I was in 7th grade at the time of Hurricane Katrina, at St. Christopher Elementary School in Metairie. I do live in Metairie, but I remember when the hurricane was finally targeted at New Orleans, my school teachers and friends were all scared of how powerful the hurricane would be. My dad, however, was skeptical of how much damage the hurricane would do in our particular area, since we\'re considered to be 3 feet above sea level. We had always evacuated for hurricanes before, mainly because my mother\'s family is in Texas: makes for a nice, free visit to the family while staying out of harm\'s way, so I expected that we would evacuate immediately. But my father was considering staying, and I begged, and begged, and begged to stay because I thought that it would be a lot of fun to ride out a category 5 storm. Unfortunately, after he weighed the options of being out of air conditioning for a week, we decided to pack up and go to Alexandria to visit my dad\'s cousin. I was extremely reluctant to go, but my dad assured me that I would love my cousin Sonny because he reminded me of my grandfather who had passed when I was seven. During even the last days of the evacuation, I remember the traffic. Dear god, the horrible, awful, never-ending traffic. Going through Baton Rouge, I remember hearing stories of people\'s cars who died in the middle of the I-10 because they would be sitting idle for so long. Luckily, my impatient father decided to go around Baton Rouge, and we got to Alexandria, LA in just a few hours. \r\n Meeting my cousin Sonny for the first time was hauntingly nostalgic. He was almost a replica of my grandfather, in looks and in personality. But then again, what old, former-Mafia, Italian man isn\'t? He lived alone, but spent a lot of time with his ex-wife, which I did not understand at all at the time. We were sharing the house with his daughter and her husband, who I had also never met before. We all got along very well and had good, home-cooked meals. It didn\'t feel like were were displaced at all, aside from the fact that my parents and I shared one room with my mother and I on a cot and my father on the floor. We listened to the news all day and had contact with our cousin who was a police officer back home, and for a couple of weeks, we had a really nice, family oriented vacation going on. But I remember one day, coming home from the library with my mother and Ms. Cora, Sonny\'s ex-wife, my dad announced to me that I would be attending school the next day. I. Screamed. I pitched a huge fit and fought with them relentlessly for hours and hours on end. And when I finally felt like I couldn\'t win, I locked myself in the bathroom and refused to come out until they unenrolled me. But I wound up having to go to a small, Catholic school for a couple of weeks. I was one of two \"Katrina Kids,\" and the other girl definitely made more friends than me because she got there first. I made a small group of girl friends, who were all rather weird, and everyone had funny accents. The thing I remember most about the school was my English and Religion teacher named Mr. Weiderholt. Being the new girl, everyone told me that his name was \"Mr. Weinerholt,\" and when I asked him a question in class, he have me a very unamused, resentful glare and sternly corrected me. Though the school wasn\'t too bad, I convinced my parents to remove me since we would be returning home soon, and I only regret not keeping in touch with one of the girls a little bit. \r\n We left Alexandria after about two months of being there. Our home didn\'t have much damage: just some broken shutters and windows, a ruined refrigerator, and a collapsed carport. My parents and I went to Barecca\'s on Metairie Road for the free breakfast and lunch they served for the people who returned early for a while. My elementary school opened up rather quickly after the storm, but the classrooms seemed rather empty to people who hadn\'t come back yet or who were never coming back. We even gained one student, the only Asian in our grade, from the storm; I wound up becoming friends with her, and her father now runs the convenient store on the corner of Cleary Ave. and Airline Highway. I suppose that the storm didn\'t effect me too much directly: my home was fine, my school was fine, my friends came back. But I was grateful for meeting that part of the family that I never would have met if we wouldn\'t have evacuated because my cousin Sonny passed only a couple months after we left town. We had planned on going back to see him, but hadn\'t made it back in time before the cancer took him. I was happy that I had found a second grandfather, but I suppose that it just wasn\'t meant to be.


“[Untitled],” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed May 27, 2024, https://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/45273.