Ongoing Katrina journal (warning: long and detailed)

Discuss the recovery and aftermath of landfalling hurricanes. Please be sensitive to those that have been directly impacted. Political threads will be deleted without notice. This is the place to come together not divide.

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LAwxrgal
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Ongoing Katrina journal (warning: long and detailed)

#1 Postby LAwxrgal » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:05 pm

I didn't quite know where to put this. Evacuating for Hurricane Katrina and seeing its punishing aftermath has been a life changing experience and has changed the way I look at hurricanes. Most of the piece is still stuck on my laptop and I don't have the materials to transfer it, so I'll publish what I can, when I can.


Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I don't remember exactly who said it but it certainly applied in this case. It isn't everyday a Category 5 monster hurricane affects my home and birthplace -- New Orleans. Truthfully I live in an area outside New Orleans, but that is a mere technicality, especially with a storm as large and powerful as Hurricane Katrina was.

People who don't live in hurricane prone areas don't realize that preparing for these storms presents an enormous challenge. They disrupt lives, even highly routinized ones. A household often has precious little time to prepare to leave in the event of a major evacuation. But the blessing, if you could call it that, with hurricanes is because of the wonders of modern technology, at least there is time to prepare for them, if only a little bit. For some other natural disasters, there isn't even that luxury.

But how truly can you prepare for the apocalypse? For a dangerous hurricane to change your entire life? To wipe out all you have, all you've worked for, in the blink of an eye? To wipe yout your whole neighborhood, flood your city, kill your family? You can't.

From my very uncomfortable position with a disabled mother to look out for, I had two days to convince my entire doubting-Thomas family that this hurricane was a real and apparent threat to life, limb, and property.

The trouble with my family is they are God fearing Christians, and being the Southern Baptists that they are, they have adopted something of what I consider is a fatalistic attitude -- "what will be, will be." This attitude is hardly appropriate when it comes to hurricanes, especially since oftentimes the difference between living and dying is simply getting out of harm's way. They lived through other storms, some as bad or even worse than Katrina was forecast to be. Begging and groveling failed. I ended up doing more begging and more groveling. I knew this was a difficult task but someone had to do it.
Last edited by LAwxrgal on Sun Oct 16, 2005 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#2 Postby MysticOne » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:13 pm

I am so glad you begged!!! I hope they realize what a true blessing it was.

Please let us know how you and your family are doing. What are your plans? What can we do to help???

It is so wonderful to hear that you are safe, and I know you must be having so many mixed emotions. I look forward to the "rest of the story".

Blessings Galore!

Janet
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#3 Postby LAwxrgal » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:17 pm

The beginning

My journey to convince my entire family that Hurricane Katrina was a huge problem began very early in the morning of Friday, August 26. By then, Katrina (just a baby hurricane at that point) had already wrought havoc on South Florida, knocking down trees, power lines, and taking out a bridge that was under construction. Not to mention, she had claimed eleven lives and frightened complacent south Floridians about the dangers of hurricanes. Also, she forced the postponement of this year's Video Music Awards, which were scheduled to take place in Miami the week Katrina hit.

At this time, I had been fairly certain we would have no problems with this storm. She was forecast to move to the Florida Panhandle (an area that was no stranger to hurricanes -- in fact it had been hard hit by storms named Ivan and Dennis in the past year) and far away from us in Louisiana. Even though I felt for the people in Florida who had been affected by the tropical assault, I was somewhat removed from it at that point. Our own recent hurricane past elicited a litany of misfires. Georges. Ivan. Dennis. For Georges and Ivan, massive evacuations were ordered by many parishes in the area, only to have the storms turn away and/or weaken at the last minute. Big storms happened to other people in other states, not to us in Louisiana.

(I skipped a couple lines)

On Saturday morning, August 27, I logged on to the internet and checked on the progress and strength of the storm. A fellow weather enthusiast on this board showed me a set of forecast models clustered around my location. I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it. The NHC decided to believe it, shifting the path west to Biloxi. That was getting too close to comfort.

