Hurricane Katrina, My Story
Hurricane Katrina~my story
As much of the world knows, Hurricane Katrinia has ravaged the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast. I was born in New Orleans and grew up in Kiln, MS just 5 miles north of Waveland and Bay St. Louis, MS. Many of my family and friends are still there and have been drastically effected by this mother of all hurricanes. Most of them rode the storm out in their homes and are now facing their worst nightmares. Even those that evacuated or recently moved are devastated. Like me, everything they knew and loved is gone. The places we played, ate, hung out and even went to school have become piles of rubble viewed from aerial shots on CNN and Fox News.
I have been searching the photos and videos for a hint that people I knew my whole life are alive. Praying that relief is getting into the smaller communities like Kiln, Dedeaux, Delisle, Pearlington, Lazana and many other small towns that make up the area in Hancock County Mississippi.
My immediate family is alive. My Dad and Mom rode out the storm at our neighbor Mrs. Dailey's house. They returned home that afternoon to see what their little corner of the world held for them. There is damage to the house, my Dad's prized Mustang and their entire yard. Every tree is down. Ironically, just a few years ago they cut down 90% of the trees close to the house to eliminate the chance of a storm knocking one into their home. The remaining ones fell on the house with Katrinia. They have temporarily relocated to my Brother's home in Gulfport.
My Brother Erik and his wife and step children faired well in comparison to the rest of Gulfport, MS. His roof sustained damage, but they have tarped it over and are making do with what they have. Being in such a large city he has access to relief workers, MRE's, water, and limited supplies. So bringing my parents there made sense. Because of the looting he, along with his in-laws have made a fortress out of fallen trees around the 4 houses they occupy, the only four that weren't completely destroyed. My sister-in-law Tina has returned to her work, The Waffle House in Gulfport with hopes to get food and supplies to those who were less fortunate then her and her family. Erik and my Dad are trying to return to their employers as well to see what they can do to help. Their futures are uncertain right now, but they do know they aren't giving up on Mississippi, the place they call home.
My Uncle David is in New Orleans. He is in a phone company office, where he also works. He is safe and has food, water and shelter. He is helping to get the phones restored there. The water is high in the neighborhood, but he is on high ground and plans to be there for the long haul.
Last night I pulled out my scrapbooks and photo albums, hoping to rekindle memories of playing at Buccaneer State Park in Waveland, or driving down along the beach from Waveland to Biloxi, admiring the beauty of the houses that managed withstand Hurricane Camille just so that I could see them every trip I made when I would go home to visit my family. My husband John loved to ride his Harley from my brothers in Gulfport off Hwy 49, down to Hwy 90 and up the coast through Long Beach, Pass Christian and eventually to Bay St. Louis. We loved the trees, the house, the casinos, the beach but most of all the people. I see those same places on the evening news now completely and forever changed. No more stopping for a snow cone on the way back from the beach in Waveland, no shopping in "Old" Bay St. Louis, no strolling through the French Market.
In another twist of fate, John and I just were transferred from MARFORRES, a USMC base in New Orleans, in June. We took the last few weeks we were there to soak up the atmosphere and culture of New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast. I am so glad we did.
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