It’s been ten years since Hurricane Katrina and as her anniversary rolls ashore, there is no shortage of looking back at what’s come to be called the Storm of the Century.
Although my daughter was gone for eight of those ten years—like a modern-day Odysseus, she wound up shipwrecked in Colorado, one of those who had to start over elsewhere—some things stay fresh.
Like my gratitude to Dolan Media for giving her a job and furniture before FEMA was even answering the phone. Corporations aren’t always cold and heartless, it’s just that we only write about them when they are.
And my debt to the officers who stayed and did their duty. My daughter said it would have been much worse if police hadn’t guarded the gas pumps. In addition, people left New Orleans in vehicles unable to make the trip and when they broke down, it was the police who stopped to help them. We only reported the ones who didn’t.
Out on the road, like Blanche Dubois, she said it was the kindness of strangers, most loaded up with animals and what they could carry, that she remembers. The family in front of her had a dog crate in the back of a pickup truck. She remembers the dog’s black nose and crawling for the next six hours to get to Houma, not knowing if the storm would find them on the road and trying to come up with a plan if it did.
And while a decade has washed away the details, she remembers the guy on the air at some small-town radio station in the middle of nowhere, telling them not to be afraid, to get off the interstate and take the highway, they’d save two hours. “You’ll be fine,” he said. “You’ll make it.”
I’d like him to know she’s made it home.