Friday night before the storm I came home to my Midcity apartment and noticed I needed gas for my truck. I decided to get it on the way to work the next morning. I relaxed that night thinking the first week of classes started off pretty well and I was looking forward to the rest of the semester.\r\n\r\nI went to work the next morning and was shocked to see huge lines at the gas station. I didn\\\'t really think much of it until I got to the second gas station and the lines were wrapped all the way around the block! I wasn\\\'t sure what was going on. I went into work (I work at a family owned hardware store) and the place was mobbed! Shelves were empty, boxes were everywhere, people were scrambling. My co-workers said they had been trying to reach me, and that it had been like this all morning! I asked what was going on and my good friend said \"You haven\'t watched the news?!!\" and she clicked the TV on. A deep fear sunk in as I watched the spiraling maps of what was approaching. I could not believe it!! I snapped out of it, jumped on a register and started to ring up customers. Each person had a story, each person had a plan. My boss and I convinced many customers to change their plans and leave. After my shift ended everyone shared phone numbers, and wished each other well. We all thought we would be back to work on Wednesday.\r\n\r\nI left work and had to search for a place to fill my tank. I had to buy the premium gas because regular unleaded was sold out completely. I went home and started my plan. My roommate made plans for us to camp in Texas. We packed our tents, and camping gear. We then took a shopping trip to Winn Dixie for supplies. The shelves were practically stripped clean. I helped some older woman get water off of a pallet. Then the search continued for cat food. They only had a small bag left. I then made a separate search to seven different stores for bags of ice.\r\n\r\nWe then went home and gathered together fellow students from school that didn\\\'t have reliable transportation. Before departing our apartment we put some important things up off of the floor as best as we could. At 12:30 am we secured our cats at a friend’s second floor apartment on Paris Ave. We thought it would be best for them only because we would be staying in tents and our apartment in Midcity was on the ground floor. \r\n\r\nOur journey started here. We jumped on I-10 and followed the cars through contraflow. On the Atchafalaya Bridge we were stuck in slow moving traffic. At about 3:00 am Sunday morning I blew a tire on that bridge during contraflow and blocked off a whole lane of traffic. There was no breakdown lane since we were on the opposite side of the highway. There were no lights to change the tire, no one stopped to help. Our friend from school started to change it for us. All we could see for miles behind us was a stream of slow moving headlights. It was the scariest thing. If someone wasn’t driving carefully we could have been struck and sent into the bayou as alligator food. It was a horrible feeling. It took an hour to change the tire with the limited light we had. Once on the road the traffic thickened. It took so long to reach Baton Rouge (on a normal day it takes 2 hours or so). We picked up another friend at LSU and continued our journey. It was a long tiring drive. We didn\\\'t reach Brookshire until around 2 or 3 pm. When we finally arrived we were all exhausted. I had not slept since Saturday morning and here it was Sunday afternoon. We set up our tents and crashed.\r\n\r\nAt first we treated it as a vacation, but when the news began to unfold we were singing a different tune. Our eyes were glued to CNN and any breaking stories. When no news of New Orleans itself was being reported, we feared the worse. We searched every station but all they reported was on Biloxi. In our haste to find out what was going on one of our friends found a news story online. In the report they were taking a flight over the city, and we saw what they weren\\\'t showing on TV. We saw our flooded University area, we saw Paris Ave where our cats were, we saw our home near I-10 and the cemeteries...All of it...Flooded!!! Some of us just sat there in shock, some tried to call family members, some screamed and cried, and some started to drink…A LOT! \r\n\r\nWe were devastated...we were paralyzed...we didn\'t know what to do. For a week we just blundered around in a daze. There were others like us at the campground and we formed a tight network of support. Some were from Metairie, some from Slidell, some from New Orleans, and some from other places...I lost track. The campground itself adopted us. They gave us clothes and food, and helped as best they could. Eventually our party decided to split up and go our own ways. A few of us went to Massachusetts, some to Monroe, some to Slidell and then ended up in New York; others went back to Kenner and Metairie.\r\n\r\nWe are all very close now...even the disastrous discoveries we each uncovered after our return to New Orleans didn\'t split us apart. Maybe we are stronger, maybe we are wiser, but the memories still linger. We see images everyday of the horror. It is all around us...the holes in rooftops, flood lines, the flooded cars, the \"X\"\'s etched into everything. There are faces we used to see that we see no longer...we will never forget...this city will never let us forget...and to protect our future we should never forget...\r\n

Citation

Elora Brower, “[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed April 25, 2019, http://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/4329.