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Katrina Chronicles

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posted on Sep, 26 2005 @ 02:37 PM
Well the past four weeks have been rather interesting with much needed relaxation (go figure), excitement, some fear, and a little bit of anxiety. Overall I am happy to say I stayed the whole time and never left and do not regret a minuet of it. If anything it actually made me want to stay for major hurricanes (like a I always do…) Well hell this is my account of what happened so I guess I should get to the point considering this will be on the longer than shorter side…

I guess we can start on the Friday before the storm hit. I was at home spending time with my lovely girlfriend, as I normally do on Fridays. My dad mentioned that we were looking bad for this storm that Friday evening and I didn’t even know there was a storm in the gulf. This was a common story for many people in the greater New Orleans area. Many didn’t know until Friday night or Saturday morning which at max gave 48 hours to prepare. So Saturday we pull out all the boards and get the house boarded up nice and tight. We do all the usual hurricane prep stuff of filling bath tubs up with water, putting the air conditioner on super low, freezing water in the freezer at lowest setting and going get ice and what not.

Well come Sunday morning I go to my 8 o clock mass instead of my normal 11and there was a grand total of 23 people there to the normal 200+. Need less to say many people evacuated. It was a cat 5 with a super low pressure and people were claiming it to be “The One” (which it was not contrary to common belief). So Sunday consists of us picking up stuff from my back yard..
( immage before the storm)

And all kinds of fun stuff. The winds were nice at about 20 mph all day. On my way home from church I saw emergency personnel putting down 3000 pound sand bags by a near by pumping station and closing flood walls. (remember we are under sea level) The canals were drained and all was ready for this storm. There is a drainage canal that is about 1/4th of a mile from my house I can walk to it in a few minuets and it also has a very large pumping station that helps to pump water into a major waterway (The Harvey Canal) which is in turn connected to the Mississippi River.

Ok so now this is where the fun starts to pick up… My sister, who for sake of understanding is a smoking drug abusing 19 year old who in the course of 1 ½ years put 75,000 miles on a brand new car and who spent over 5,000$ on nothing of value in the past 1 ½ years AKA a major spoiled brat ( and that’s putting it nicely). Well anyway she hesitated to leave because at 19 years of age she can not make her own decisions and can not think for herself. Last year for a TROPICAL STORM she got a flight to Austin Texas. ( go figure) So any way enough complaints about her. SO she stays with us. For her Sunday night and Monday morning ( when the storm hit) she slept, the whole storm.
So Sunday night I stay up all night as the storm hits increasingly through out the night the winds pick up and the rain continues to pile up. By midnight we have a good 80-90mph sustained wind.

At 2:35 am we loose power (August 29). At 4:00 am we get the following announcements via raido through the National Weather service…
Our area is under a flash flood warning, 7” of rain has fallen in our area, the storm had max sustained winds at 150 mph and was 915mb. My observations at the time were… Receiving heavy rain with wind gust up to about 100mph. I got my handy dandy camera out and tried to take pictures/Vids. This one is not to clear but that “roar” is the wind in my chimney. ( it was really hard to capture how powerfull the winds were)

Wind Sounds

My dad and me began to notice that the wind was so intense that it was forcing water though the window pane seams. We watched the storm from the top of an arched window in my front bedroom.

Water in glass!

At 5:00 I used my super awesome astronomy light pollution detecting eyes to see how bad the power outages were. I noticed the sky was progressively getting darker and that the only area that still seamed to have power was around the West Jefferson Medical Center. We were going in and out of the garage because uh… it was cool or at least I was. In the garage you would hear the rain pounding the metal garage doors and then the major winds gusts in the 120mph+ zone would nearly blow in the doors. It was pretty cool…. Haha. Well anyway we also noticed that our street was no longer a street it was…. A RIVER. So any way as the sun begins to come up and give us light we begin to see what exactly is going on.

White caps in my street!

The water continually begins to rise. Me and my dad soon realize that we are going to get water in the house. So we scramble to pick everything up and elevate all the furniture in the house a few inches. (and yes we had to wake up my sister which was not pleasant) Then we scramble outside. Yes your saying “WHAT YOU WENT OUTSIDE!” well yeah we did. Why? TO put down sand bags. We sand bagged the front door and the back door. The water keeps rising and we begin to get worried because it is now coming into our garage…

The water starts to come in my garage.

