I have never been through a hurricane, or, ok, I had never been through a hurricane. This is the only evidence I can think to offer when someone asks why I stayed. Somehow, I have missed every hurricane that has tried to come through New Orleans since I moved here in 1999. I have never had to make the decision to stay or go, been through an evacuation real or false, spent time stuck in traffic, Houston hotel rooms, or Baton Rouge bars; I am a hurricane warning novice. If there is a title that means even less qualified at something than a novice, then I am that. I have either been out of town on vacation or temporarily living out of state every time a hurricane has swung by or even waved hello from the gulf coast. In fact, I am so prone to missing hurricanes that once while I was living in Richmond, Virginia, it was hit by a hurricane (a fairly uncommon occurrence) and you know where I was? Visiting New Orleans.\r\n Therefore, looking back on it, when my roommate and I were left to make the decision whether or not to evacuate, I feel I was not qualified for the job. Had I been required to fill out an application for this position I would have been immediately laughed out of the hypothetical office. I had never thought about levees or flooding. My only real concern was wind damage, or more accurately my concern was for the objects that would be thrown around by the wind- cars, trees, my house, etc. In weighing the pros and cons, my roommate pointed out we would be spending so much time on the highway the car could potentially run out of gas. He told me horror stories of people spending 18 hours on the highway just to get to Baton Rouge! Baton Rouge! Once there, he conjectured, we wouldn\'t have anywhere to stay, or any hopes of finding a dog-friendly hotel. Or worse, he predicted, we might still be in the car when the hurricane hit! I was sold. Leaving was a terrible idea. We should stay. (I didn\'t have a car either way so whatever my roommate wanted to do, I was along for the ride. Or in this case, not.) It was safer that way and really, we figured, a hurricane was probably not going to hit anyways, given my hurricane aversion record. To hell with the news. (As of recent, it has been pointed out to me that the evacuation was mandatory. I do not recall considering this fact at the time.)\r\n We packed a change of clothes and some food for the dogs and drove to our friend\'s house in mid-city. We decided it was safer to stay there rather than our house, and did the next logical thing in our series of practical decision making events and went bar hopping. Our mid-city friends didn\'t want to join us and instead settled in to play board games and smoke some pot, and we went back down town to hang out. We bought some beer and walked around, dogs in tow, and took in the eerily empty French Quarter- everything boarded up, no cars parked on the street, totally deserted- a scene that would become all too familiar in the coming days. We sat on the river for a while, the ominous rolling gray clouds overhead.\r\n \"Oh look, they removed all of the plastic trash can bins from the trash can holders- I guess that\'s so if the river gets too high then the trash cans won\'t float away...\" I commented. If I had known that this was the only precaution that the city had taken that day, I would have put a saddle on my dog and ridden him out of town.\r\n What happens next goes something like this: we hit up a few dog-friendly bars, end up running into our friend, who also has a dog, who is staying on the second floor of a solid brick building courtesy of the kind hotel owners he lives next door to, the hotel is only one block away from where we live, we call our mid-city friends and tell them we\'ve decided to stay downtown, would they like to come?, no, well we\'ll see them tomorrow, get some more beer, go back to the hotel and hang out, make phone calls to concerned family and friends promising that we are smart and we will stay safe, at the end of the night bunker down in the hotel room to watch DVDs until the power goes out....\r\n The power goes out. Inside. It is raining. Inside. What I can only assume is happening outside is that God is playing a gahme of blindfolded darts, using Mac trucks for the darts and our building for the bull\'s eye....\r\n And then, by some miracle, it is all over. We go outside to see how our neighborhood has faired. Remember the opening scene in Snow White when she walks through the forest and as she does the sun comes out and all of the little forest creatures follow behind her and everything is magical and wonderful? It felt like that. Things looked great. I mean, yeah, there were shingles littering the streets, and downed trees and power lines and the copper had been ripped off the top of St. Augustine\'s church, but compared to what was about to happen, everything was ok. Really. In our part of town anyways. Then we all went walking around, towards the Quarter and down to Bourbon Street, because that\'s where people seemed to be gathering- and it really seemed like everything was going to be ok. There was a sense of camaraderie that we had all just made it through this Thing and Wasn\'t it terrible? But we were all going to be ok! New Orleans had been spared again. \r\n That is my story of Hurricane Katrina. What happens next is my experience of the levees breaking, and the complete failure of the United States Government to the aid of the people of New Orleans.\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n



“[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed May 25, 2022, https://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/33417.