Saturday, August 29, 2009

Four Years Ago

Hurricane katrina - Downtown new orleansImage by aja via Flickr

It was a Sunday four years and a day ago I posted this:

Well, I guess I've decided to leave. Katrina is a cat 5 hurricane now, with gusts of 180 mphs. So I don't think I want to be around when it hits New Orleans. I may not be online for a few days (or more, who knows?), depending where I end up. Gotta go pack up the car and get Buffy ready to move.


Than three days later I was able to post again.

Just a quick note, we're in Tennessee safe and dry. No internet connection where we're staying. I'm at the local library trying to find a way back into the city. I'll post more when I get a chance. Thanks for all the good thoughts.


Afterwards I went back and tried to write some of what happened along the way. My first post in my Katrina posts was here where I wrote about the day of leaving. This is the post I wrote about our trip back home. My first day home was recorded here.

Re-reading these posts was strange. Four years isn't long enough to forget, but it is long enough that you put a lot of those thoughts and fears away in a part of your mind that you hope you don't have to visit again. Visiting these posts brought up a lot of these feelings. A lot of it at the time was the not knowing. I mention in one of the posts that Oakwood Mall had been burned down, well, not completely true. Looters had broken into it and burned part of it, but the mall was still standing. But that was how our information went at that time, in bits and pieces, sometimes factual, sometimes fanciful. I remember the nights trying to sleep, no air conditioner and down here September is still part of summer as far as temperatures go. I also remember the eeire darkness and quiet. No electricity meant no street lamps, no lights from houses, everything was just black. No power mean no phones, no noise. When I first came home I was one of the few in the neighborhood so every noise was a revelation. Lying in bed at night brought thoughts of helplessness and fear. What if looters broke in, there was no one to call, there was no one around. It made you feel like you were completely alone.

Katrina didn't end when the waters finally receded from the city. I don't even live in the city but Katrina impacted my life. Katrina still really hasn't ended. Yes, the city has done a lot in recovering, but not enough. I know people that are still trying to finish their houses, get their lives in order. We had insurance companies that did all they could do to get out of paying, we had a government that flew over heard and looked down at us, we had sister cities in our own state that didn't want to have anything to do with people from New Orleans.

I know a lot of people outside the city, outside the state wonder what the big fuss is still four years after Katrina came aground. It wasn't just a big storm. It was that and more, the aftermath was worse in many ways. We're making our way back, but it's not always easy or as quick as we'd like.

(Personally I came through the storm fairly well off. Today I am not struggling to put my home or life back in shape from the storm, but I know many who are, so I feel the effects.)


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