My son’s neighborhood survived – sort of. But most didn’t.
As we celebrated my son’s birthday yesterday we couldn’t help but recall the devastating events of 2005. On that very day, while we were blowing out candles on his cake, Hurricane Katrina had her evil eye trained on the Mississippi and Louisiana Coast.
We were at my son’s New Orleans home on Magazine Street where the music never stops and you’re compelled to dance along – whether or not anyone is looking!
We had the good sense to escape the city just in time. Little did we know we would never return.
As we inched along Interstate Highway 10 in bumper to bumper traffic, I remember the overwhelming feeling of sadness as I left the city I loved – in spite of, and maybe because of, her imperfections.
I remembered Sunday afternoons in Jackson Square watching the passing parade; sipping cafe au lait at the Cafe Du Monde with the Times Picayune in my lap; eating boiled crawfish at the Jazz Fest while Aretha Franklin (in the flesh) sang “Say a Little Prayer for Me.”
I remembered the year Braddock and William rode on a Mardi Gras float each dressed as Raggedy Andy; the exhileration of topping the high rise when returning home from Mississippi; the oyster loaf at Casimentos. I could go on for ages.
Now, three years later almost to the minute, we are facing more of Mother Nature’s wrath aiming at the same region. The initial reports on tropical storm Gustav are eerily similar to Katrina’s early warnings – barely a hurricane but lots of warm water to cross.
Gustav is expected to strengthen to Hurricane status over the weekend and could hit the Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama coastline as early as Monday. In order to be prepared, you may log onto to msucares.com/disaster.
There’s not much we can do now, but pray and get prepared.
You can dial 211 anywhere from Mississippi to access the call center or dial: 1-866-472-8265 OR 601-360-0450 or FAX: 601-961-4617. Individuals can volunteer through this line and make commitments or communicate about donations. This call center is staffed by United Way of the Capital Area, but the number is accessible statewide.