Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Monday, September 5th-Thursday, September 15th

By the time we'd traveled the 30 miles back to Bob and Ann's the next morning, my father decided he'd also had enough and wanted to leave. We were lucky enough to find a couple of hotel rooms outside of Memphis, and left Belleville that afternoon.

Our plan at this point was to start working our way close to New Orleans. We found out that my parents' house in Marrero was virtually undamaged. Neighbors checked the house for them, and even though a gigantic tree in the backyard fell, it missed the house. We figured that as soon as Jefferson Parish reopened, we could get back there. At the same time, Michelle and I tried to find a place of our own in Lafayette, but to no avail. Lafayette seemed to be the new New Orleans, with the people who couldn't fit in the overcrowded Baton Rouge jammed into there.

Relief started to come, though. Cellphone calls began coming through a little easier. We finally got our $2000 of FEMA money. The Red Cross was paying for our hotel rooms.

Then the biggie came through. I finally got in touch with Jose, who lives on the second floor of the house next to mine. He claimed that someone in the neighborhood saw satellite photos of our street and that they could see the sidewalk through the water! It meant that if we had water, it wasn't the filthy muck water that filled most of the city, and it maybe meant we hadn't flooded at all! It was the best news I'd heard in awhile.

But it was shortlived. I finally heard from Donald, who was stranded in the Lindy Boggs hospital on Jeff Davis, about a half-mile from my house. The hospital had been evacuated, and they rode out on airboats. He said it looks like "a city springing out of a river."

My heart sank. I'd thought I'd lost everything. Then I thought there was a chance that we'd lost nothing. Now I was hearing that SUVs were barely visable in the water. At the same time, I was glad Donald was okay. He was the only person I'd yet to have heard from, and that meant everyone I know was out of the city.

I tried to distract myself. I spent a lot of time online, reading up on the news. Jefferson Parish was going to start reopening soon, and my parents were already making plans to go back. NFL football started on Thursday the 8th, and the Patriots won (I won't go into it now, but the Patriots have been my no.2 team since 1993), and the Saints followed suit that Sunday. I travelled to a couple of comic shops, eager to get my mind off of wondering about home.

Finally, after a week and a half of sitting around and waiting, we got the go-ahead to go home. A friend of mine, Jason, checked on the house for us and we knew it had electricity. Because my parents and I work at the same company, we were able to get passes that allowed us in early, so we decided to leave on Friday, the 16th, Michelle's birthday.
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