Finally the wind changes direction and we hope now that the water will begin to recede

That green Porto Potty… We watched it get lifted up and hurled about 7 feet into the street then as the water began to rise is started floating away…
I being the dumbarse that I am wanted to go outside because I though this was amazing. SO I go in my garage which now has a good 6 inches of water ( I was in water proof rubber boots) and I go to the actual wooded door outside of my garage and try to open it. As I open the do the wind was so violent that the door smacked me in the face and flung me back on to out boat. I wasn’t hurt just a little spooked. Did that stop me? Nah. SO I go outside for a good minuet or two to see what it was like… quite amazing. I notice something highly important though… That if we hadn’t put down the sand bags that my house would have water in it. ( actually they weren’t sand bags but more of anything we could use… Garden soil, bagged grass form the lawn mower. Well it worked and that’s what matters…) Well on another trip outside I notice that I lost my elm tree, it was only 12 feet tall, and that down the street from me about 4 houses the corner house has been destroyed. (I have pictures later) so anyway the storm passes and like any normal high school senior I want to go outside! Look at me in the boat!

That’s a lot of water!
So anyway the water never really went down and were concerned because we literally had centimeters until we would have had water in the house. Well because I went outside my sister had to go outside too. Not to see the destruction. To smoke a cigarette. (we wouldn’t let her smoke in the house)

So anyway Monday passes and the storm has gone. The water hasn’t receded and we are all a bit nervous about that. The walls in my house didn’t even shake, and yall didn’t believe me when I said we built this thing strong.. Humph. We lost a grand total of…. 5 shingles!

Tuesday morning at about 4 o clock AM we hear the massive diesel engines of the pump house come on. Which was something we were waiting for since the storm passed. We went go check on my neighbors house and they got water in the house and ruined the carpet. My sister was increasingly becoming a pain because we had not entertainment and no air conditioning. So the radio announces that the Pump Houses in the Greater New Orleans Area were evacuated at 8:00 pm Sunday night. Which basically translates to… Everyone on my street and almost everyone in my neighborhood now has sheetrock damage furniture damage, and carpet damage because the pumps were abandoned and could not run automatically. Now this aroused quite some anger in my father. It only makes sense that the things be built with a safe room for this exact purpose. Well anyway we didn’t get water but we came real close. Well Tuesday night being an astronomer I knew that the power was out EVERYWHERE so I wanted to go outside and see. Boy was I in for a show. I live less than 10 miles from New Orleans and I could see the milky way from my back yard. That is an experience I will never forget. So Tuesday was more of a minor annoyance that a AH!

Wednesday is when it starts to get good. Well my sister decides to drive around… so I am forced to come with her. Let me just say that in those first days after the storm it was extremely hard to drive around with all the debris. On Tuesday we only heard and saw coast guard helicopters but Wednesday was when we began to see a bunch of military choppers. SO anyway we go drive around to go check on my grandparents. We get there and my sister asks my grandmother if she wants to evacuate and go to a hotel somewhere. And my grandmother says no so we leave and go home. When home my sister starts to become a real witch. She calls my parents horrible people because they put their child through this ordeal. She then clamors that she has something hot to eat so my mom cooks something hot for her. She refuses to eat anything cold. We had about 5 boxes of little Debbie cakes and she would take one of each and take one bite and then throw the rest away. She also did that with pop tarts just in spite of all of us because we would not let her smoke in the house and we were not accommodating to her. On one occasion she even took the food shoved it in her mouth and started screaming “How’s this for rationing!”. We start getting reports of looting and what not Wednesday evening so we go outside and put the beams up on our windows… let me explain what I mean…

If you have ever boarded up for a hurricane you know that you need 2x4’s to keep the ply wood in place (which reminds me… I saw a house boarded up with cardboard….) we took the ply wood down and left up the 2 2/4 support beams. We wanted to be able to see out of the house. And to defend it to the best of our ability.
We really began to take it seriously Wednesday evening when I was cycling though the neighborhood and I spotted two men siphoning gas. So we place our defenses and then decided to get creative. We take the two porto pottys and make a staggered obstacle in the street to keep cars from running down our street quickly. Then we take all the brush and what not and form a perimeter defense around the house to keep people from walking up to the house. ( we decided if this was anarchy and It was really as bad as the radio was saying then we should get prepared) So we hunkered down in my front office where we could see the street and my entire front yard. And if anyone was going to come in our drive way we would see them way before they could see us. We also pulled out some minor small arms it wasn’t until later that we started to have fun.

