Our Lives Changed Right Before Our Eyes
I can remember, and will never forget, sitting on the bed of the Sleep Inn Hotel in Baton Rouge watching the numerous reports on Hurricane Katrina. Although I was only 11 at the time, I was very aware of what was going on. I had assumed there would be parts of my life that would change very soon; however, I didn't expect my life to be completely flipped upside down.
I was just an eleven year old boy from Chalmette, Louisiana who, along with fifteen other family members, evacuated to Baton Rouge to escape Hurricane Katrina. As we sat on that hotel bed, my attention was completely centered on the small T.V. that was right in front of me. All I can remember is the videos of helicopters flying over New Orleans and Chalmette showing that the water had reached the rooftops. I can't tell you what anyone else in the room was doing, because I was in shock. Shocked is the only way to describe it. I didn't know what was going to happen next. Were we going to be able to go home? Were we going to live in this hotel forever? I had absolutely no idea; all I knew was my life as I knew it was over.
My mom had been very careful about what she chose to tell me, and what she allowed me to see. I remember her not wanting me to go back to Chalmette, because she didn't think I could handle the things I would see. Quite frankly, she was right. When I did go back, I stood outside my house and just stared at it for a while. Coming to grips with the idea that I would never go inside again was almost impossible. I cried to my mom all day, and all I could say was, "I just want to go home." But that wasn't a possibility.