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Hurricane Katrina -- Five Years Ago This Week


Voluntary Resignation
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Jul 3, 2009
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Just as a kind of oral history collection, I thought it might be kinda interesting if people posted where they were and what they were doing when the hurricane struck, or any particular memories or moments that stand out in your mind.

As for myself, I can remember watching the aftermath of the storm on CNN, watching the people load up on buses outside the Superdome and seeing them pull up outside the Astrodome. I remember thinking that I couldn't just sit there and watch other people's suffering on television, so I drove over with a couple of cases of bottled water and volunteered my assistance.

I'd never been inside the Astrodome before, and when I got there it was nothing but rows and rows of cots. I remember the smell of dirty, sweaty bodies and also the smell of urine (apparently the buses didn't stop between New Orleans and Houston, so accidents happened, especially to children and the elderly). The vast majority of the people there were black. Most of them didn't have any belongings, other than what water or other rations that were handed out. Everyone seemed dazed, either from shock or fatigue, or both.

The volunteer effort was generally a mess. The priority was to respond to immediate needs, like food and water. I think there was more organization in the morning when I left, mostly because the Red Cross finally got things under control. I remember when I pulled up to the Dome that the line of buses coming in on I-610 was backed up as far as the eye could see. I think when I left the pace slackened up a little bit, but I'm not sure.

Anyone else?
I was in Pineville, Louisiana the night before landfall, hooked to a trailer load of water and rations. On September 1st, I was with one of the first convoys to enter the the city. We went to Zephyr field, on Airline Hwy and unloaded about half the convoy, then the rest of us went to another drop point on I-10 under the Clearview overpass and dropped the rest. I made about a half dozen trips, over the next three weeks: Bogalusa, Slidell, Chalmette, Harvey and Belle Chase.

Anyone that went south of I-10 and west of Laplace, that didn't have tears in their eyes when they left is either a liar, or didn't have a soul. It was heart wrenching. about 6 weeks after landfall, I took a load to Venice, where I really saw some destruction. I saw what the news didn't show, because they were too worried about covering what was going on in New Orleans. When I saw the destruction south of Belle Chase, all along hwy 23, I found out then, that New Orleans got it easy, by comparison.
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