Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy Third Birthday, Katrina! Part 7

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

This is the last part. It's sort of a tie-up post, if you will.

The next year is mostly about living in Flowood, keeping sane and dealing with insurance issues.

We did have insurance that paid for everything. So, we were lucky in that regard.

We found an apartment in Flowood, MS and I worked at our local office there. Light of my life started kindergarten in late September and pulled off straight A's the whole year.

She attended counseling once a week as did the rest of the Katrina evacuees that put down temporary roots in Flowood. I think we were one of the only families that stayed the whole year. Most headed back as soon as they could, but since we had no where else to live, we stayed. Plus, I wasn't uprooting her during all this heartache. It would have been too much and too confusing.

We met lots and lots of lovely people while evacuated. Everyone welcomed us with open arms, open hearts and open wallets. We were given lots of toys and a fake Christmas tree by the secretary of the school she attended.

My girls over at my Yahoo groups came through the most of all. They were what kept me sane throughout most of this.

They might not know it and I'm not sure how many I thanked, but they were lifesavers and caregivers and humanitarians all rolled into a great group of women. They sent Target gift cards, toys, clothes, books, games, etc....for light of my life and myself.

We received money from the Red Cross to help us get on our feet.

We received some money from FEMA.

We received items to help us set up the apartment by some ladies that lived where we first evacuated to (where we live now) in addition to money and other goodies.

As heartbreaking as all this was, as terrible as the whole situation was...there were some rainbows in the end.

My house got re-done. I finally got to paint the kitchen and bathroom and my bedroom.

We got new appliances.

We fell in love with our neighbors. I always LIKED my neighbors, J & R and their son W, but after the storm, we utterly fell in LOVE with them. They were always there for us and bent over backwards to help us IN addition to dealing with their own mess. R got me some extra jobs to help with the cash flow situation (due to increased insurance, higher gas costs, higher energy bills, etc....). We connected and became much closer friends. To this day, I still count her as one of my best friends.

Light of my life had an EXTRAORDINARY kindergarten year that, to this day, she still talks about.

We discovered the wonderful city of Flowood and all its citizens.

We re-discovered our faith in humanity.

We re-discovered our adopted city of New Orleans as it struggled to recover. We started going places and doing things that we didn't do before Katrina hit.

We made new friends.

To end this post, I'm gonna provide some links to pictures of the damages and of our life in Flowood. Please forgive the horrible quality of the pictures. They were first taken with a throw-away camera and then I photographed the photographs so I could post 'em. They're blurry and horribly shot, but these were mostly taken for insurance purposes and didn't have to be "pretty".

A picture of light of my life 3 days before Katrina hit.

A picture of the temporary office we set up in my uncle's house so I could continue to earn a paycheck.

A shoe.

The park near our house.

National Guardsmen.

First shot of our house.

Barred door and the white cat.

Laundry room exterior.

Laundry room interior.

Washer and dryer.


Junk we pulled out.

Fridge interior...warning...gross.

Floor under fridge.

Fridge on street.

Guest bedroom walls at my mom's house.

Vase that caught the water.

Walls in my mom's living room.

My aunt's driveway.

My aunt's house.

Random house.

Squashed house.

Neighborhood street near levee break.


Big pile o'crap.


The car packed on the way to the apartment in Flowood.

Light of my life in the hotel room before her first day of Kindergarten.

The apartment with all it's "high end furniture" (insert sarcasm here).

Thank you for reading my story.


17 really cool people who give a rat's patootie:


Unbelievable. A year after Katrina, my dad took us to the part of town where the levee broke (he lives in Mandeville). The water along the rooflines broke my heart. It was still like a ghost town.

Your story was terrifying, but I'm so glad you're still around to tell it. That sounds dramatic, but that was an awful, awful storm.


I just finished reading all seven parts to your story and I am in tears. I remember watching it on tv and just being in complete and utter disbelief. Thanks for sharing.


Those pictures really helped tell the story too. The leaning lighthouse and squashed house, water lines, uprooted trees and debris everywhere. Wow.

I'm so glad that there were so many rainbows at the end of your story, that you found such wonderful friendships and love from other people during your hard time. That's impresses and inspires me!

I'm so glad you told your story. This was wonderful to read.

sassy stephanie


It hurts my heart to know that anyone had to go through this. My eyes are swelling with tears.

Poor little LOML...when excitement should be flooding her, she had to start Kindy under those circumstances.

Insane Mama

Those pictures were fantastic, Thanks for telling this hard story. I can't believe it. I mean I saw it on the news and everything, but hearing your first hand account has been fascinating


I am so happy to know a person who can see the rainbow at the end of something like that. You are awesome.


Thanks for telling it! I always like a happy ending, and the world needs to hear more stories like this.


You are a great storyteller. Thanks so much for sharing. There is this need to put a human face with such tragedy.

So, when did you move away from New Orleans? Is your mom still there?


I've been dumping my vampire novels to read your story. Truly amazing. I can't believe what you've been through. Thanks for sharing. Those images are haunting. Bless you.


You have been through so much. I am glad you made it through and are able to share your story. It is different experiencing it than seeing in through a lens and you have given me a much better understanding of the levels of devastation a storm like that can cause.


I've said it before, I'll say it now. You are the first "real" person through whom I've experienced this first hand. So good, Emily. Thanks for sharing. The picture of your car packed on the way to Flowood...precious...I laughed at the cat peeking beneath the pillows!

This was good, girl. A definite must-read.

And hello--the Twilight blog--"Are they ever gonna have sex?" I SAID THIS FOR 11 WHOLE MONTHS...that's how long I had to wait between Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. It was my obsession..."Please, let them have sex...S-E-X!" Yeah, I was/am a bit obsessed!


Inspiring and heartbreaking. I'm amazed by the love and support you found in the midst of tragedy. I'm amazed that you were open to see it after all of that. Thank you for writing your story.


The pictures are so powerful. Thanks for telling the story.

John Deere Mom

Thanks for sharing your story. The pictures are truly amazing and definitely put things into perspective. It was always kind of hard to undestand the vastness of the disaster. Thanks for making it "real" for me.

Middle Aged Woman

Thanks for sharing. Don't see Deja Vu with Denzel Washington. It'll make you cry.


I tagged you in a meme on my page.

Captain Dumbass

That was an awesome story MD, thank you for telling it. You've made hurricanes a lot more 'real' for me. From the safety of way up here you see these terrible storms year after year and you feel bad for the people who have to live through them, but it changes when you actually 'know' somebody who has gone through it. Who could be effected by the next one. Thanks.

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