Monday, August 30, 2010

Hurricane Katrina Five Years Later (Part III)

August 30, 2005 I called the JW Marriott to talk with Kevin and Lisa.  They had checked out of the hotel.  I asked to speak to her father; no answer.  I asked to be connected to her sister and Beth answered.  Kevin & Lisa left early in the morning to get closer to New Orleans.  They were going to Lafayette.

I think they left before Brian Williams started broadcasting live from New Orleans for Today Show.  He was standing on Canal Street and water was in the streets.  The levee system failed and water was pouring into New Orleans.

Life would never be the same for hundreds of thousands of people.

What followed in the next few days is hard to believe.  People were stranded in the Superdome.  People took refuge at the convention center.  There wasn't any food or water for these people.  It would be days before any relief would be sent to them and before they would be evacuated.

Local, state and federal governments failed the citizens of New Orleans.  There were no airdrops of food or water.  I still find it hard to believe what happened 350 miles from my doorstep.  It looked like scenes from a war-torn third world country but no, it was the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America.  People died in the streets; people died in their homes.  People died trying to escape; people died in hospitals.

Please let this never happen again.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hurricane Katrina Five Years Later (Part II)

On August 29, 2005, I went to the JW Marriott to meet up with Kevin & Lisa and their kids.  The hotel was full of guests from New Orleans.

On the morning of the 29th, Katrina came onshore.  The Mississippi Gulf Coast bore the brunt of the storm.  At the last moment the storm took a turn to the east.  However, New Orleans still took a beating.  The roof had been ripped off the Superdome; the shelter of last resort for thousands of people.  The Hyatt Regency had its windows blown out.

We walked over to The Galleria to have dinner and I have never seen the mall so full on a Monday night.  The evacuees really helped the Houston economy.  Restaurants were full and people were shopping and ice skating.  Everybody new each other and everyone talked about how lucky they were that the levees had held.  They were all making plans to go back to New Orleans on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I was glad to have spent time with Kevin and Lisa and some of their friends.  They were hopeful that everything would be ok when they returned and I shared in their hopefulness.

And then on August 30, 2005, Bryan Williams reported live from New Orleans on Today Show and we found out what really happened.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hurricane Katrina Five Years Later (Part I)

August 28, 2005, I was at FIT and watching the news while I was on an elipitical machine.  I knew that a hurricane was heading toward Louisiana but I didn't know that Mayor Ray Nagin had issued a mandatory evacuation of the city of New Orleans.

On my way home I started to listening to a news station and they were talking about the amount of traffic on I-10 coming in from the east.  I called my Lisa to find out if she was OK.

She and her two children left New Orleans before the evacuation order was issued and had gone to Lafayette.  With the storm still on course she left Lafayette and was stuck in traffic on I-10 coming into Houston.  Kevin wasn't with her because he was on a business trip in San Diego/Tijuana.

She assured me that she was OK and would be meeting up with her family at the JW Marriott in The Galleria.  Kevin was trying to get to Houston.  I told her to please let me know if they needed anything.

This was just the beginning.