Yesterday was an anniversary for my people. Ten years to the date that a Hurricane named Katrina spun her way into my home state and laid waste. You might be thinking that I am a Louisianian, and I will forgive that, since you reading this, were not here and you only had the news to rely on for that information. She did hit the lower island regions of Louisiana in Plaquemines (Plack-ah-mins) Parish as a Category 4, then spun over more water, regaining some of her 4 intensity before making final landfall in Mississippi, near the border between the two states.
Although, Mississippians have been commemorating this event every year since it happened, I myself felt it was too soon. Ten years seems like a good enough time and I’m ready to talk about how it was eighty miles inland from the impact.
My story begins on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which is nearer the Alabama border. My mother and sister intended to spend a leisurely weekend on the coast and while there possibly find gifts for my upcoming birthday. Dad and I were here, in Hattiesburg, just watching films and mucking about, as you do on a summer weekend. We didn’t expect them back until Monday, but by Sunday midday they were home.
They said that a hurricane was headed right for us and people were being told to evacuate, but a lot of people were still enjoying a lazy Sunday. However, should a hurricane be on the way, my mother and sister would rather be home, so they left. We turned on the Weather Channel, but nothing was really being discussed and there was no urgency, so we didn’t worry. My mom and sister said they had seen a creepy film while down there that dad & I might enjoy. So my dad and I went to see the horror film, The Cave, on Sunday evening, with no fear over a supposed impending hurricane.
The following day was Monday, 29. August. The day of landfall. At some point between noon and one, the storms bands were reaching us with intensity. My entire family headed for the basement. It was a bit crowded to say the least. Four humans, two small dogs, one very large dog, and eight cats. Our basement has only one window, but not that it would have mattered. The electricity had been out for at least an hour by then and the sky was a dark, churning grey mess.
Up until that point, I had never witnessed anything so scary in my life. We’d been through numerous hurricanes, but they are generally only shells of their former might and the weather is merely a little zany for a short bit. The entire intensity lasted more than six hours. It was dying down and we thought we’d be OK, with nothing amiss, until our poplar tree snapped. It had been the only thing we could see and focus on out the window while trapped in our basement. The winds had twisted and flung it back and forth so violently that we thought it wouldn’t last. But it gave a good fight and held out until the very end, giving us a false hope that we would see that tree tomorrow, only to have the hurricane win over it in the end.
Night was coming on by then and we were all beyond exhausted and hungry. Dad has a second freezer full of meat, and so that it wouldn’t spoil we spent several hours grilling all of it over a small flame in the back yard. I’m not sure whether the meat, gritty with sand and coal from being dropped in the dark, was really all that good, or whether I was just glad to have something sliding down my gullet for the first time that day. However, I still remember it as one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, though I couldn’t even tell you now whether it was pork, chicken, beef, or venison. I suppose it never really mattered.
My sister and I made our way upstairs to her attic room. The wind was still strong, but the rain had stopped hours before. In the gloom of candle light we tried to find any news on our battery-powered radio. Waiting with anticipation to hear any form of voices, my mind recalled a book I had read when I was eleven. Zlata’s Diary, which is about an eleven year-old girl living through the Bosnian-Herzegovina war in Sarajevo. I wore that book out from reading it so much. There were numerous passages of her family trying to tune the radio to life in darkened, candle lit rooms. While I didn’t understand it, I had always found it horrifying that they were so desperately trying to find out what was happening, out there, beyond their immeasurably tiny scope, but to also know, to reassure, that they were not the only ones left alive. That night I finally understood how that felt.
Amidst the never-ending static we were finally able to bring one channel in. It was a radio program from somewhere on the coast. Immediately we were both elated. Voices. There are people. But, our elation quickly dissolved into uncertain dread. The mans voice was not speaking about happy things. He was relaying that he, and his co-host, were cut off from everything outside of their little world as well. They had affiliate people who’d been outside surveying after the storm, and reporting back, but that was it. I don’t know how long the program had been going on, but it seemed like they’d been into it for a while. They were encouraging anyone to call in; to tell them news, or ask about what’s happened because of the information they had gathered.
