Yup, I think for the rest of my life I'll be scared.
Scared of the date.
Scared of what might happen.
Of course, what might happen could happen anywhere between June first and November thirtieth.
But because of Katrina, I'll always be a little more sensitive to tropical upsets in August.
Just like folks who went thru Betsy will be leery around the first two weeks of September.
Or feeling a little uneasy like the people who experienced Camille in August of '69 . Yikes.
Because of Katrina I think I'll be uneasy for the rest of my life.
My husband, daughter and I stayed in my little cajun cottage in Slidell for Katrina.
I should have known things were not right when I went driving around Slidell on that Sunday morning, trying to get supplies to last us through a few days of no electricity. I was also looking for things to make my only child's 17th birthday something to remember even though a hurricane was to take the wind out of her sails.
There were hardly any cars out that whole weekend. Nobody was around.
Little did I know how much I under estimated Mother Nature.
I didn't pay attention to the weather that weekend. Sure, I had the TV on that afternoon, watching Ray Ray and the Stupid Woman Governor (who I did not vote for) giving a press conference on TV. I didn't pay attention to the scenes on TV about the interstate at a complete standstill....all lanes going north or west. "Same old same old" I felt. Just like hurricane Georges (George or Jjjjj--or-jjjjezz) a few years before, when everyone left and nothing happened.
We celebrated my daugher's birthday that Sunday afternoon, August 28th. We had a good dinner, boston cream pie and enjoyed some easy-to-forget television programming. About 1 AM Monday morning my daughter came upstairs to tell me the electricity was out and she was scared. I came downstairs to lie on the floor and keep her company. Within three hours I had to give my precious child 1/2 Xanax to keep her from completely freaking out. She slept for the next 12 hours.
Katrina's winds were just beginning about daybreak and they were fierce. Hubby and I lay on the living room floor listening to the pine cones slam into the roof with so much force. When we didn't hear the pine cones hit, all we could hear was the howling of the winds.
You know how people try to explain that sound of the train during heavy storms? It's real. We listened to that sound which was constantlly over ridden by a stronger whooshing sound. All I can do to describe it is to tell you to imagine the sound of a very loud central air conditioner humming. Occasionally one of us would look out the front door to check on the huge pine trees bending. Little did we know that 1/2 of those trees would end up in houses or across the road.
One truely odd moment during the height of Katrina that is burned in my mind is seeing a white pickup truck stop in front of my house. DURING THE HEIGHT OF A CAT 3 (winds of 177-190 mph) a man got out of this pickup truck with a chainsaw and proceed to cut down pine trees that had fallen across the road. I found out later that this guy patrolled the whole neighborhood of Ozone Woods, clearing the way for whatever rescue people that might show up.
We didn't know how bad it would be at that time.
A few hours later - Monday afternoon - we ventured outside. The winds were still gusting and rain was falling. Looking up and down the street we were stunned. In my 50 years I have never seen such destruction from Mother Nature.
In retropect, I realize we were in shock. Otherwise we'd have taken pictures of what we were witnessing. Our shock lasted for at least two weeks.
My daughter woke up later that night. With no electricity but plenty of candles and batteries, we listened to Garland Robinette on WWL radio (using a Sony radio I got for my 13th birthday).
I can't relay to those of you who weren't here the horror of listening to what was going on in the days following Katrina. Read WWL's transcripts to get the real feelings. It was not nice.
Four days after Katrina hit we procured a generator after standing in line at Home Depot for four hours in 90 plus degree, almost-cloud-free-high-humidity weather. After we set it up, we agreed to only run it for a few hours after six pm. It felt good to feel the moving air of my box fans. But I would've traded that good feeling not to see what was going on in New Orleans on that Thursday. Lord, our hearts broke. I went outside and wailed, cried for an hour. Oh how could this horror be happening? I think we each took turns going outside to cry for a week after we got the generator.
Up here in St. Tammany Parish we were cut off from the rest of the world for 2 weeks. Cell phones didn't work. We drove to Hammond to contact family members and let them know we were alive. Lots of tears. Communication was limited to hand made signs. Land lines worked in some homes after a week. A lot of tears. I don't think I'll ever look back at that time without crying. Can anyone who has a heart?
I'll never stay again.
To the people coming down here - a YEAR after the storm to "blog" on what's "REALLY HAPPENING" in New Orleans: you are not wanted here. Find another cause. We've survived this long without you and do not need your help getting the word out.
Pay your dues elsewhere, kids.