Packing Up.

I was born and raised in Chalmette, Louisiana which is a couple of miles Southeast from New Orleans. I was two weeks into my freshman year of high school and I didn't even know about Katrina until the Friday before. I was supposed to be sleeping by my best friend's house that night when I got a call from my mom telling me I had to come home and pack. The plan was to take my grandmother, my aunt and my cousin with us to my mom's family in Western Louisiana. My mom's family had a farm, so I only brought three pairs of pajamas because I thought if I brought decent clothes they would get ruined. We packed some snacks, some clothes for three days, and my grandmother's large air tank. Everything else, we left behind: pictures, home movies, clothes, shoes, etc. I don't think I even packed a blanket or a pillow. That morning, before we went to go pick up my grandmother and head out, we all sat around the kitchen table eating ice cream and everything that was in the freezer and refrigerator. My dad was boarding up our windows while we started putting most of out belongs in the attic and at the tops of our closets. Then came the goodbyes. My dad is a firemen and had to stay behind. Every year it was the same. Dad got to stay at home during the storm while we got stuck in contraflow. We'd come back from a three-day vacation, and Dad would tell us if anyone's fence got blown down. None of us thought this time would be different. We packed up, and headed out. Now looking back, there are so many things I would have done differently, things I would have made sure to pack. To this day, I still make myself sick thinking of all the pictures and home videos we left behind.


“Packing Up.,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed April 14, 2024,