The raindrops slowly ran off the windshield of the car as our small caravan attempted to flee the city only hours before Katrina carved its path of destruction across the Gulf Coast. At every stop (and there were many) we could see the early bands of the hurricane creeping ominously closer to where we were. This gloomy atmosphere did not, however, dampen the spirit of our fellow evacuees. At gas stations throughout our journey, New Orlineans danced and sang with music blaring and hips gyrating. Startled locals could not hide their curiosity as they stared and giggled at these party people who seemed to thrive in the worst of conditions, at some random gas station with all of their most treasured possessions packed and carefully loaded into their cars.\r\n After a 24 hour car ride, we pulled into a Dallas Holiday Inn Select. What was supposed to be just a few days away from home evolved into two long weeks spent in shock as reports of widespread flooding and anarchy engulfed the Crescent City.\r\n The journey home brought us through a transformed landscape. The colorful world we had once known had been replaced by a brown wasteland in which a layer of grime clung to everything in sight. Trees were snapped like toothpicks; billboards were bent to the ground like twist-ties. Entire neighborhoods were devoid of a single soul, and military vehicles patrolled the streets. \r\n Someone\'s fridge had somehow floated onto our lawn - an amazing feat considering our neighborhood had only a few inches of water in most houses. My grandparents\' house, which weathered the storm without any damage, burned to the ground when a spark went off after the power returned, and several other relatives lost everything to the flood waters. \r\n We had been among the lucky ones. While our house did flood, we only had a few inches of water and most of our possessions could be salvaged. The power remained unreliable for sometime after we returned, especially after a stunningly stupid individual drove a backhoe down our street, snapping the power lines to our side as he went.\r\n It was in the blackness brought on by this oaf that one of my favorite experiences has engraved itself into the halls of my memory. In the absolute darkness that had descended upon us, I could see the night sky with a clarity that \r\nI had never seen before. Each star was amplified; every direction held new sights and treasures that I wished to embed in my memory. It was then, surrounded by the cosmos, that I realized something; only when you are surrounded by the darkest night, can you most clearly see the stars. \r\n



Anonymous, “[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed September 19, 2019,