Lauren Morales \r\nNot Just Katrina but Rita\r\n\r\nI live in a little town about thirty minutes south of New Orleans called Lafitte. Like many others, my family evacuated Sunday morning August 28 around three am. We were gone for about two weeks when we received information that our home was untouched. After living in a hotel then a house boat I could not wait to see my own bed. We were home for about a week before my parents went back to work, but they were not there long. \r\n\r\nTwo weeks after our return home Hurricane Rita hit. Lafitte is a little island with bayous on each side. I live right next to bayou Barataria. On September 21, 2005 my dad woke me, my brother, and my mom up at 2:30 am because the water had started to rise. We began grabbing everything off of the floor and putting it onto our beds to try to save anything we could. We each grabbed a bag of clothes and jumped into my dad’s truck which luckily is big and drove down the street to my grandmothers house on pilings. By the time we got there the water level was centimeters from entering the truck. \r\n\r\nOnce we got to my grandmother’s house my dad, grandfather and brother jumped into a pirogue and headed back to my house. When they got there the water was still a couple feet from the door so they loaded the boat with family pictures and moved into the living room to try to save some of our furniture. Once they got the sofa and loveseat onto stools hell truly broke out in Lafitte. \r\n\r\nBy six am five homes were on fire and one of them was in my back yard. My dad and grandfather immediately went for the water hoses and began to spray down the back of my house while my brother shooed away the snakes and eels floating around, now keep in mind the water level is about knee deep and we have two feet in the house. \r\n\r\nNow it is eight am and big army trucks are entering Lafitte the evacuate people to dry ground and my dad, brother and grandfather are on there way back. My grandmother’s neighbor is a fisherman and offered us a lift out on his boat. Ten minutes latter we got onto his boat from my grandmothers second story porch which is about 12 feet of the ground. Once I entered that boat I just could not stop crying. We saw airboats picking up some families, we saw some in the army trucks and we also saw tons of wildlife floating down the street on logs. \r\n\r\nI just could not believe I was going down the street in a boat. There were many picnic tables, potted plants, ant piles, and all sorts of other things floating in the street. It wasn’t until we had to dodge the picnic table that we ran over a brick mailbox. Once we got the boat into the bayou we called my uncle to meet us at a bridge. He brought us to his house and from there we went to Magnolia, Mississippi until the water went down. \r\n\r\nWhen we finally came back the only way we could get to my house was by boat. We started getting all the mud out then tearing out the walls and flooring. We all took turns going get lunch each day because you had to get back in the boat to get to the Red Cross station that came set up and serve food. \r\nIt was a rough road but we made it. Now every time I see that Red Cross volunteer asking for a donation I think about how they fed my family for a week and don’t think twice about putting a few dollars into his bucket. \r\n

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Lauren Morales, “[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed November 16, 2018, http://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/4244.