Caller after caller rang in. It was apparent that they were all trapped, alone, in their tiny worlds without any knowledge of what lay beyond their curbs sides. Their questions were always the same. “So and So rode out the storm. They were at Such and Such place. Do you have news?” And the man could only ever answer, “I’m so sorry. That place is gone. It didn’t make it through the storm.” We kept listening, hoping for any sort of different outcome; one which never came. After almost two hours we were heartsick from all the desperation of the search for loved ones to only be told, “I’m so sorry.” All the silent meanings of “We are all alone.” To this day, remembering that night still makes me emotional. Out of everything I heard during the aftermath of the storm, this night is what has stayed with me. This night is what makes me still cry.
Tuesday dawned as what might have appeared to be a bright, cheery day, but that could not have been further from the truth. We tried sleeping inside with the windows open the previous night, which was not so bad because there had still been wind. Upon stepping out-of-doors, the atmosphere of foreboding hit you. There were no clouds, there was no wind. No birds were calling. No sound of life at all. It was so silent as to chill you to the bone, though the temperatures were well into the nineties. It was a haunting feeling. I had never experienced a hurricane like this. All of them came and went, leaving behind beautiful weather. Clouds streaming by, cool breezes, animals all aflutter. This was desolation. Complete and utter desolation. Is there really anyone out there? It’s all I could think of.
But there was no time to think about all of that. There was a lot of work to do. We were thankful to still have our house, though the roof was a little messed up. One of the windows in my parents bedroom was pushed almost out of the casing from all of the pressure. Our house is not a sealed ship of sorts, which probably explains our fortunes; the pressure can always move through instead of bursting out of the house. We lost a lot of trees, however, though thankfully the two very large pine trees in front were still standing. Dad had moved our cars next door to the retirement home parking lot so as to keep them away from falling trees as best as that could be done.
But trees were not really what we were worried about. There was no immediate need to clean up or fix, so we didn’t. Instead we chopped wood for the fire. Gathered our gallon jugs of water from the back deck. Started figuring out how best to preserve our refrigerated food. Dug out some latrines in the back yard. In the grueling heat and sun we toiled like wilderness people striking out a new home. We had no idea how long things would be this way. We had no idea if things would ever be normal again.
Bathing before water was absolutely horrendous. We did not have enough saved water for washing our bodies, only for cooking and drinking. But we had an inflatable swimming pool. With my one piece swim suit on, I climbed the ladder and sunk in with great trepidation. Katrina had taken everything she had and flooded it into that little pool. There were entire pine tree limbs and other bits of wood… and things. The water was green and dark and smelled of sap. There were things that I knocked into that felt biological, but I couldn’t think about that. I could only look out into the blank abyss of sky while I tried to agitate the soap into bubbles and clean as quickly as I possibly could.
I thanked the heavens when our water was restored two days after this. The house was stifling and our bathrooms without windows. So, while using the toilet with a candle was possible, however not ideal as the light was still faint, trying to bathe would have been impossible. We pulled our garden hose over the wooden fence and sectioned that area off as the shower. We still wore swim suits to bathe, even though we would announce that we were going for the shower. There was also no real worry about mistakenly being seen naked by a neighbour. We’d seen no one in three days. We’d heard no signs of life in three days. I comforted myself by thinking people had to have turned the water on. All hope was not lost.
We still searched the battery radio for signs of life, but there were none. On the first day, my sister was able to tune the miniature television screen of the radio into a coastal channel. I was upstairs checking on the cats at the time, but for two brief minutes before the channel turned to snow, my family saw a man running around saying things like “Look! Here! This was such and such. And here? This was such and such. Gone. It’s all gone! Oh my god. It’s all gone…” Whatever portion of Beach Blvd that he was showing was nothing but devastation. Just sand and palm trees still standing, a few slabs of previous buildings and a few business signs. Everything else had been washed out into the sea.
By day five, we had still not ventured from the house. Two of our friends who were medics came to stay with us, because the conditions in the trailer park where they lived had turned septic. They brought MRE’s and water. This was not my first time enjoying the novelty of an MRE. Dad used to buy them at the Military Surplus store south of town when we were kids. It was something fun we randomly did. Though dad having to suffer through MRE’s while in the military makes it strange that he would want to bring the “fun” home, but he did. But from the moment one was handed to me that day in August, it forever became associated with a need. It was no longer something that was fun and frivolous. I was sad.
We sat around, trying to enjoy our flash cooked food in bags, but we all knew what was coming. They had news of the outside world and it was time to hear it. They had some news of Hattiesburg, mainly their trailer park and some places they’d had to go while on shift, but mainly it was news from the coast. One of them had been keeping in contact with her dad who had been on the coast at the time. They were horror stories and I couldn’t possibly stomach finishing my meal, though I had previously been very hungry.
