Saturday, August 29, 2015

Remembering Katrina

It started on August 28, 2005.

I heard that Hurricane Katrina was classified as a Category 5 and was aiming for New Orleans. It was the storm New Orleanians always spoke of and hoped would never happen. This was the big one.

For the first time in its history, a mandatory evacuation of the City had been ordered by Mayor Ray Nagin. The shelter of last resort? The Superdome.

Call Lisa. She had left well before the evacuation order was issued and was on her way to Houston with the kids. Where's Kevin? West coast trying to head east.

I-10 west from New Orleans #parkinglot

Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005. Initial reports from New Orleans #alliswell

I caught up with Kevin and Lisa on the evening of August 29, 2005, at the J.W. Marriott in The Galleria area on Westheimer. Lisa's family was there.

We ate at Ninfa's by the ice rink. The Galleria was packed and everyone knew each other. THESE were the people who could get out on their own and had a place to go. There was an odd electricity in the air. #distractthekids

There were odd conversations happening. #whathaveyouheard #theleveesheld #neworleansdodgedabullet

I said good-bye to Kevin and Lisa. #hughugkisskiss

I woke up on August 30, 2005, to the news that the levee system failed. #neworleansisunderwater

The reports started coming in that people were stranded in the Superdome. Reports of hospitals without power and flooded. Reports of people in their attics and on their roofs because the water had risen that high. Reports of bodies floating down streets.

Call Kevin and Lisa at the J.W. Marriott. They've checked out. Call Beth. Kevin and Lisa had left and were making their way to Lafayette.

And then it turned out that the reports WERE true. I remember a guy calling in to CNN from Hotel Monaco that he was a guest and was stranded.

Soledad O'Brien reporting from the Convention Center. People went there hoping for help and no one was there.

Where was FEMA? #michaelbrownatruthschris #batonrouge Nagin? #rantingontheradio Blanco? #pissingcontest Bush #onanairplane

There was enough blame for everyone to share. #annericeranting What amazed me was that all of this was happening 300 miles to the east of me. We can airlift food and water to people overseas but we can't help our own? HOW does this happen in the United States of America? HOW do we leave our fellow citizens stranded? WE don't do that but OUR government let it happen.

It still puts a lump in my throat to think this was only 10 years ago. And the City of New Orleans was not the only one affected by this storm. Other parts of Louisiana, and Mississippi and Alabama received their share of damage.

We Will Rise Again - George Rodrigue

Parts of New Orleans have recovered, others have not. People who made their way to Houston...some have stayed, others went back to New Orleans. Why would they do that?

There is something about New Orleans. For some people, it's in their DNA. For me, it's hard to explain. I fell in love with the City the first time I visited. I can understand why someone would go back and rebuild their life.

I've been told by multiple people that I'm an old soul. New Orleans is an old city. It was bound to happen.

It's the people. The people are resilient; it's in their blood. It's the music. #birthplaceofjazz It's the food. #cajuncreole It's the city that care forgot. #laissezlesbontempsrouler It's the city that has always welcomed me with open arms.

Tennessee Williams once said, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” #iagree

There are defining moments in everyone's lives and unfortunately I have had two within four years of each other...9/11/01 and Hurricane Katrina. Let us never forget.

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