My Home

elisa - metairie, Louisiana
Entered on February 9, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, setbacks
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As I sat and watched the horrifying news on the television, in the Texas hotel room, my mother told me, “Baby, everything will be fine, our family is safe.” I couldn’t believe she was saying this, our house may be destroyed, and she calmly was saying to me everything will be fine. As I cried myself to sleep that night, the devastating news became a nightmare, all I can remember was Hurricane, Katrina, New Orleans, flooded, broken levees. The next day, I realized it was not a vacation for me anymore; the hotel room seemed as of a prison more than a luxury. For the next couple of days my mother’s words kept replaying in my head, “everything will be fine, our family is safe.”

We stayed at the hotel in Houston, Texas for about two weeks, when they had announced on the news that they were going to open up New Orleans. We left the minute we had heard the news. The long car ride home was exhausting, traffic was back to back. A trip from Houston to New Orleans usually would take about 5 hours but it took about 10. I felt as if I would never get home. Then, we had reached a road block a mile away from where we lived. They had explained to us that they could not let us back into our area due to water on the road. Disappointedly, my family and I went to my grandma’s house in Kenner, her house did not get any damage, and we spent about 3 days until they reopened our area.

Finally, we could get into our area. As we were driving down the streets, all of our neighbor’s houses were unrecognizable. All I could see was watermarks, a couple of boats on the neutral grounds, and dead grass. I had lived and played down these same streets for over 15 years and it did not even look like the same neighborhood. Eventually, we came to a red brick home, the door was wide open and all I could hear was my mother’s gasp. I realized, the watermarks were up to the roof and my car that I had left behind in the car port was now on the grass.

I got out of the car and walked onto our porch, everyone can tell that there was nothing salvageable in our house. When the 17th street canal levee had broken, the water that had been only about 5 feet in my house had risen to 8. As I walked through the house, I saw the pictures of me, when I was younger, in the picture frames full of water. My room’s white carpet was now brown and still soaking wet, as was everything in the house. As I walked to my parent’s bedroom, that’s when I had seen my mother on her knees crying. I could not understand a word that was coming out of her mouth, for she had been stuttering and crying at the same time.

As I hugged her and realized there was nothing I could do to make her feel better, that’s when it hit me. Those memorizing words that she had spoken to me were coming back, even though when she had said them I did not know exactly what she meant by it, but now I did. I hugged her even tighter and had spoken the exact same words; everything will be fine, our family is safe. All my life all I had cared about was my house, car, and material things, but at that moment knowing that my family was safe was all that I had cared about. When I think of how great my family is and how Katrina ripped away life as I had known it, I finally found myself. Katrina was a life learn lesson that taught me my family is much more important than anything money can buy.