A story of life in New Orleans
during hurricane Katrina
(click on image for large pic)
night of choppers
house is located about 10 blocks from a hospital
that had just been flooded. Throughout the night
choppers came in one after another. Every thirty
seconds one would pass about 200 yards over our
roof. It went on all night. The water had crept
up to about a foot on our street by this time. All
the people in the bad part of town about a mile
away that had been on dry ground were starting to
wander into our neighborhood. There was occasional
gunfire. A small crowd would pass by about once
an hour. We stood on the porch with guns in hand.
At this time the gas started to run low. We had
been banking on the fact that we could get to our
cars located in downtown at some point for that
gas. We knew we had to go out to siphon some from
a few of the older cars in the street. Under the
cover of darkness we went out into the rising water.
As we filled our tanks other gangs with trucks and
spotlights were roaming the neutral ground doing
the same thing we were. Eventually a large army
vehicle came by and all the people scattered
back to their hideouts in the night. Tonight was the last night sleep
would arrive for many days to come. I sat
in the heat with the shotgun lying next to me listing
to chopper after chopper fly over our house. My
hearing became sharper and sharper with every moan,
scream, and gunshot.
day of Airboats
all woke up the next day not knowing what to think.
Most of the outside world wanted us to turn ourselves
over to the authorities. Nobody would know until
the next day how horrible things had become at the
Superdome. We knew. We would try just about anything
to get to Baton Rouge. All day we were hoping the
water would just drop a foot or two and we could
simply drive the van out. Some of the National Guard
just down the street told us that river road was
now clear and we could drive out. The water was
supposed to be going down, but there was a constant
stream of airboats pushing water off the major road
down our little street. Near dusk the decision was
made. We covered the engine with a tarp, stuffed
the tailpipe with cloth, and pushed the van 100
yards through knee-deep water to the dry ground.
We covered the van with branches and left it to
dry for the night.
night of silence
the van be there? Would it start? Would the looting
and violence become critically dangerous during the night?
The choppers were all gone and the sound of desperate
people became ever louder. We decided to turn off
the generators, cover up the windows and make our
run at dawn. Some would sleep. I would not sleep
a wink for the second night in a row. As soon as
the sun went down things got nasty outside. I would
not put the shotgun down for many hours. At about
5:00 when the darkness began to break, it was time
to make our Freedom Run.
first task was to see if the van would start. It
fired right up. We headed back to the house to let
everyone else know it was time to pack up. We all
got one backpack. My brother and I took one plastic
bin with hard drives, a laptop, the camera equipment,
and the most important business documents. We loaded
the two dogs into our tiny inflatable boat. We used
a king-size inflatable bed for a raft for the rest
of the stuff and headed to the van. People along
the streets started to creep a little closer to
see what we were up to. The shotgun was held high
at all times. We loaded up the van and rolled out
of town. We had to dodge trees and power lines all
along the river road until we hit 1-10 and causeway
(located about 7 miles from downtown). There were
hundreds, maybe thousands of people standing on
the side of the side of 1-10 at the roadblock. I
assume they had walked there. The authorities would
not let them through. We would learn a few days
later they would burn the mall down right next to
the intersection. Once we made it past Lake Pontchartrain
we knew we could at least walk to Baton Rouge if
we had to. All along the road to Baton Rouge we
passed 100-vehicle caravans headed to New Orleans.
We saw Tour buses, Texas State troopers, Wildlife
trucks with boats, Military Vehicles, one convoy
after another. At last,
freedom from anarchy, violence, and human misery.
We would stop at a friend’s house in Baton
Rouge and two of our buddies decided to stay there.
The four remaining souls, and the two dogs, would
drive through the night to Oklahoma City. Our escape vehicle, however, had other plans. The van
would only make it to Tyler Texas. Maybe it could
have limped to OKC, but our cousin was willing to come
pick us up in my mom’s car. It seemed like an eternity before it was time for everyone
to pile into mom’s SUV. It would be a
day or two before the adrenaline would wear off.
The pain in my bones arrived but at least I could
now sleep. The reality of a life destroyed started
to hit me. Time to re-build. My computer network
and business would go live only 2 weeks after the disaster.