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The Katrina Papers

These were published on the old Angel Paths forums in September 2005, following Hurricane Katrina's destruction of large parts of New Orleans.

Author - D-man. Who was there.

Part Two

Tuesday morning…

After a relatively horrid night of sleeping on the floor, in front of the cracked open sliding door in the back room, just to get some cooler air passing over my body while the electricity is still out, I push myself up off the floor and hear all my bones crack. It is absolutely beautiful outside today. The air having been blown clean the day before by Katrina and her relentless howling and attempts to flatten all structures with her force. I am so happy that she failed in her attempts. After all, where would I go if I didn’t have a house to live in?

I decide that perhaps I should go outside while it’s still a little bit cool. “Wait a minute!!! Where did this water come from!? The street drained off last night after the days torrential rainfall. This must be runoff from other parts of town. Or maybe the river flooded. Living less than a mile from the Mississippi River can have it’s downfall in a situation like this.” It’s just some simple street flooding. I think the pumps around the city will start to kick in and it’ll be gone again by tonight. So many things are just taken for granted based on information previously supplied by the powers that be. Had information been available, I probably would have been scared at this point.

I go back inside and start moving some of the lower lying objects in my apartment up to higher ground. This vacuum cleaner is brand new – it must be brought to safety and set up on the couch. A cursory reach under the bed comes out with my violin and viola. These have been with me 15 years minimum. I wouldn’t be able to stand losing them. Such sentimental value and enjoyment on those rare occasions that I find myself playing music on them to calm myself down. Playstation 2, Gamecube, controllers, electric cords. All of these things need to be put up on the table this morning. That water came out of nowhere. Who knows how high it’s going to come up.

It took me an hour to clean up around the house. Another look outside shows the water has risen a bit more; about 6 inches up the sidewalk. I start to get a little worried. It should be going down not UP. There is very little that I can do today. Or any other day, in that regards. I have no means of evacuating the city as strongly suggested via “mandatory evacuation orders” that were issued yesterday, as I would find out in the coming days.

I think another book might be in order. But I can’t find the focus in my head to keep the lines of text straight and comprehendible. The heat in the apartment is beginning to become overwhelming despite all available windows being opened and wearing nothing but a pair of boxer briefs. Sitting on the floor where I slept, keeping closest to the breeze, I begin doing Search-a-Word puzzles and monitoring the level of water in the backyard. The yard is still dry at this point, providing security enough to close my eyes and take a much-needed nap. I should wake up before it’s too dark to make another survey of the land and see just how much trouble I’m about to be in for, still unbeknownst to me.

I do wake up around 4pm to take a look outside. “CRAP!” The water has come up the sidewalk fully and is working its way down the side of the house towards my front door. I am so glad that the house has sunk in the front over the years, leaving my back half in a relatively high position compared to the rest of it. Otherwise I would have water lapping eagerly at my front door, begging to be let inside and given the freedom to expand itself and conquer new lands and destroy one more life.

Certainly it can’t come much higher than this. I suppose if the water is this high on my street, it must be like this elsewhere too. The pumps are going to need a while longer to catch up and remove this liquid death. The trees were victorious in the wind, the water has decided that it shall now make a move and strike while the irons are hot, however foolish that cliché may be as it pertains to water. I start to turn the wheels in my head. What can I do? Not much of anything, still. If the water is still this high tomorrow or appears to still be rising at that point, I’ll move into the alcove upstairs. The people that live up there evacuated so surely they won’t mind me taking up their patio with a camping tent and some supplies. But that isn’t necessary now, and more than likely will be one of those “worst-case-scenario’s” that you only dream up so that preparations can be made. (*personal commentary – it’s too bad that our government didn’t have such dreams and follow-up preparations*)

Another hour or two of word-searching. Twenty minutes of playing around on the computer while there is still some battery charge. Shisen has to be one of the more interesting games that I have discovered. Bless the Chinese for putting a twist on Mahjonng. And now off to sleep once more, with the hopes that unconsciousness will provide relief from the heat and afford me the opportunity to dream happy dreams.

If only I knew that when I wake up tomorrow, the horrors will begin to unfold and life as I know it will never be the same.


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