Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Third Birthday, Katrina!

That bitch. I wish she was never born.

For those who think I’m a horrible, horrible person at this point, don’t fret.

I’m talking about Hurricane Katrina.

It was three years ago, today, that she struck with a wrath that only a woman could embody.

And that’s not an insult to women.

Quite a few of you have asked (in the past) about my Katrina story.

So, in honor of this anniversary (really, why do they call horrible tragedies, anniversaries? Why can’t they call them something else….like…trageversaries…or something), I’m gonna tell you my Katrina story.

Now, keep in mind, my immediate family (me, my daughter and my mother) got off relatively light in comparison to others.

I can’t tell you other people’s stories.

That’s for them to tell.

This is mine.

And mine alone.

A little background.

At that time, I worked for an insurance company. Ironic, huh? Anyway, I worked in the personal lines boat and yacht unit. We handled claims from all over the country, not just Louisiana.

In addition, we lived in a section of New Orleans called Uptown. It’s not as fancy as it sounds. If you think of New Orleans as a big 10 inch deep FULL to the brim bowl…our house was about 2 centimeters from the lip of the bowl.

Back in 1998, my mom moved to New Orleans from Orlando, FL. I had moved there earlier in the year and was living with a friend. My mom decided to put down roots in New Orleans and she thought it would be beneficial to both of us if she purchased a duplex. She would live in one half of the duplex and I would rent the other half from her.

This was pre-light of my life and pre-ex-husband.

This scenario worked out for both of us.

7 years, 1 kid and 1 divorce later, on the Friday before Katrina struck, we found ourselves wiping our foreheads with relief that we had dodged a big one.

Before I left work on that Friday, I had logged on to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and saw that the prediction was that the storm was going to turn and the projected path at that time was Orange Beach/the panhandle of Florida area.

We went about our business like normal. Had a nice Friday night. Yada, yada, yada.

On Saturday morning, I got a phone call from a co-worker asking me what I was going to do.

I was stumped. I said, “What do you mean”? She told me to turn on the weather channel.

So I did. And I promptly dropped the phone.

The projected path put New Orleans right smack dab in the middle of the path.

There was still a chance that the storm would turn. We didn’t panic too bad. Yet….

My mom came downstairs from her house and we talked about our options. We had already needed to run errands, so we decided to continue on with our day with us stopping by the office at some point to check the NHC website.

We went about our errands and ran by the office. We saw that they still had it hitting New Orleans.

Now…we panicked.

We went home and both of us checked our hurricane bags (for those of you not in the know, a lot of people keep a bag packed with important essentials like insurance papers, birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce papers, precious jewelry, etc…packed in an easy to identify bag from basically June to November) and started taking pictures off the walls and putting breakables under pillows, etc….You know, preparing for your house to be pummeled with high winds and lots of rain. I put all of light of my life’s books in garbage bags (some were from when I was a kid). I fed her fish, Freddy, tons and tons of food.

We cooked up as much tilapia from the freezer as we could eat and had a feast before we left.

We had decided to leave that night around 8 pm or so. They had turned on the contra-flow at that point and we figured not as many people would leave at night.

Again, for those not in the know, a contra-flow is when they make a decision to turn I-55 that starts in LA and runs through MS and beyond, into a 4 lane highway all going north. This is to help evacuees get out of the city as fast as possible.

To be continued....


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

unmitigated me

Wow, you make history exciting! I'll be back for part two early tomorrow!


ugh...Stupid Katrina... I agree! Definately should NOT be called an anniversary.

Well it looks like we'll be seeing ya'll soon enough, no thanks to Gustav!

People are like freaking out down here and its not predicted to come until Wednesday!!! They've been freaking out since like Monday!

I swear, Katrina's "anniversary", Gustav, Hannah! If I hear about another hurricane I'm gonna scream. lol

Mama Dawg

Oh, baby. I'm so sorry that it's getting to you. I know that you guys don't want to have to come visit us because of a stupid hurricane. But I'm glad to know that you guys are coming up here to stay with us should you evacuate. We're ready for you!