In addition, the baby storm was growing steadily as she moved southwest across the ultra-warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Southwest! Storms don't move southwest in the Gulf, I thought. It took no time at all for her to regain what little strength she lost while traversing Florida. In fact she seemed to be gaining momentum. It was yet another sign of trouble, if I had known. She was becoming Goliath -- and quickly. I had to alert my mother that Katrina was apparently changing her course. Because of this, I had to formulate a plan. I began by contacting my oldest sister.

She had moved to Houston about a month before Katrina hit. I told her there was a storm in the Gulf and it was headed in the general direction of my area. She told me not to worry and to keep her posted. All the while I held on to faint hope that this wasn't happening. Not here. Not now.

In case of a devastating hurricane threat, we couldn't stay in our low-lying area in southeast Louisiana. I had been through Hurricane Andrew (a Cat 3) here, and it wasn't a picnic. We spent five days without electricity, got several inches of rain and flooding, had a tornado hit a mile from my house, and with my sister being seven months pregnant in the August heat, it wasn't comfortable. Not to mention, a storm as strong as this one was a major threat on our lives. I decided I wasn't going to deal with anything worse.
Last edited by LAwxrgal on Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#4 Postby Coredesat » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:19 pm

I don't mean to be rude, but this should be in the Hurricane Recovery & Aftermath forum. :oops:
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#5 Postby LAwxrgal » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:23 pm

Team Ragnarok wrote:I don't mean to be rude, but this should be in the Hurricane Recovery & Aftermath forum. :oops:


Team: I said I didn't quite know where to put it. :D Relax.
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#6 Postby MysticOne » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:23 pm

This is a Storm2K member checking in to let fellow members know that she and her family are okay. This is a fine place to do so!
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#7 Postby Pebbles » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:33 pm

This Storm2k member is also a published author. I'm very interested in what she is contributing. :)
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#8 Postby LAwxrgal » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:40 pm

It hits home

As the night wore on and the forecasts became crystallized, I realized the situation was going from bad to worse. You know your location's in tropical trouble when local television stations begin round-the-clock coverage two days before a storm even hits. On Monday morning, August 29, major hurricane Katrina was forecast to make landfall on my coastline just south of New Orleans, with her strongest winds passing very close to the city afterwards.

At this time internet radio station NHCWX also began round-the-clock coverage. I told them my situation: I couldn't figure out how to convince my mother and my family that this storm was a srious threat, serious enough for them and us to leave. One of their jockeys had a stern warning for me: Get out or die.

If those words didn't hit home, then the satellite image on one of the local TV stations did. A comma-shaped entity sitting in the Gulf of Mexico, with a clear eye, or center of circulation, sat right off my coastline, moving in my general direction. From my few years of casually studying and being fascinated by these awesome forces of nature, I knew this was a very powerful and dangerous system. Katrina was no longer a baby storm. She was a monster.

"Ma, we've got to go," I screamed at my mother, who was sitting on the couch. "We can't stay here. We've got to get out."

"Be patient," she replied, almost sounding like she was crying. My mother is wheelchair bound from diabetes and high blood pressure. "You know my physical condition. I can't move like I want. Besides, the interstate's crowded."

I asked her if she knew why the interstate was crowded. "People are trying to get the heck out of here," I told her. "And we should be too."

My mother pouted, but decided we would leave in the morning.

I wasn't done yet. I called my sister in Houston again, to tell her the bad news: Katrina would probably hit on Monday and we would need a place to go. She continued to tell me to calm down and accuse me of overly panicking.

"This isn't a game, Monica. This storm is dangerous and I don't want any part of it."

After I hung up with my sister, my uncle, who lived next door, knocked on the entrance door, and I let him in. "Look," I told him, "you've got to get out of here! You can't stay here, this is dangerous."

