A Year

One year ago this morning, I was at work trying to get information on Hurricane Katrina as the storm came ashore. I knew the Mississippi coast – and particularly Waveland and Bay Saint Louis – were getting hammered, but there was little real-time information coming out.

Then the wife sent me a link over AIM. It looked like this:

It was a graph of wave heights on the pier in Waveland that morning. I didn”t know exactly what it meant, but the tide spiking so hard and readings ending at 4 a.m. sent a clear signal. It was bad.

No sane person could have imagined just how bad things would get, though.

For somebody who lives 450 miles away from The Katrina Zone, the storm has played a big part in my last 365 days. It”s natural, of course, since I grew up in Louisiana and have good friends and family in New Orleans and coastal Mississippi. Looking back now, a bunch of moments stick out in my mind:

- My parents getting diverted to Atlanta on their way back from Las Vegas – and then almost running out of gas trying to drive a rental car back home.

- The sickening first days when people I knew and relatives of friends weren”t accounted for.

- Using the then little-known Google Earth to help friends in New Orleans scout the flood.

- Having to be in Tennessee instead of Louisiana for Labor Day, and spending every spare moment in front of the TV.

- The shrimp boat at I-10, Blackhawks in Baton Rouge and other encounters on my first trip back in early September.

- Realizing how much it helps to just be there.

- Learning how bad an MRE can be.

- Being unequipped to handle what we saw when we finally made it back to Waveland and New Orleans.

- Driving an old pickup from Uptown to Lakeview with few traffic lights working and the wife trying to follow me.

- Watching a Saints game at Tiger Stadium.

- The mix of joy and sorrow at Jazz Fest.

- Regretting never introducing the wife to Hubig”s pies before Katrina and being real happy when I was finally able to get her one (or 5) in May.

- Becoming friends with a Katrina-evacuee couple (not native New Orleanians) who”ve become neighbors of ours and really liking that they feel at home in East Atlanta.

There are other things, of course, that are more personal to me or others that I haven”t touched on much at the Wisdom during the last year. But suffice it to say it”s been a long year for some people; and normal is still a ways off.

And I have a lot of concerns about the future of New Orleans and the Mississippi coast. But that”s for another time.

I”ll close out year one with what I see as a hopeful picture taken in Waveland after Katrina:

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!