Appreciation for Life After Katrina

When Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans, I was 15 years old at the time. I was confused on why everyone was in a panic and why I had to sit in a car with all my family members and pets for 5 hours just to get to my uncles house in Baton Rouge. Hurricane Katrina was my first experience of a major hurricane that would effect my life forever. During the storm majority of my family stayed at my uncle's house in Baton Rouge; majority meaning: 36 of my family members,6 dogs and 3 cats. Needless to say I was never alone for a minute without another family member there. During the storm, Baton Rouge didn't recieve much damage but loss of power and a few shingles off of the roof. Having to stay in a town i was unfamiliar with was the toughest part as a teenager. My family knowing that flooding had occured in parts of Metairie where we had lived had deterred them from wanting to go back right away. In light of all the news, my family had enrolled me in a school in the Baton Rouge area, in the case my high school back home was not going to reopen.
My father, who is a store manager for the Home Depot store in New Orleans, was allowed to go into the city before many others to reopen his store and access the damage to make sure opening will be quick and easy for people to be able to rebuild and get the materials they need to fix their homes. As a young teenager I remember hearing about the shootings and looting occuring near my father's store and watching him leave every day with a gun attached to his hip for precaution.

When we were finally given the ok to return with my dad to get some more clothes and things from our house I never knew how hard it would be to look at what my town looked like. The roads were covered in power lines and countless trees, some buildings were shattered and dismantled, many houses were blown off their foundations, and cars completely flipped over and in canals from the intense winds. Taking this all in and not being prepared for what I was about to see was difficult. As soon as we arrived at my house, I became upset even more; we had 7 inches of water in our house. I know that to other peoples situations 7 inches is not a lot but it was more then enough to ruin all the floors, furniture, and all of my memories of my childhood in picture books that I had left under my bed. Being so young, i was distraught. I would grab things off the floor that i had kept from my childhood with my hands shaking and tears running down my face. I had left all my grammer school and freshman year yearbooks on the floor for them also all to be covered in water. Knowing that these memories were gone was a hard concept for me to grasp.

After a month had pasted and we were all given the ok to come back and start the construction process, we got right to it. We began gutting the house as i watched all our walls and furniture be put out to the trash. It was hard to know that me and many other family members needed to start our lives back from scratch but knowing that my family was there for me and that everyone was safe was all i needed to believe in because that is something that couldnt be replaced. In light of my whole situation I grew as a person in many ways. I respected my family more for what they did for me for keeping me safe and doing the best they could to replace all of my things that were destroyed. And I also learned to appreciate everything you have and everything you recieve because it can happen in 1 day that it can all be taken away from you...


Anonymous, “Appreciation for Life After Katrina,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed February 19, 2020,