During the evacuation, my husband and I made the \r\nheart-breaking choice of leaving our 7 cats behind.\r\n\r\nWe live off of Chef Hwy. and Downman Rd. The house is over 50 years old. It had never flooded. Reasoning that we wouldn\'t this time, I put food and water on the counter, said a prayer, packed up our two dogs and left.\r\n\r\nWe evacuated to Shreveport, LA.\r\nWhile there, our worst nightmare came true.\r\n\r\nThe grief of loosing my childhood home in Chalmette was almost unbearable.\r\n\r\nWe still had no idea where some of our friends were and all we could do was watch it on TV. I was afraid for our futures.\r\n\r\nThe pain of leaving behind my cats haunted me.\r\nI tried the Humane Society, Noah\'s Wish. Everyone I could think of.\r\n\r\nAfter two weeks, we hadn\'t heard anything.\r\nMy husband and I decided to check the shelter in Gonzales in the hopes that they were picked up and we were weren\'t contacted yet.\r\n\r\nMy father fixed his van for us, taking out the seat and putting in a cage. I was unable to sleep the night before fearing what we would or wouldn\'t find.\r\n\r\n\r\nAfter a six hour drive to Gonzales, the search was fruitless.\r\nI was more depressed then ever.\r\nI asked my husband, \"What now?\"\r\nHe looked me in the eye and said \"We are going to New Orleans to get our animals back.\"\r\n\r\nWe noticed other animal rescue vans and saw that they were marked with washable paint identifying themselves as animal rescuers.\r\n\r\nWe made calls to our family and friends. They recommended that we do the same and to purchase sodas and chewing gum to bribe the police & soldiers with if necessary.\r\n\r\n\r\nWe headed to the nearest open Wal-Mart located in LaPlace, LA.\r\nOur purchases included pet food, sodas, an ice-chest, ice, gum, WD-40, a crowbar, rope, and window paint.\r\n\r\nWe painted the side and back windows in the parking lot.\r\nAfter this was done, we drove towards New Orleans. At a checkpoint before the Bonnet Carre Spillway, we were redirected through Slidell. \r\n\r\nWe crossed the Causeway and my eyes started to tear as I realized that the images on TV wasn\'t a fantasy.\r\n\r\nPeople\'s lives were spilled all over the place. Toys, books, boats, clothes, furniture and other objects were pushed to the sides of the interstate.\r\n\r\nIt was the middle of the day and there was absolutely nobody else in sight.\r\n\r\nWe crossed through a burm into New Orleans via Jefferson Hwy.\r\n\r\nMy husband, a prior service United States Marine who served in the first Gulf Conflict commented on how it was eerily reminiscent of crossing the burm in Kuwait, never imagining it would be into his hometown.\r\n\r\nOn Claiborne Ave., we were stopped by a 101st Airborne SSGT.\r\nHe didn\'t question us. He simply said, \"Oh, I\'m sorry I didn\'t see the writing on the vehicle. Proceed.\"\r\n\r\nAfter that, we saw the Superdome and the surrounding buildings from the I-10. \r\nI was in shock. It felt like the end of the world.\r\n\r\nWe finally made it to our home. I was dreading what we would find. Our house seemed ok for the most part.\r\nWe opened the door and realized that we had flooded.\r\nMy mind was flashing images of dead cats.\r\nWe heard mewing and one of our cats revealed himself.\r\nTo our great relief, all of our cats were unharmed. Just hungry and upset.\r\n\r\nWe pulled them out, put them into the van and left.\r\nAs we were turning the corner, an MP Hummer was heading our way. They didn\'t stop us and we managed to leave the city without incident.\r\n\r\nI credit my husband\'s prior service in a conflict for giving us the confidence to undertake what he called an infiltration mission.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n



“[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed July 25, 2024, https://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/28084.