Seven years ago, I was leaving New Orleans and driving back to my parent’s house. Going to Tulane for college, I frequently went home and knew the short drive like the back of my hand. This drive was different though; I was evacuating for Hurricane Katrina.
Growing up in South Louisiana, I didn’t fear hurricanes as some of the other students did. I was used to them; they were part of life on the bayous. You knew when hurricane season was and to not make any big plans during it. You learned quickly to fear category 3 more than 1. You learned the importance of wind speeds and sustained gusts.
That day, driving home, I was expecting a quick return to New Orleans like always. Like the rest of the Big Easy, I never expected what happened next. The days, weeks and months following were an emotional whirlwind to say the least. My life in the form that I was familiar came to a screeching halt. It quickly went from nights out with my best friends and boyfriend to waiting to hear if everyone was ok, waiting to find out where I would finish my degrees (Tulane was shut down for the semester) and longing for my closest friends.
I felt like I had lost a piece of myself in those waters, similar to many others. I was fortunate that I didn’t lose anything material, but the emotional toll was still strong.
The difference now is that I am protected from hurricanes by hundreds of miles. However, the emotional toll still hits home whenever storms roll near my family – all who still live in South Louisiana. Tonight, they sit in the path of Hurricane Isaac. They are prepared, and they are well seasoned where hurricanes are involved. All I can do is pray for their safety, and the safety of all those who may not be as prepared as them.
If you could say a little prayer for all those in the storm’s path, I would greatly appreciate it.