The day before Hurricane Katrina struck, we packed up our cars and set out for slow crawl through traffic towards Lafayette. My mother and some close relatives took the trip with me. We ended up spending the night in Rayne, Louisiana at a shelter. We looked into the parking lot as lightning lit up the sky throughout the night and we could hear the wind picking up. The next day all seemed fine, but we had no idea what was going on back home. After finding a nice man who took us in to his home for a couple days, we spent most of the day watching the horrors unfold in the city. Some of my relatives received passes to head back into the city- all of them being firefighters in Gretna and Harvey. No more than a couple days later, one of them arrived back in Lafayette- a look of pure fear and confusion was on his face. He walked in and looked at us for a moment, trying to get the words to come out. Then, with a raspy voice and watering eyes he said, \"We were trying to help rescue people and we were being shot at. Everything is messed up.\" I will never forget the look on his face. At the same time, CNN was covering the major looting and violence breaking out in the city. At that point, I didn\'t know what to do or think. I just kept watching the TV and hoping the news would improve.\r\n\r\nAlso during Katrina, my dad was working with the special-needs patients that were in the Superdome. I was used to this happening every time we had a storm threaten New Orleans. He was Regional Manager of Louisiana Rehabilitation Services and my mom and I would always drop him off at the service entrance of the Superdome the day before the storm. I never had anything to worry about. But when I woke up the morning the storm hit and then watched as reports of catastrophic flooding poured in to news stations, my heart was pounding. With all the cell phone towers being out of commission, there was no way to get in touch with him. When further reports came in of the conditions in the Superdome, I thought I would never see my dad again. Finally, when the military convoy arrived, he was able to call me from a satellite phone and tell me he made it fine. I can only imagine the experiences he had inside that place and thank God that he\'s retired and never has to do that again.


“[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed June 16, 2024,