Hurricane Ida and its aftermath in Louisiana and other places have brought up for me memories and comparisons to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
My husband, daughter and I took a vacation the beginning of August 2005. We landed in New Orleans, drove down the Gulf Coast to Florida and southwards, cut across Florida to hit Disney World and other sites, went back up the Atlantic side of Florida and then to New Orleans again to fly home.
Little did we know that Hurricane Katrina would come ashore the end of August in the very area we had explored only a few weeks earlier. The difference was so stark.
Since Joe had been laid off work not too long before, he decided to volunteer with a non-profit organization from Washington State that was headed with huge semi truck loads of equipment and food to feed and support the first responders from around the country. After getting the appropriate shots, off he headed to New Orleans.
Even though it was so hot and humid, the volunteers were required to wear long pants, lace-up shoes (no flip flops) and long sleeve shirts, if possible. Tents were set up along the French Quarter waterfront for sleeping. Joe tolerates heat well, but the oppressive heat/humidity/too-warm clothes was just about too much for him. Even though he hates rats and mice – and there was a huge abundance of both in the area – Joe deserted his zipped-up tent for sleeping on a cot in an open air pavilion. Only after the fact did he find out critters were running around under his cot.
Joe met people from around the nation, responders from all walks of life, walked by buildings that still housed people who had not escaped the destructive forces of Katrina, saw with his own eyes the comparison between what we had experienced a few weeks earlier and the aftermath of the storm. It was an eye-opening experience and he was thankful that he had the opportunity to help.
My heart goes out to those affected by Ida. Lives have been lost. Homes and businesses destroyed. It takes a long time to rebuild, no matter what the loss. This is not the first time for such a catastrophic event nor will it be the last. An area very near to where we live was recently affected by flooding, loss of lives, loss of businesses and homes as a result of the remnants of tropical storm Fred. It was amazing to see so many people jump in to help, either physically or financially or with donated goods. Strangers helping strangers. Never stop caring.
© 2021 Rebecca R. Carney