Today is the three year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It seems like a world away, yet like yesterday all at the same time. I have pictures and video that I've been wanting to compile and share, living through it was a surreal experience. And meaning to carve out a little time to sit and watch Spike Lee's "When the Levees Break", a dvd gift from Dean when we still lived down south. Perhaps I'll dig through the boxes this weekend and try to locate it.
In comparison to many New Orleans residents, we were so very fortunate - the means to evacuate, minimal overall damage, Dean employed for a company who found and paid for alternate housing in Houston until weeks and months passed and we could return home. We were surrounded by Dean's co-workers and their families, our friends, and built our own little Louisiana Schlumberger community right in the heart of Texas. So very fortunate.
Right now, Hurricane Gustav is setting his sights on New Orleans, with the projected path heading straight into the Gulf of Mexico, the eye right over the city. Predicted landfall for Gustav is Tuesday morning. We are scheduled to leave for New Orleans on Friday for a long weekend of Saints home opener football at the Superdome. A ruined vacation holds no importance for me, but the safety of our friends and our city does.
Our dear friend Joey called me on Wednesday, wondering if we were watching the weather channel. He is planning on leaving this weekend with his wife Bonnie and their two little children, Anabelle and Max, who we love dearly. The city is overflowing with people and places that Dean and I love.
Over a year since we've left, and New Orleans still feels just as much like home as St. John's does. People who are right now going through the same things we all did three years ago - deciding to stay or go. Sitting in line for hours to fill up your car with gas, a precious commodity as a storm approaches, and more lining up at the hardware stores for plywood to put over your windows, hoping that will make a difference, water, flashlights and other essentials. Scanning your home in those last few minutes before leaving, choosing what means most and goes with you in the limited space of your car, then driving away wondering if you'll ever see what's left behind again. Or if you'll see your neighbors again, who are also driving away. Sitting in lines on the interstate for hours, as you are directed trough the city's contraflow plans to get out. Waiting and wondering.
So please hope and pray that the weather patterns will change, Gustav will make a turn out to sea and do no damage, and we can walk off the plane on Friday, ready to visit friends we love, who are all safe and sound in their homes, and ready to visit our very favorite spots in the whole world.