couldn’t get through thirty minutes of the damn thing without either screaming or crying.

Which brings me to the point of this long, rambling entry. Hurricane season has kicked it into high gear. Gustav is predicted to hit the Gulf of Mexico somewhere between Monday and Wednesday and people are making plans with one eye on the Weather Channel. I have house guests coming and I’m wondering if they’re going to be able to fly out when they want to.

My husband and I weren’t here for Katrina, but many of our friends rode it out over here, north of the Lake. This is the stuff you didn’t see on TV: People living north of the evacuation zone. There, many people went without power for about two weeks. Some had generators and many did not. Gas was in short supply and trees and power lines made road travel dangerous. Talking to the people on the phone had a definite end of the world/apocalypse kind of feel as they talked about looking for fuel and keeping the doors locked and guns drawn.

So, the Hub and I are wondering and cautious. We don’t have to evacuate. Our house isn’t in the evacuation zone, we are fourteen feet above sea level, and our house is raised. Our plan is to prepare for a few days without power, and if it looks like things are going to take a while then we’re packing our bags and heading for Little Rock. We’ll stay with some friends. Our primary motivation is keeping Charlie close to fully-functional medical services. Power is nice, but if your shunt fails. . . you need a neurosurgeon. Also, your average, run-of-the-mill epileptic needs their medicine and if there’s no power than there might not be medication either. My parents are taking my elderly–now terminal–grandfather to Baton Rouge.

So, keep us in your thoughts and let’s hope Gustav will just deteriorate into nothing worry about.

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  1. Freakin’ Gustav… grrarggnomp.

    I’m looking at booking a hotel room for my mother-in-law for the end of next week. If Gustav follows roughly the same path as Katrina, she’ll have to evacuate, and friend, she won’t be staying with me.

    Which, of course, leaves plenty of room for y’all!

  2. You and your family are in our prayers, as are all the people who may be affected by Gustav. God bless!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I live in Pensacola FL and was here for Ivan it was horrible but not as horrible as Katrina was for New Orleans. I am praying that Gustav leaves the Gulf of Mexico because we don’t need anymore storms in the Gulf Coast states.

    Blog homeschool to Ashley animals wee and big

  4. Small Town Girl says:

    I’ll most definitely be thinking of you!!

  5. Nadine Hightower says:

    Be safe!! I wouldn’t take anything for granted and boogie to the safe spot!

    But then I stand out in the yard looking for torndoes….be smarter than me!

  6. This stresses me out just READING it. You are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. Hopefully the world will never see another nightmare like Katrina. Hey, if you want to head up river to St. Louis, we’ve got room! (Seriously!)

  7. Hope you will all be safe.

  8. Stay safe and you know that I will be keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just keep your family safe. We live just south of New Iberia and believe me we are watching the local station. If it enters anywhere except the bay we should be in good shape. Hurricane Andrew is still fresh in my mind.

  10. I’ve been thinking about since they said it might hit there. I really hope it doesn’t It’s pretty eerie that it’s so close to the anniversary of Katrina. I think I’ll light a candle for you and your family.

  11. White Hot Magik says:

    Definitely will keep you in our prayers. Sounds like you have a good plan, hope you don’t have any need to use it.

  12. My fingers are crossed that this will not turn into a nightmare for you and your family. I’ll be thinking of you guys!

  13. Scary. I know how much I watched the news and read things – I still can’t imagine what it was like to go thru Katrina. Hope Gustav doesn’t cause any trouble!

  14. desperate housewife says:

    Take care and stay safe! Hope it all blows over, literally.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    This is a little late in coming but I’ll be keeping you guys in my prayers. *hugs*

  16. Anonymous says:

    Keep safe all of you.