Sentence after sentence were horrors of the untold dead. Bodies floating in the water. Bodies in trees and on the sides of the road. They all blurred together, except for one recount. On a bridge there were a line of stopped cars. People who had decided to evacuate and perhaps were caught between flooding with nowhere else to go. Every single person in those cars were dead. Had been dead for days. No one had found them yet. They had found the highest possible ground, and it was still not enough. They had all drowned. Men, women, children, babies, pets. All of them dead and rotting in the south Mississippi heat. It was a difficult thing for her father to come upon, as I’m sure he was hoping beyond anything that the cars were empty or that the people were alright. It was difficult for her to relay this news to us. I had trouble sleeping at nights after processing it all.
The next day it was high time for an outing. Our medic friends had told us that while things were chaotic, you could get through certain areas of town. Also that the National Guard was set up downtown handing out MRE’s, water, and ice. Ice? Oh, glorious ice? We were going! I’d brave anything to get ice into me, though I didn’t need to convince anyone of that because we all felt the same. My sister also worked for our childhood church at the time. They had called to tell her that they had received things from people out-of-town and out-of-state to distribute to who needed it.
I will not lie, it felt good to get in the car. A lovely haven away from disastrous reality. There was still no news on the radio, but there was blessed air conditioning. I never wanted to leave that car ever again. The destruction around town, while bad for our area and history, was not really all that bad I would come to find out later, when we actually received news of places south of us. But for the second time, I recalled the book Zlata’s Diary. Hattiesburg looked like a war zone. Sections marked off with saw horses and signs, spray paint on everything marking out god only knows what, piles of rubble, houses knocked in, but most of all the people.
There were people everywhere in congregations dotted throughout town. Lines queued up for a myriad of things; rations at churches, selective entry into businesses for necessities, gifts from the National Guard. People toiling away in the heat to make their homes whole again, men and women wielding chain saws in the air to dismantle all of the trees that had been felled. This time my mind flew to photographs and essays I’d seen about The Great Depression. So many people standing in staggering lines for hours to garner an essential or two, most being turned away because there was nothing left that day.
My dad, sister, and I did end up in these Bread Lines on two occasions. Spending most of an afternoon queued up outside of Sam’s Club in the blistering sun. No one spoke to each other. Most people were very guarded; clutching to themselves, their eyes darting around in fear. They were only allowing five people in the store at once, I suppose so there wouldn’t be any sort of desperate attempts at anything. Everything in the store was rationed. You were only allowed certain items and only a certain amount. They asked that you quickly gather your items and check out. The entire affair was very disconcerting.
During our foray at the church, I’d never appreciated it more than I did upon entering that day. It was bright, well-lit, unlike our tomb of a house, and the temperature was set to sub-arctic. Ah, electricity, how I have missed you. But the cheeriness dispelled quickly as I realized everyone was in a fast-paced fervor. They were just hurriedly walking from one place to the next, I’m sure with important business, but I only saw the endless pacing back and forth through the Parish Hall. All the frenzied energy exuding from these people only reminded me that everything was awry and ill-favoured. We were then shuttled towards the tables, were incomprehensibly told the rules and were then forced to make selections. We chose a package of toilet paper, a box of baby wipes, a packet of batteries, and I forget the few other things.
Then we found our family friends as they happened into the Parish Hall as we were finishing up. We learned that a tall, spindly pine tree had gone through their roof, over the kitchen, in the exact same place as several years ago. Then the girl, who was my age, was talking about how hard life had been this past week. I nodded in agreement, but I admit, then became filled with aggravation as she relayed the tale of sleeping one night without air conditioning and then having been wholed up here in the electrified church the remaining days. How power had returned to their house yesterday, or was it two days ago, and it was just absolutely miserable. I knew that it wasn’t a competition, but I was aghast that I had been on the camping trip from hell for a week now where she was only mildly inconvenienced for what amounted to a bat of the eyes.
