Online Story Contribution, Hurricane Digital Memory Bank

Hurricane Katrina has been a terrifying, horrific and shocking experience for me. It was devastating to see so many of the people of New Orleans in the conditions that they were left in for so long. It still sends chills down my spine when I think about the conditions that these people had to live in for up to one month. Although the experience has left a bad taste in my mouth, Katrina has really taught me a lot. It has definitely also been a learning experience! \r\nOn the Friday before Katrina hit New Orleans I went out with several friends. The winds had picked up and the gas lines grew longer but we just thought that it was another storm that the media was blowing out of proportion. When we got back to my house earlier the next morning, we put the news on and found out that the storm was a hurricane and that it was scheduled to hit on Sunday or Monday as either a category four or five. I began to get concerned and called my parents for the opinion on whether I should wait out the storm or evacuate. I decide to head home to Eunice but only thinking I would be gone for a couple of days. I only packed a few changes of clothes and was on my way to avoid traffic. \r\nI got home to Eunice and realized the severity of the storm when I watched more of the news and learned that the time the hurricane was predicted to hit continued to draw near. My father and I watched the news all day long and Eunice had experienced its very first traffic jam. \r\n My father works offshore often due to his job and was getting news from the company’s independent meteorologist before the public got the information. The meteorologist told my dad that when Katrina does hit New Orleans, the city of Venice will no longer exist. When I heard this from my dad the first thing that I thought of was my pictures and other belongings in my home that I have left behind. \r\n When Katrina hit on Monday, I remember watching the news and thinking that it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, and maybe my things were well enough to recover. Then the levee broke and so did my heart and spirit. I was seeing clips and pictures of all of the people that stayed behind or that were left behind on their roof tops and in the Cajun Dome and the Convention Center. I was completely shocked. Everyone always talked about how New Orleans would flood because it is so low below sea level, but I never thought that I would be alive to see it, much less live in the city when it happened. \r\n Another thing that depressed me when the devastation took over was the city itself. New Orleans is a wonderful city with so much history, so much culture, so much diversity, and so much incredible characteristics to be proud to be a part of. I just envisioned so much of the city’s charm completely destroyed.\r\n \r\nAfter Katrina hit and the levee broke, I remained in Eunice with my parents and continued to watch the news to learn more about the recovery of those still in the city and the plans that our government leaders were making to get these people out. It seemed that Louisiana was in a huge argument about why no action had taken place instead of doing something to get the thousands still starving in New Orleans. As I watched different television shows and news channels I began to grow angry. So many people were pointing fingers at others to figure out who to blame for this tragedy. Also so many people that were still in New Orleans were taking advantage of the situation that was occurring and were looting and vandalizing homes and businesses. I did find it necessary for those to do anything for food, diapers, and other necessities, but television sets and sneakers by the bulk made no sense to me. It made the situation worse because many of the military people that could have been helping to evacuate others from the city were sidetracked because they had to deal with the looters. Another thing that I found disturbing was that some people were shooting at the helicopters carrying emergency personnel that was trying to get aid to those still on their roof tops. It frightened me because New Orleans had become completely chaotic and I was afraid to have to go back. New Orleans began to become a place that I did not know anymore. I felt like I was watching a movie, not the news. It was very hard to believe that the beautiful city had become unlivable and more dangerous than before. \r\n Instead of sitting around my house all day wondering what I would do about school , my house, my possessions, and my life I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and do something to help those that needed all the help they could get. I went to the First Baptist Church in Eunice and volunteered my time to those in the shelter. There were many families with nothing, no clothes, no diapers, no toilets articles, no home, no memoirs, but so much hope and gratitude. It absolutely amazed me how these families that were torn away form everything they knew were still so thankful. They were thankful to be together, they were thankful for what others had given to them, and they were thankful they were not still in the city.\r\n After this experience I realized how selfish I had been. Instead of thinking about what I could do to help the people in need I was thinking about my stuff that I had left behind in New Orleans. Another thing that lifted my spirits and had a positive impact on me was so many families being reunited. It showed that so many others did care and they did so much to help families, friends, neighbors, and even pets. \r\n I am currently at LSU and am extremely grateful for the staff and faculty because they allowed so many misplaced students to continue their education at their school. My experience has been amazingly positive with the teachers as well as the students here. The teachers are very understanding and the students were so quick to help me get the notes that I missed. \r\n I am tremendously excited to see how New Orleans is going to regroup after this huge disaster and how long it will take it to get its party city charm back. I also feel a bit scattered because I am not real sure where I am going to end up next semester. I am scheduled to graduate in May, but I have no idea if I am going to be able to get a job and find an apartment that I can afford. Looking into the future is somewhat scary because I do not know what the outcome will be and I am really hoping that I will not have to push back my graduation date. \r\n Even though I was living in New Orleans at the time Hurricane Katrina hit and I did have minimal damage to my home and was not able to recover everything I had some wind damage to the outside of my house, but no water got inside.I definitely consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. I have my life and all of my family and friends are safe. While all of us are displaced and are out of work, we all have each other and had other family to stay with while we get back on our feet. Hurricane Katrina has been a devastating situation for many people all over the world and has affected many people. I think this should be a start for our nation to come together as many people already have and stop pointing fingers and figuring out who is to blame. We should all try to look at the positive side of this disaster and thank God that the outcome was not worse than it was.

Citation

Greta Feucht, “Online Story Contribution, Hurricane Digital Memory Bank,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed October 24, 2018, http://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/14.