Well this is where time starts to get sketchy and you really cant remember when things happened. I know that the next day that my sister goes back to my grandparents house and proclaims that her and my grandmother were ‘voted off the island’ and that they were told they need to leave. Now this was all a stunt to make my grandmother loose it which she did. It caused her to have an emotional breakdown and forced me to go back to the house and grab my father to come and cool down the situation. I pulled my sister on the side and in so many words said “Your leaving today whether you want to or not and I am kicking you out”
And reluctantly after telling us we were all insane for staying she left. I mean the damin girl literally said to me one day during this “Michael I’m hot come fan me and bring me chocolate.” I wasn’t about to spend weeks with her without power. Well anyway it was that night I believe that the people burned down Oakwood mall on the west bank (I live on the west bank) and me and my dad got rather concerned with the accounts of looting, rioting, siphoning of gas etc… So we got out the big guns for the defense of the house. In total we had 12 guns out amongst us 3 (me my dad and my mom). The list is as follows… (Its always good to be a gun collector J)
.22 Ruger carbine semi auto
.22 S&W stainless pistol
.22 S&W revolver
.38 S&W special revolver
.357 S&W Magnum revolver
.44 S&S Magnum revolver (with scope…)
.45 Colt Pistol stainless
.40 Colt pistol stainless
12 Gauge pump shotgun with plug out
12 gauge semi auto shotgun (4 shot)
20 gauge pump shotgun with plug out
308 Stainless steel All weather Ruger Rifle
And on top of it loads of ammo.. And you can bet your behind that all of thoes pistols and rifles had clips in them that were bought before the Brady Bill and what not.
We also had some trick ammo… Like for the shotguns some Dragons Breath.. ( it shoots a pillar of white phosphorus blinding light) some buckshot for the revolvers (as warning shots) and some other good stuff ( of course the 308 had full metal jacket ammo )

Anyway enough guy talk. We also had some err other toys….
Anyway we were prepared we had loads of water and loads of food and could defend our house until the end of days. We never had to fire a shot but we had two instances where we came close to having a problem.

The defense of the house consisted of me and my dad staying up all night watching the house in shifts. That’s something that you really don’t want to experience as cool as it sounds. Its scary to think that I had to stay up every night because we feared people were going to come after us for our supplies and that I was defending my house and the lives of my family. I got really worked up one night on watch and wrote a speech that I wanted to call into the radio station and say. Never did though. If you want to hear it I can type it up later.

Well the rest of the story is kind of boring and consists of runs back and forth to a minor league stadium where the military was basing its west bank operations. There we got water MRE’s and ice. MRE’s are rather good actually I was quite surprised. There are little stories I can tell about the 2 weeks with out power and the 3 weeks with out internet and phones and TV. But most of it is just uh stories and not fun to talk about. I have to say though I did ride my dirt bike a lot in the ordeal. Its fun to ride a dirt bike down the road with a .38 revolver in plain sight. You don’t get to do that every day.

Well here is a basic of what happened. I read a lot of books I think four I painted and did a puzzle playing piano, lots of piano, and oh no!

CAT DIED! The heat killed her! (I’m joking of course) she couldn’t take it. Everyone was talking about the relief effort yeah it came slow and all but when they came it was really good. At that minor league stadium we were going to we witnessed like 3 black hawks land within 300 feet of us there were about 1500 soldiers there and on the road you would see a military vehicle almost every other car. I really should have gotten pictures of that. When the grocery stores opened it was mass chaos. Things are still crazy and messed up but life is coming back. The army corps of engineers has a group being based at my church they all showed up for mass yesterday and a few of them even sang with the choir. It was fun and all yeah kind of scary at times but over all a good experience that I do not regret. And now for random pictures of stuff.

Before down my street...

After: notice the tree is gone and all the trash and carpet. Also if you can see that grey house on the left (next to teh one with the white truck) it had a tree fall on it you can see the stumps and stuff in the trash if you look closely.

The house that got destroyed...

And Match stick trees... this is the woods at the front of my nebighorhood

I hope that was worth reading if you read it all. took me 3 hours of work to fix up....

posted on Sep, 26 2005 @ 03:38 PM
Thanks for your account, Mizar, and the photos. You got some good ones.

I'm glad to see that everything turned out alright for you.

posted on Sep, 26 2005 @ 06:33 PM
Great read Miz!!! great account of the storm! Glad you made it out safe and continue to stay safe. Etc.

posted on Sep, 26 2005 @ 07:50 PM
Hey... Look at my idiot boyfriend in a boat... In the middle of his street... Out to get eaten by snakes and poisoned by the water... Man, I'm so glad I have such an intelligent boyfriend...

posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 09:34 PM
Whoa...I missed this thread somehow...

Incredible story Mizar....Great job on giving us the full scoop, live video feed and all

You keep an eye out on that crazy boyfriend of yours Alcor

It's good to see that gun collection of yours didn't get any use, but I can tell they comforted you during some trying times....We're all glad to see you made it through this okay

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