Yet, suddenly I was no longer thinking about this at all, because her mother had wandered over about then and told us that a parishioner had been murdered. He had gone into town two days ago from his home out in the country, to buy a generator. People were frantic and panicky. Chaos had been erupting before he even knew that it was upon him. He was trying to drive away and someone shot him in the head. He died almost instantly, the car still rolling forward down the road until it crashed. Nothing was taken, not even the generator that he’d just purchased, and in the turmoil of hysteria no one even cared. Now his wife and five children were alone in a sea of confusion, with extraneous grief.
For the first time in days, being slightly shaken from this new reality, I could see the world beyond me. Beyond my little withering homestead north of town, I could reach out and wonder about the people who had survived this mess. The people struggling through conditions that I’m sure would be worse than what I’d gone through. I put myself into my friend’s position and everyone else into mine. I do not begrudge myself for only thinking about me and mine thus far. It was all that I knew. It was me versus the faceless dead in horror stories. I hadn’t had time to think beyond my scope in order to get through the days. Now, with my friends recount of woes, and frenzied murder at my back door, in the tiny margin of luxury that was upon me with the air conditioning, I finally had the time to think beyond myself. It didn’t last long, because it couldn’t. There was still surviving to be dealt with, and the moment to return to my own reality was approaching.
In the following days, things were beginning to ease. We’d found a stride that worked. It wasn’t ideal, but it was something. One of those Bread Line adventures was for the purpose of purchasing a generator. Me moved from the basement to the first floor, used only the kitchen, den, and sundeck as our living quarters and ran the generator at night so as to have some temperature control from the window unit air conditioner. There was still no news from the outside whether from radio or the telly. A rigged form of electricity hadn’t fixed that.
But our daily life was a routine now. Wake up, use the facilities in the dark, gather food for the fire, cook some sort of food on the pit, shower at the garden hose. There was always an outing at two pm to the National Guard meeting place for ice. We searched the dials for news that never came, we played cards, we worked. This way of life continued for almost three weeks.
There were small happies throughout that time. Loved ones had called the day of the storm. The worst was over, but rain still pattered down and the wind was still blustery. They called to see if we were alright. There were barely any news reports at that time because it would take a week at least for people to even reach the affected areas, but apparently what little news they’d heard was alarming; mainly words like ‘devastation’, ‘death’, ‘destruction’, without any accompanying information. The ground was soaked with water, so the callers came in scratchy at best, but it is a fond memory for me, because my brother phoned.
Later there were care packages sent our way. Some containing things we never thought we’d need and others containing things we were very glad to receive, such as chocolate. There were notes of well wishes. It was a horrible time to receive something so wonderful, but it was more than appreciated nonetheless. My dad’s brother also drove here to check on us. He was in Natchez to the north-west, that had only a bit of rain to speak of. He and two of his sons arrived in the middle of the night on our second day after the storm. It taken them well over the normal three hours to arrive here as the roads were marred with debris, fallen trees, the military and just people trying to get somewhere. They brought two large drums of water, though not suitable for drinking but greatly appreciated for all the other ways it could be used, jerky, and good company. They left after only a few hours rest for their long journey back home. But it does warm my heart to think that they risked all of that to come and find us, when they could have simply phoned on the first day. But perhaps they called the next day, by which time we had lost our phone service.
During the second week, my dad and sister went out. They didn’t go downtown, as we had been doing, but went out west, though I’m not sure exactly why. There was a trailer park not far out that way, and as they passed it there was a sign exclaiming the residents needed help. They were in extremely poor conditions and either had no cars or they’d been destroyed. They’d had no way to go for help, no one had passed by them, they were low on supplies.
My dad and sister came back to our frontier homestead, packed up some of our things; toilet paper, water, MRE’s, chocolates, feminine hygiene products, batteries, candles and matches, among other needed items and went back out there. Though I was not a part of that expedition, I love knowing that my family are the type of people to share everything they have, even in the midst of what appeared as nothing short of the apocalypse, to help others who’d lost everything. I still wonder about those people and have always hoped the best for them.
Halfway through the second week, just about my entire town had been re-electrified. Except for more rural places, some places downtown that they were still trying to get to, and us. My tiny little subdivision consisting of eleven houses had been surrounded by street lights and home lights for five days, yet we were still in the dark. We are on a different grid and had been forgotten. It’s not the first time. Anytime the electricity has gone out, since we moved here which was 25 years prior to this hurricane, our power always stayed out well after everyone else because they never remembered we were separate.
