Julia - Fair Haven, New Jersey
Entered on June 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

When Hurricane Katrina blew through, it took lives and left destruction. Homes were reduced to an unrecognizable pile of wood on the ground. Most of my family lost their homes and had to rebuild everything.

Weeks before the storm hit, I was in Louisiana, when Hurricane Katrina was a spot far away on the radar. I was watching the weather channel with my grandma. The weatherman pointed to the tropical storm that would become Katrina. My grandma made a face. “They’re just trying to scare us… It’s nothing to worry about.” And at that moment, I could believe that everything would be okay. It always was.

My dad’s sister and her family were planning on riding out the storm at their house. We convinced them to leave the day before the hurricane hit. Because of all of the traffic heading west away from the storm, they had to go east, right where Katrina was expected to do the most damage. They were safe, but their house was filled with water and completely submerged to the roof. I try not to imagine what would’ve happened if they hadn’t left.

My aunt and cousin were staying in a hotel in New Orleans when the storm hit. The rest of the family was miles away. My parents stayed up all night, trying to find a way out for them as the city filled with water. They got out just before it became impossible.

A few days after the storm, my uncle called my mother and me. He’s a cop for the French Quarter in New Orleans. He said that he was being shot at, and to tell his wife and daughter that he loved them, basically saying he would die. He didn’t.

I believe in never taking things for granted. You don’t realize how quickly your life can change. I’ve learned that from the storm that came through in August 2005. Despite what my grandma said, you always have to worry. I believe that trying to avoid what’s in front of you can only make it chase you more. We couldn’t ignore Katrina. She just started moving faster.

My grandma and grandpa’s house had to be restored—they had about a foot of water. They were the lucky ones. Many members of my family had to move. There was nothing left for them. This storm took everything. But we’re still here.

My family has lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina. They’ve relocated, or spent time rebuilding. I know I have a lot to be thankful for. At least they’re all alive. At least they’re all safe. And for now, that’s okay.

Until the next hurricane comes.