When Hurricane Katrina hit. I was in Baton Rouge having a few drinks at typical New Orleans style hurricane party. I had just gotten in contact with my parents and sister who had decided to ride it out at my father work downtown. My father worked at the Hibernia building downtown which was supposed to be equipped with enough supplies, fuel, and water to ride out any storm and still keep the building fully operational, at least in theory. They said they were fine and that there was no need come get them. \r\n I finally got back in touch with my sister the next morning. Everything was not fine. The water truck and the security team never showed up. With out water they could not run the generators. Even though the only cash in the building was in the ATM downstairs, a Hibernia building without power or a security team posed a tempting target for the uniformed. Looters first went for the ATM early that morning and quickly expanded their search into the building. My father and the two dozen co-workers decided to abandon the building and to move their families to the parking garage. This was the point where I was able to connect with my sister. It was a short broken up conversation during which I could overhear the lone unarmed security guard trying to bluff looters from coming up through the lobby. My sister was terrified. I got the number of the security team that was supposed to be handling it and told my father I was on my way. \r\n I got in touch with the security company and learned that they were getting the runaround from local police and coast guard. I grabbed by bug out bag, equipped with all a boy and his family could need for 72 hours in 3rd world war zone, and headed of for the Hibernia in Houma where the security team was basing out of. Several hours later, after having to tow about a half dozen trees out of my way I made it to Houma. I had never been to Houma or the bank but thankfully I got the Mil. grid of the bank from the security company. I plugged in the coordinates in my Mil Grid equipped Magellan eXplorist 400 my grandfather had given me upon graduation from Basic and found the bank and helipad after a few offroad detours. What I found was surprising. After having establish who I was and who my father was, I found a well organized and professional control center. I have to give credit to the local Hibernia boss. She everything under control and had hired a hot shit security company fresh out of Afghanistan. One of the guys had served with cousins in the 75th the year before and pulled me in to give the strait pop. Since they weren\'t getting any government help they were organizing a rescue effort on their own.One of the heads of Hibernia had sent the corporate Lear and pair of helicopter. They were originally hoping for a military chopper to fast rope into the parking structure and to then escort the families to the Tulane helipad to be flown out by civilian choppers. \r\n After endless delays and empty promises of Military support they decided it was enough. Actually the corporate Hibernia woman made that call. She said we had two perfectly good helicopters on standby and told the local PD we were going with or without there approval. \r\n Finally we were going to make some progress. I wanted in. There was plenty of room on the outbound choppers and since fast roping was out of the question the retired Chief Warrant Officer in charge couldn\'t argue against me coming along for the ride. It made practical sense to I was the only one any of the employees would recognize due to the years of company picnics and working my summers in the data processing room for the past few years. \r\n On the ride out it looked like the water was continuing to rise with parts of the city left untouched. The ride seemed short. The last conversation I had with my sister kept rerunning through my mind balanced with some colorful words from my drill sergeant at Bragg. The chopper pilots were first rate and didn\'t have any problems finding the Tulane helipad which was nothing more than the top of a parking garage turned into pickup zone for those lucky enough to have found a ride out. We made our way to the parking garage the Hibernia building about a half mile away. We didn\'t take the most direct route as a dozen heavily armed men in black bdu\'s and body armor tend to draw attention.\r\n Most of the way was fairly dry with only a foot of water. Some low spots it looked to be about two to three feet,just enough to stop you from driving a normal truck out of there. We were expecting to have to secure the building and then walk everyone out on foot. When we got within a few blocks I saw my Dad pulling a cheap raft, the type kids buy to row around a hotel pool. He had my sister on his back and my mom and our yellow lab with them. I was so relieved to see them ok. They were with about 13 or 14 others. They had gone out to the CVS on canal to try and get a few supplies. The raft was filled with first aid equipment, watter bottles, and junk food. My dad offered to pay the owner of the CVS for everything but the owner told him not to worry and to take what them needed. Some of his coworkers took it upon themselves to take more than bare essentials. It disgusted me to see some of the stupid shit some of his coworker had taken. Hibernia later wrote a very generous check to the CVS owner.\r\n We waited there while all but three of the security team went to secure the Hibernia building a secure the other families. While we waited I made my sister put on the brand new IBA, complete with trauma plates, I\'d been loaned by my new found friends. It was hot, heavy, and sweaty but after a look from my father she put it on without further complaint. I got then rundown from them on what I had missed. I didn\'t have the heart to tell my sister that we would probably have to leave our lab behind. \r\n When the rest showed up, we made our way back to the parking garage at Tulane that was serving as a helipad for various groups. We were met by a rent a cop decked out in shotgun shell bandoleer and swat style Remington 870, who though it was his job to stop anyone from getting in. He tried to be a bad ass by pointing his shotgun at some of the families and got his nose broken and his toys confiscated by the the retired CWO who was trying to calm him down. I\'m not sure if I would have been able to show that much restraint had I been the closest on to him. He still infuriates me just thinking back to it. \r\n Everything was sorted out when we got to the roof and the first chopper was waiting. My parents and sister got on the first chopper. My sister wouldn\'t go if my Dad didn\'t go with her. I understood her not wanting to be separated from my Dad who had been her rock throughout the whole endeavor, but I sure as hell wasn\'t going to let my dog take the place of someone else on the chopper. I promised my sister that i would take care of the dog and wait for the last chopper. I figured if it came down to it I had enough in my bug out bag to last me a week or I could walk to the nearest National guard FOB and show my ID. A few hours later when the last chopper came there was more than enough room for the last family, the remaining security, and even my dog and I. \r\n We choppered out to Houma where my parents had taken the Hibernia Lear to Houston. I left Houma and headed back to Baton Rouge in my Bronco with my lab, a few new friends, and an open ended job offer that I took up recently on an occasional consulting basis.\r\n

Citation

“[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed July 18, 2024, https://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/42987.

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