A friend came into town from Texas to check on his family, as well as us and others that he knew. My sister and I were so hopping mad that we were five days into being excluded from the electricity party, that he took us to the movies. That theatre is closed down now, but I always liked it, though most people scoffed at it for being old or only have six tiny theatres. But they had reopened a few days before and with discounted admissions and concession fares. We purchased two large everythings; bags of popcorn, bottles of water, soda full of ice, boxes of chocolate and watched Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Though Rebecca and I had already seen it earlier in the summer, we chose it because most of the time the setting is frigid. It was perfection.
A lot of thoughts ran through my head during those weeks, and this time was no different. I was reminded of stories my maternal grandmother would tell us. A college student during The Great Depression, she told of how the delight of all was to attend the picture show. A respite from the drudging reality they were all living through, a wonderful escape where nothing of those hard times could creep into that sanctuary. I had never understood that concept before then. My dad loved going to the movies, so we always went. It was always fun, but there was really nothing to escape from. There was nothing I really needed to get my mind off of; nothing terrible, or harrowing, or dreary. Nothing that only a film excursion could brighten.
On the last day of our sequestration, an unrecognizable power truck rolled up our street. They assembled and most of the men trooped off down hill to the end of our subdivision; where our power outlet hid. One man stayed behind to block of any traffic that might drive up. He was outfitted in the heaviest looking jumpsuit I had ever seen. He also looked like me might die standing out there under the harsh and unforgiving sun. My sister and I went out to take him something to drink. His parched throat uttered, “ice” and we ran back in to fetch him some. After he’d had enough of his ice water he expressed his gratitude and we knew he wasn’t from around here. Upon asking, we learned that he was from Nova Scotia, Canada. His team had driven all this way just to help reinstate power to affected areas.
My sister and I wanted to cry. That was the sweetest thing we’d ever heard. Strangers from so far away coming to help strangers. And Canada, how wonderful! And then that explained why he was about to die from heat exhaustion. We told him that the weird rubber and wool jumper that he was wearing was not going to help matters. He couldn’t take it off, but didn’t explain why. He wasn’t working with the live electricity, but perhaps he wasn’t wearing pants? I don’t know, and it would have been rude to ask or pursue the matter farther.
We came back into the house and tried finding news on the telly. Several hours later, when the sun was starting to set, and we were listening to our local news say nothing of importance, the lights came on. My sister and I turned to each other, our eyes large as saucers. Grins slowly spreading across our faces. Steadily we began to rise from our chairs. I ran to the wall switch and turned it off, then turned it on again; off and finally on. Was this real? I’d heard of mirages, but I was also certain that scenario didn’t pertain to non desert places. I looked at my sister with that question all over my face. Her goofy grin answered back with, “I’m still not certain, but yes?”
Then we started jumping up and down, hootin’ and holler like we’d just won some major award like an all expense paid grand luxury trip around the world. We ran up and down all the flights of stairs, screaming in joy as each new switch we encountered elicited light. We checked every single solitary room, shrieking with excitement the entire time. After about half an hour, the air conditioning had cooled down most of the house. Our cats, whom I had confined to our small living quarters because I did not want them escaping out-of-doors, suddenly began to come out of their lethargic states. They’d been miserable in the heat the entire time. At this point they were zooming around the house with new-found energy, while my sister and I had begun to calm down.
While we no longer had to rely on the National Guard for ice, or our trips in the car for air conditioning, things were still far from normal here. Things were slowly beginning to re-establish themselves; shops and restaurants opening, people still just returning to work, things trying to return to normal yet still amidst some semblance of chaos. By the time of my birthday which was just a week after we received power, trying to get back into a normal routine was proving difficult, and not just for us. Every year, on our birthday, we go out to eat at a place chosen by the one whose birthday we’re celebrating. Not everything was open yet, but a restaurant near our house was and I decided we’d go to that one.
There were a lot of people and a little bit of a wait time, but this was not what was out of the ordinary. What was out of the ordinary was that most of the patrons and workers still had that glazed look about their eyes as of wounded animals ready to strike out in fear. The uncertainty of existence loomed about them in waves of cloying auras. I half imagined we might have to fight these battered troops for our dinner. But then it subsided. It was still there, but not as intense. Things were calm. We would stay.
Life began to work out the chinks rifted by Katrina. Society was hobbling back into some sort of resembled form. By the end of October, Target which was slated to open at the beginning of September finally opened, and a week later had a super sale on all of their Halloween items. By that time, also, enough news had finally trickled down the line that we could finally see a picture of what all had happened. By three weeks most of the news was spent, everyone outside of the affected areas had heard it all in triplicate, so they stopped reporting, and only focused on little things not of the recent past.
