This story was a first hand account of a big leap of faith. Overcoming obstacles to come out stronger on the other side. I am very happy that Kris shared her story with me. I felt strongly that her words told her story better than I could that is why I decided to do a first hand account. Kris writes her own blog. You can find it at Second Book To The Right. I hope you enjoy her story.
I’m a New Orleans girl, born and bred and very proud of it. Growing up, we had always been raised on the threat of “The Big One”, ya know…the big hurricane that angles itself just right, comes up the mouth of the mighty Mississippi and wipes out New Orleans. When Katrina hit the Gulf, I was 7 months pregnant and working on a Saturday. Everyone was talking about evacuation routes, who was evacuating and when, everyone was checking Weather.com
. Heck, I was refreshing it every 10 minutes, even though I knew it wouldn’t get updated but every 3 hours. And as I kept telling everyone, “Don’t worry, its gonna turn y’all, it always does.”
It did turn at the last minute, ending up hitting Bay St Louis, MS directly. Unfortunately, it was so close to NOLA anyways, that the tidal surge destroyed our levees, and…well, the pictures speak for themselves.
My fiance and I decided to stay in, instead of evacuating. I was 7 months pregnant, and figured that if something did happen, I went into early labor or whatever, I lived a mile away from the hospital I worked at. We’d be able to make it.
Electricity went out permanently at about midnight, Sunday night into Monday. I woke up about 5 AM and looked out our windows to see the trees almost parallel to the ground with the force of the winds. At about 7 AM, I was still wandering about the apartment. Its hard to sleep when there’s so much noise with the gusting winds. By this time we had no running water.
All of a sudden, I heard a noise that sounded like a gunshot, next to my head….I don’t think any pregnant woman has ever dove under covers so quickly as I did at that moment. Our neighbors’ windows blew out. At about 9 AM, the winds settled down, and the hurricane was gone. We made it! Just another hurricane to talk about…like Betsy and Camille.
About noon I looked out the window and noticed there was water in the street….that wasn’t there before. Two hours later, there was a foot of water and it was still rising. We were on the second floor apartment, so I wasn’t concerned. By 4 PM, our downstairs neighbors knocked on our door to ask if they could come stay with us….their apartment was flooding.
We stayed around the radio that afternoon, listening in horror as callers called into local radio stations, begging for help from the lower districts, like the Lower Ninth Ward. “We’re in our attic, and the water’s still rising…help us please.”
I always hoped those callers got out safely. Maybe they were the ones that found the axes in their attics and chopped the way to their roofs. We were lucky, where we were living the water only got to about 5 feet. Now the waiting started….waiting for the waters to go down. By the next morning, looting had started in the neighborhood, people were sloshing through five feet of water, and our food had run out. Our water had run out the night before, since we were now housing 6 adults, instead of just us two.
My fiance and neighbors went out to the local grocery store and brought back some food…stuff that would spoil, like bread and meat. Between the 95 degree heat and no water, I couldn’t eat very much. I couldn’t even go downstairs into the water to cool off like everyone else was.
If you’re by yourself, the threat of a snake bite, or a live electrical wire or rusty nail, jagged glass can be laughed off, and the water was waded through, but I was 7 months pregnant, and I had to protect the life I had inside me.
It took three more days til the water receded enough for the street to be seen. Eight years ago today in fact, was when we were able to get my car jumped and make our way to Houston where my sister was.
We ended up with a healthy baby girl born in November, though I definitely blame the stress of Katrina to causing me to have a C-Section. I think the stress of trying to protect the baby caused my body to rebel and keep the baby where it thought it was safe, even though it was time to come out.
She’s turning 8 in November, and going into third grade this week. 🙂
As far as my faith, originally, the plan was to head over to the Superdome, which if you remember, ended up being the very place you didn’t want to be….stuck in a place with thousands of others, under that kind of stress, caused massive fights to break out, and some reports of sexual assaults. My intuition (or perhaps my guardian angel) told me that would be a very bad idea, and we decided at the last minute not to, and to stay in our apartment. If you could see our neighborhood at the time, I think our apartment building was the only one that did not have severe damage….a few blown out windows yes, but when you saw whole sides of brick buildings crumbled….this was nothing.