Katrina Couldn’t Knock Me Down

Elizabeth - Madisonville, Louisiana
Entered on July 20, 2011

Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change
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I believe in overcoming adversity and coming out better on the other side. Like many people, I was affected by Hurricane Katrina. I still remember the day when I found out the levees broke and flooded New Orleans. All I could think about were my two cats, Prince and Sweetie, who we had left behind. I had left everything behind. All I had with me was a pair of flip flops, two t-shirts, and two pairs of jogging pants. After all, it was only going to be two days until we went back home and everything would be fine. My family and I always joked that evacuating for hurricanes was like a mini-vacation. We would go out of town for a couple of days; it was usually spontaneous where we decided to go. We would go shopping, sight-seeing, or go out to eat. We never worried much because everything always turned out okay. Never in a million years would I have ever imagined that this time I would lose everything.

I remember that long drive to get to my home in St. Bernard Parish. The whole way there I kept asking myself, “How bad could it possibly be?” “It’s just water. How much damage can water possibly do?” The images I saw are burned in my brain. Fourteen feet of water sat in my house for weeks. The grass was dead and the mud was dry and cracked. My father’s truck had floated down the street onto a neighbor’s roof. The inside was even worse. How could water possibly cause so much damage? Furniture was flipped over, items were scattered everywhere, and swirls of brown, green, and black mold covered the ceilings and walls. Two feet of mud and oil covered the beautiful hardwood floors my parents had just put in before the hurricane.

I remember rummaging through the mess to try and salvage anything. I came out with a couple of photographs, some clothes, and a couple of books. That was all I had to show for my 19 years of being on this Earth. I lost the majority of my pictures, my shoes, my car, my computer, my furniture, the majority of my clothes, my home, and worst of all, my pets. In that moment all I could think about was how I was ever going to recover from this.

I was in my second year of college at the time and even my school flooded. So there you have it. I had no home, no car, no school, no clothes, and no shoes.

You must feel very sorry for me. Well, don’t. I have one of the most important things anyone could possibly have. I have a supportive family who was there for me. With my family by my side, we were able to pick up the broken pieces and start our lives over from scratch. I now know what is really important in my life, and now I don’t take anything for granted. You never know when it can all just go away.