I've had the opportunity to see the aftermath that hurricane Katrina left in Biloxi, MS, Plaquamine Parish, LA and the water devistation to New Orleans. Here was my take of each:
Biloxi, MS (March 2008)......Casinos, restaurants, souvenir stores and fun parks that I've frequented wasn't there. They are trying but it will just take a while. I don't understand how people can stay there not knowing what the next hurricane will bring.
Plaquamine Parish, LA (6 times since Katrina).....N O T H I N G could have prepared me for what was seen in southern Plaquamine Parish (Empire, Buras, Venice). The December after Katrina we went down. The big bridge at Empire with the boats laying next to it...that was REAL. Slabs with no houses, houses in the middle of the street...that was REAL. Furniture in the trees, a dead horse in a tree, a shipping contianer on top of a trailer...that was REAL. People knowing the parish as the only way of life and willing to return just because "that's the price you pay for living in paradise"...that IS REAL. They've come so far in 3 years and knowing/seeing what can happen makes me very unhappy. This is MY playground! Again N O T H I N G could have prepared me for what I saw.
New Orleans, LA (December after it happened).....I saw the pictures, I saw what happened on tv BUT seeing it and viewing it in person.......WOW. To drive down the interstate that housed people for days, seeing the debri that was still left...that is gut wrenching. To drive by the Superdome where people were told to go because it was safe...knowing what happened, that is gut wrenching. Driving by the Ernest C. Memorial Convention Center...seeing and knowing what happened there....UNDESCRIBABLE! The first thing I thought of was all of the people who (again) were told to go there because it was a safe place, dying, suffering, looting...what ever else they did, that was UNDESCRIBABLE. Parking next to the convention center, getting out and hearing.........almost nothing.....scary!
NOW just having come back from Crowley, LA (south LA) I got to experience just a little of what happens BEFORE the hurricane. Now people take the hurrican threat seriously. It is a very erie feeling to see most of the traffic heading north and you are heading south. It is a very erie feeling seeing (120 miles away from the potentional hurrican path) people at the gas station waiting 2 to 3 deep. It is a very erie feeling going to a shopping center where I've seen the parking lot be packed full on a Saturday afternoon and seeing it 1) empty and 2)stores with windows boarded up. To make even more chill bumps go down my spine, seeing the elderly in the nursing home being loaded up into buses so that they can be taken away from danger.....helicopters removing patience from a hospital.....and this town is 60 miles from the coast.
For those of you have experienced the aftermath of a tornado...imagine that EXCEPT instead of a couple of miles think of 40 miles!
Having seen what happens BEFORE and AFTER I have just a few thoughts:
1) When living on the coast is all you know and have ever done....that is a true dedication to keep going back OR just stupidity. That is a very fine line and one I won't ever understand.
2) Mother Nature is in control. You CAN NOT stop her, you CAN NOT wish her away...you have to be the best prepared as possible for what she gives. If you do not take her warning and you survive then go ahead and subtract 1 of your 9 lives.
3) Go ahead and start thinking.....if I had to evacute how do I determine what will go and what will stay. What do I need it I cannot come home for days, weeks or even months.
4) Know that you are not in the recovery by yourself. When you least expect it someone (family, stranger, customer coming down to fish) will show up, volunteer and take your greif upon themself.
5) Hopefully one Katrina is enough. Even if Gustav is no where near as bad I PRAY that the people throughout the gulf (TX, LA, MS, LA, FL) will always be prepared. From Katrina forward any more deaths probably and should have been prevented.
Now that my neice & great neice are in Monticello for a few days, I am actually THANKFUL for being able to see what happens BEFORE. This will always bring a greater appreciation. Don't know I want to see if again, BUT if a family member/friend are in need I will GO WHEREVER at WHATEVER time is needed.
5 years ago