But we were able to piece together that large portions of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana had been devastated. Waveland and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi pretty much no longer existed. About the levees breaking in New Orleans and all of the calamity that had engulfed the city. That a vet hospital on the coast had evacuated, but left all the animals. When they came back three days later all of the animals in the bottom cages had drowned and the second tiered animals had been made to constantly paddle in all of that water the entire time. The staff thought it was wonderful that those animals had persevered. I found it to be cruel. That evacuations in New Orleans had gone very badly indeed, and when they were loading people onto buses they forced them to abandon their animals. That MEMA and FEMA simply couldn’t get into the interior of Mississippi. They had trouble getting people, crews, and supplies down here to help anyone. I thought I had a long time to wait for electricity. There were still people in rural areas who had to wait 2-3 more weeks. The death tolls were overwhelming. There had been senseless murders, even here in my town, and more than simply that one man.
When Christmas rolled around, practically everyone in Hattiesburg and the surrounding areas strung up twinkle lights everywhere. People decorate here at Christmas, but it’s never really been a huge affair. Our entire town seemed something akin to Clarke Griswold’s house in the film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It was breathtakingly beautiful. My sister and I thought that it was because we were all still alive, that we should go all out and make the best damn effort because life is short and all that. And then someone basically said the exact same thing on our local news. Amusing, but also glorious to remember, and to have been a part of.
By mid-January things were relatively back to normal in our neck of the woods. Things weren’t perfect, but they were pretty spot on. Friends from the north came down because they wanted to check on some friends in New Orleans. They stopped to see us and took us along for the ride. There was not much damage to see from the highway, but the once bustling metropolis was certainly a ghost town. The crisp grey of winter only made the feeling more ominous. The highway once crammed with motorist was all but deserted except by us and a few other wary drivers. The streets were deserted. No throngs of tourists, no street performers, no bumper to bumper traffic. Only a few meandering souls in a lost world.
Their friends were found to be quite well, which was good. But one can not escape stories where they want to be freed from human hearts. Over dinner of home cooked Chicken Curry, they briefly conveyed the horrors they had been forced to live through. All I can remember are all the drowned dead being piled up and chained to lamp posts so as not to float away. Scarcely covered by whatever material was handy. And that the smell of all the rotting animal and human bodies; the rotting food left in evacuees refrigerators, coupled with all the sweltering heat and humidity that has always plagued New Orleans terribly in the month of August, was absolutely unbearable.
The four of us girls who had driven into the city decided to walk to Cafe du Monde for coffee. We passed no one in the barely lit streets of the once bustling French Quarter except two locals shuffling about their way; the looks from their eyes daring us to fuck with them. There were all of four people at Cafe du Monde besides us while we were there; all locals. All hunched over their coffees feeling bitter about life. The waiter trooped over to take our order, but he wasn’t really paying attention. What did anything matter anymore was written all over his drawn face. That was the last time I’d see the city for four years.
I am happy to report that life has completely returned to normal. It will never be pre-Katrina normal, but it’s as if none of it ever happened. There are few remaining scars on the Gulf Coast; the gaping wounds that were once filled by homes are filled with new homes and business now. There are long stretches of the beach, far longer than before, where there is nothing; but sands and men have covered the exposed slabs and removed all of the signs that something annihilating ever happened there. The coast and New Orleans have bounced back, which is something that no one knew would be possible, but were hoping for anyway.
Stories still get carried on the wind; a random thing that happened in such and such place during the aftermath, or places whose bones are still laid bare, just out of the normal peripheral of the casual tourist The remains of civilization left to decay because Katrina couldn’t take it all with her and because men didn’t want to funnel money into taking it down. Glaring white elephants pocking the landscape, being overgrown by time.
Ten years seems like a very long time, but everything I felt and thought then are still as strong today. I don’t like talking about our shredded existence during those weeks and months. My sister and I will reference to each other; a simple “ice during Katrina” “the cold chocolate movie” “that story ________ told us” is all it takes. We remember to ourselves without words and either smile to remember the short burst of happiness in a drowning world or shiver to replace the disturbing thoughts with something brighter, something not tarnished by that damn hurricane.