Captain Dumbass

Mama Daaaaaaaaaawg! I'm hangin on my seat now, dammit.

sassy stephanie

Urgh. I can't stand it. Tearing up. And I personally didn't even go through it.

My parents were both born in NOLA and moved to Texas when I was six months old. Both sides of my family still live there. Tons of extended family. Some were lucky to come out with nothing more than a little wind damage, some, lost everything. We couldn't get in touch with one of my aunts for a week. Luckily, she was ok, just shaken. My cousin's townhome was filled with water to the ceiling. She packed what little she had and moved to Atlanta a few months after the storm b/c she just couldn't take the devastation anymore.

Stupid fucking Katrina. I hope and pray nobody has to go through something like that again.

steenky bee

Watching the DNC last night, Obama touched on Katrina for a moment and made mention of the administration just sitting by and watching one of America's greatest cities drown. It really choked me up.


I'm really glad you're sharing your story. I've wanted to hear it.

I hope this new hurricane goes nowhere near New Orleans. Everyone there has PTSD, as they should, poor things.

Can't wait for more of the story.

Keys to the Magic Travel

And see...I have that notorious name. And you would think that I wouldn't have to spell it anymore. But I still get asked. I just look at them strangely and say "just like the hurricane."

Our church sends the youth to Biloxi each summer to help out. And last week they were talking about how this past summer - it seemed even worse than the year before. So much is needed there - and then with another on the horizon - I hope it takes a turn.

Very much looking forward to the rest of your story...

Insane Mama

Great story. I am used to earthquakes, I think a hurricane would scare the bajeebees out of me. The thought of packing up and leaving... UGG


wow! i know that living through that horrific nightmare was a terrible thing...out of feel that your mayor was to blame for a lot of those problems related to katrina? the reason i ask is that from an outsiders point of view it seems like He dropped the ball, not FEMA...just wondering.
and thanks for stopping by my place yesterday, it was great seeing you!

Scary Mommy

You have me hooked!!!

Trooper Thorn

I'm on the edge of my seat Mama D. I have noted your saga at the beginning of today's D&J blog.


stopped by from trooper's place. my husband and daughter recently returned from 6 weeks of doing reconstruction and support in the 9th ward of N.O. i feel for you. it's shocking to know the condition the place is still in all this time later.


I don't say GD, but seriously... did you have to stop there? I'll be waiting on pins and needles for the next installment.

Thanks for the inspiration for my post today!

Jennifer and Sandi

Holy CRAP!!!! I hope N.O.'s doesn't get it again. I went through Hurricane Andrew (Cat 5) in Florida and Hurricane Marty (Cat 3) in Baja California Mexico so I completely understand the concern!

HAPPY FRIDAY and have a SAFE weekend!!

- Jennifer


I cannot believe it's been 3 years already...and I cannot believe you were smack dab in the middle of all this.

Thanks for being brave & sharing your story...can't wait to hear the rest.


Love the new look and can't wait to hear the rest of the story. I remember us all being SO worried about you, and desperate to hear from you.

And thank you thank you THANK YOU for all your support for the HFC walk. You rock Em!


OMG...this is like watching an episode of Knots Landing and having to wait til the folowing week to find out the conclusion!!!

Hey, I use to live in Orlando too (15 years). I went through a couple of huge hurricane scares, like Andrew...but NOTHING like Katrina.

I can't even imagine what you went through!!

I like your new blog digs, Mama Dawg!! Very nice. I stopped by a few days ago, but for some reason your blog page wasn't moving on my computer. I've been having issues with IE lately. It seems to be freaking out. Of also could be because of VISTA!!!


Anyway, can wait to read the conclusion. Have a great holiday weekend, MG!


P.S. ooops! I meant to use the initials...MD!


I'm so excited to read the full saga. Well, not happy you went through it, but it sounds like it is going to be a good story. I will be back later to finish the other chapters of this tale.

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