Remembering Hurricane Katrina

5 years ago, while stationed in Germany, I sat in horror, like pretty much everyone who had a television set, and watched my city drown.

Like everyone else, I watched helplessly, unable to do anything to help my city.

I was also unable to get in touch with ANYONE in my family for over 3 weeks.

THREE WEEKS.

I thought the worst. I was glued to television newscasts, searching the streets for anything that would link me to my family. I put their names on the Red Cross lists (which, although my parents DID eventually go to a Red Cross service point, I was never notified of their survival. Because somehow Red Cross just decided not to update anything. I mean, they were OVERWHELMED, you know?)

There was a man standing outside the Astro-Dome with a phone number on a piece of cardboard. I didn’t even think about what I was doing, but the next thing I knew, I was on the phone with a woman on the other end of that number, telling her that I loved her, I was praying for her, and that I hoped she found her father soon. We cried together. We prayed together.

It was all I could do from so far away to connect back to my people. To my home.

I finally did get in touch with my parents and slowly, other members of my family. Everyone was alive, praise the Lord, but some did have damage from the levee break.

I can not even begin to explain the feelings of thinking you have lost everyone in your family at once. All of your childhood friends. All of your neighbors. Everything you knew, gone in an instant.

To those people making smart comments about “building a city under sea level in the first place” I want to to remind you:  The Midwest has flooded more times in my lifetime than New Orleans, the city under sea level.

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