Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Photo: Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina hit us here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  

And she hit us hard...those who stayed rode out the worst storm in American history, hours and hours of her brutal assault on the metropolitan cities and quaint, beach villages that edged the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico.  And then, after six or eight hours of ETERNITY...everything was...GONE.  Everything...our church, the school, the gas station, the library and the bank, the drug store, the gift shop, our favorite restaurant, coffee shop, our doctor's office....and our homes.  Imagine that, if you can.

Imagine, too, standing in the middle of your street...with no street signs, landmarks, power poles or homes and momentarily not even knowing if it is your street.  Everything is GONE...except for the rubble and debris piled into HUGE mountains on top of roads and yards as faaaaaar as the eye can see...and the next town, too...and the next town...and the next town. "South of the tracks" has simply. disappeared forever.  And all that remains are cement steps, drives and walkways to...nowhere...all the nowheres that used to be warm, cozy homes, refuges from the world...and dead squirrels...trees stripped bare...and the baking heat in the stillness of late August.  Think about it for a minute.

You're needing your scissors from your sewing trim threads from your torn shirt...and reminding yourself that you no longer have your sewing box...those scissors...that were your grandmother's...are gone forever.  Just imagine losing ALL that you own, ALL that you know...and thinking about where you kept the baby books...your confirmation rosary...your high school and college diplomas...the thumb tacks in the junk drawer...your whole world gone forever...and nothing will EVER be the same.

Now...imagine this...your first thought isn't leaving, isn't running to the comfort of some other place with air conditioning and hot never crosses your water, no power, no nothing.  But, imagine that your first thought is the well-being of the people you love...your family, neighbors, friends.  And then some of us got the sad news that we'd lost people that we love. And an inconsolable grief consumes you, drains you, pains you...and you stop in your tracks...paralyzed...and all the coulda's, woulda's, shoulda's flash through your already overwhelmed and very tired mind...sigh.

But you're burnin' daylight...and you have to get started. So you roll up your sleeves and as you stare into the destruction, you begin to focus on what to do first, what to do next...checking on the neighbors, sharing what you have...pooling efforts to help each other...'cause, well...that is how we roll down here ~smile~ and in the days after, returning to your "lot"...your address of 20+ try to find something...ANYTHING., just any little thing will link you to your life before...we all cherish the most ridiculous things, now, I gotta tell ya...heh heh., here we are nine years later, still rebuilding. There are still blocks after blocks of vacant lots, miles of slabs, driveways, wooded areas that once cradled the homes of generations of families....and, in hindsight, no doubt, we are blessed to have had the experience...blessed to have each other...blessed to still be here.

So, I ask you all to please keep our family, and the families of all those who lost their lives that day and after, in your thoughts and prayers today.  August 29, 2005...a day unlike any other...ever...sigh.