Sunday, August 27, 2006

MY KATRINA STORY

PART I: EVACUATION


I've made mention of Katrina troubles over in my little autobiography section, and since we're coming up on the one year anniversary of that horrific event, I thought that I might elaborate on my experiences during that time. As I sat down to write this I wasn't sure if I wanted to even tackle it, but I thought that I'd give it a try. Here goes.
Let me give you a quick background on my and my wife, Jamie's, families. (Note that all ages given are for at the time of Katrina.) Every family member lives somewhere in the New Orleans area. My folks, Allen and Mary, live in Kenner (a suburb to the west of N.O.) in the house I grew up in. I have two older brothers, Allen and Brian and one younger sister, Liz. Brian is a cop in Kenner and is married to Lisa. They have two children, Ryne (9) and Shelby (4). My sister also lives in Kenner and is also married to a cop in Kenner, Bryan, and they too have two kids, Emily (3) and Peyton (9 months). (My oldest brother Allen and I do not communicate all that often - the occasional holiday - and he did not evacuate to my house.)
My wife's parents, Jim and Joan also live in Kenner (in the house she grew up in as well) She has two older sisters, Laurie and Nicole. Laurie lives in New Orleans, around St. Charles Ave in the area called Uptown. Nicole still lives at home. I think that's all of the players.
It was Saturday when everything started to hit the fan. All indications at the time were that Katrina was heading directly for New Orleans and that it would be a nasty one. Still, New Orleanians are a skeptical bunch and we'd heard this song and dance before. Usually the things turned and beat up Florida or Texas or the storm would weaken and the city would get some flooding, maybe a few feet. No big deal.
All that being said, Lisa has always been a bit of a worry wort. She was nervous and she decided to evacuate with my sister, Liz. They brought their four kids while Brian and Bryan had to stay behind given their position as police officers. So, she called me and said that they were on their way. I decided to head to Wal-Mart and see if I couldn't stock up on some supplies. I did not do too good of a job as the store had been pretty picked over, but I got enough stuff so that we wouldn't be starving in a couple of days. Lisa, Liz, the four kids and Lisa's dog arrived at my recently purchased home (we closed about four months prior to this) in Daphne, Alabama about five hours after they had called me. (Usual travel time between New Orleans and Daphne is about two and a half hours.)
Current people count: Six adults, five kids and one dog. Needless to say, Gracie was ecstatic to have her cousins visiting.
Saturday progressed and the news continued to get worse. Allen and Mary, my parents, were still in Kenner and were arguing about leaving. My dad didn't want to leave but my mom was getting scared and felt that they should go. Meanwhile, Jamie's folks and sister, Nicole, had made the decision to leave and were boarding up their windows at four o'clock in the morning. Soon, they were on their way with their large dog, Oscar, in tow.
My mom had finally convinced my dad that they had to leave and they were on the road by nine o'clock. They too had a dog, though a small one, named Camille (like a certain hurricane). They arrived at our house at around one in the afternoon. Shortly thereafter, Jim, Joan and Nicole had arrived. I do not recall when Jamie's other sister Laurie arrived but it was on sometime that day.
Total people count: 12 adults and five kids and three dogs.
I have a two-story, four bedroom house with three and a half bathrooms. With that many people in the house, we would need every square inch.

PART II COMING UP TOMORROW...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

peace.

Lizzy said...

Paul,

I look forward to reading the other 2 parts. My only recommendation to help people following your story is to put in dates and times in bold.

Your story is so important