A Hurricane Called Katrina

August one year ago began like any summer month. My mother and I had been going about our usual daily business while keeping an eye on the hurricane named Katrina that was heading into the Gulf.

Saturday August 27th, we had stocked up on our emergency supplies just in case, like everyone else.We didn’t think much about the hurricane, we were simply enjoying the weekend. Sunday August 28th while I slept my mother was keeping an eye on the hurricane, by this time the Mayor and the Govornor was asking everyone to leave for higher ground. They kept saying how the window of oppurtunity was fast closing, and everyone in our neighborhood that was leaving had already gone.

My mother and I had decided to ride the hurricane out if it did hit. You see my mother and I had done this several times with the rest of my family and usually managed to do okay without any casualties. And the truth was that I wasn’t going to leave her alone in this crisis. We thought that it would be a great deal of wind, and probably rain but we didin’t think that it would be as bad as they said that it would be. That Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day with no sign of a hurricane even being evident. The sun was shining, there were no clouds in the sky. And there was a cool breeze blowing.

We had dinner that evening and my mother got her uniform ready for work like she always did. We still kept the television on and listened to the reports on the radio. At the time we still were not worried because we thought that the storm would simply blow over. Later on we called it a night and went to bed. My mother being an early riser was up at 5:00 a.m. that morning on August 29th. It had started to rain moderately and the winds had begun to pick up slightly. So we went downstairs to look around outside and that is when we realized that the streets were beginning to flood. At 6:00 a.m. we lost all electricity in our house.

It began to pour down and the effects of the hurricane had started. We all but huddled in our hallway downstairs as the winds outside began to literally howl. We were going to take refuge in the downstaris bathroom at first, but water started coning in to the house and we started mopping up water as fast as we could. At about 8:30 all hell literally seemed to break loose not only as the water began to come down through our ceiling, but as we looked outside, water was coming down the street from where the levee had busted open. It looked like the whole of lake pontchertrain was barraling down the street toward our house. We raced back upstairs and in about 15 minutes the whole downstairs was flooded with water almost to the ceiling. We were blessed that we had only months earlier moved into a townhouse with an upstairs and an attic.

All night we stared outside of our bedroom windows and saw how it appeared that our whole neighborhood had become like an ocean. Ducks were floating on top of the water. We were also aware that a few people had lost their lives. All we had to keep us in the know was a small radio which had told us of the conditions all around the city, and we learned that the levee had broken and let water into several neighborhoods. For the next two days all that we could do was listen to other people who were trapped in their homes call for help. And as far as food went, all tha we had was a few bottles of water and a bag of M&Ms. Things did not look good for us. Soon helicoptors began flying overhead and airlifting people from their rooftops. My mother and I are both afraid of heights and didn’t know if we would be able to do that. It wasn’t until August 31st that we finally heard men in boats coming through. At last we were saved.

We were eventually taken to the Convention Center which turned out to be a horrible experience. The things that we saw there were as horrible as the hurricane itself. There was very little water or food to go around and the smell of death was everywhere. Peoople were selling drugs, fighting, stealing, and destroying property. It was complete and utter lawlessness.

Two days later busses began taking people out of the city. We ended up spending time in Arkansas where we were treated well and to be honest where we were content for a time.

Now, after a year we are back in Louisiana trying to pick up the pieces of our lives. Things are looking a little better than they did a year ago but life still has not returned to normal as we would like it. But thank God we didin’t lose our lives.

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