He laughed at me. "That storm ain't coming here," he said. He was so confident that it wasn't coming that he was willing to stay in our house to prove it. I was incredulous. My uncle is the most stubborn man I have ever known. He was a Vietnam vet whose hurricane experience is slim and none. He proceeded to accuse me of being a worrywart. I decided to try again the next morning. I was tired and it seemed hopeless.
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#9 Postby LAwxrgal » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:41 pm

Pebbles wrote:This Storm2k member is also a published author. I'm very interested in what she is contributing. :)


Dang why'd you spill my secret? :lol:
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#10 Postby LAwxrgal » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:48 pm

Keep in mind I'm typing straight off the laptop, so there might be some errors and some things left out. I've got two more parts, but I'll wait awhile to type them.

I will say this: I had to deal with my other sister, who lives in a mobile home. She was clueless that there was a storm even in the Gulf!
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#11 Postby Pebbles » Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:52 pm

LAwxrgal wrote:
Pebbles wrote:This Storm2k member is also a published author. I'm very interested in what she is contributing. :)


Dang why'd you spill my secret? :lol:


I didn't know it was secret!! You do have author under profile LOL *tickles*
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#12 Postby Cookiely » Mon Sep 05, 2005 5:12 pm

I can sympathize with your dealings with your family. I have gone through similar conversations. Its like hitting your head against a brick wall. Anxious for the next installment of your saga.
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Re: Prelude to Armageddon (warning: long and detailed)

#13 Postby jburns » Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:03 pm

LAwxrgal wrote:The trouble with my family is they are God fearing Christians, and being the Southern Baptists that they are, they have adopted something of what I consider is a fatalistic attitude -- "what will be, will be." .


Sounds like the are really closet Presbyterians. 8-)
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#14 Postby beachbum_al » Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:10 pm

Sounds scary! I can relate to relatives that think

1. It will not hit here

2. If it does it does.

This has all change since Katrina though. They saw what she can do. Now they will not stay if a storm is even near us.
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#15 Postby Hfcomms » Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:01 pm

The trouble with my family is they are God fearing Christians, and being the Southern Baptists that they are, they have adopted something of what I consider is a fatalistic attitude -- "what will be, will be."


That really doesn't square with the scriptures at all. I consider myself a God fearing Christian but I also know that God gives us the ingredients but we still have to do the baking!!

If Noah had felt like that he wouldn't of built the ark. There are many stories of deliverance in the bible but people still had to have to use sense. I'll bet those folks wouldn't think of not having insurance or retirement plans. I'll bet they don't sit in their living room, fold there arms refusing to go to work and say that "God will meet the need".

That type of fatalism is the opposite of faith. It's part of the problem that many can never conceive that disaster can happen to them. It's always something that happens to someone else.
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#16 Postby MomH » Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:25 pm

Several times in the last week I have been reminded of this joke:

A massive flood surrounded this very Christian gentleman’s home. It came quickly but he was able to climb to the roof. There he sat and prayed asking the Lord to save him. Soon a raft came drifting by and caught on the eaves of the house. He pushed it away and went back to his praying. Not to long after a rescue team came by in a boat and tried to rescue him. He thanked them but told them the Lord would take care of him. He again went back to his prayers. The next day a helicopter hovered over the roof and started to let down a basket. The man again waved them off saying, “I have faith, the Lord will take care of me.” Several days later he died, praying to the end. When he got to heaven he asked to speak to the Lord and was given permission. He questioned the Lord asking, “Why after all my prayer, did you let me die?” The Lord answered, “I sent you a raft, a boat and a helicopter. What more did you want, my son.”
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#17 Postby LaPlaceFF » Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:35 pm

Pebbles wrote:This Storm2k member is also a published author. I'm very interested in what she is contributing. :)



I did not know that....
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#18 Postby sam-E » Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:48 pm

So???
Do we get "the rest of the story"?? I am interested. Keep it coming.

Thanks and God Bless.
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#19 Postby CajunMama » Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:08 am

*drumming my fingertips on my desk* waiting for as Paul Harvey says..."the rest of the story"!
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#20 Postby T'Bonz » Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:21 am

One nit: Not all S. Floridians are complacent. Only those who have moved here since 1992. ;)
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