Katrina

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Sean Phillips

Rome

English 101

20, February 2013

Keeping the Faith

Is there a certain date that has forever impacted your life and you will never forget? For me,

that date is August 29, 2005 (the dreadful day Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the

United States and mainly the city of New Orleans). What was once thought of a few days before as a

non-threatening storm would forever change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people forever. My

grandma, being one of those people. Through the struggle she never seemed to lose hope. This date

would impact my entire family, as well as me for many years, if not forever.

“Wake up! Wake up! We have to leave!” my mother screamed, waking us on a

beautiful Sunday morning in August (exactly one day before Hurricane Katrina would make landfall on

the coast of Louisiana). “For what?” I said. My mom replied, “We’re evacuating for the

storm. Get your things together as quickly as possible. We’re going to hit the traffic.” I was puzzled

because I was concerned as to why we were evacuating for a category three hurricane which we had

planned to stay for and ride out. As I walked into the living room, my eyes widened in shock. The

“simple” hurricane which we had planned to stay for took up what seemed like the entire Gulf Coast

on my living room television. This wasn’t the average hurricane anymore. Hurricane Katrina had grown

to a massive category five hurricane, the likes of which nobody in my family had ever witnessed before.

My family and I began to quickly gather all the clothes, toiletries, and other supplies we thought were

necessary for a three-or possibly four-night stay in a hotel out of town. My dad made sure everybody

was prepared to leave. Then, my parents, brothers, aunt, grandfather, and I left the house and were

on our way to Gadsden, Alabama.

As we made our way onto the interstate, we soon found out that we weren’t the only people

who decided to evacuate Sunday morning. Traffic was bumper to bumper for miles. At one

point, the traffic was so backed up and slow that we were able to walk from one of our family vehicles

to the other to make sandwiches for the rest of my family in the middle of the interstate without one

vehicle moving an inch. The usual time of about a six to seven-hour drive between our New Orleans

home to Gadsden, Alabama, was elongated into a fourteen-and-a-half-hour drive. After a tedious and

nap-filled drive, which included restaurant and many rest-stop locations, my family and I grabbed our

bags and headed upstairs to our rooms and immediately fell asleep without hesitation. We began to

prepare for the worst, but still hoped for the best. Nothing could prepare us for what we would discover

the next morning.

I awoke the morning of August 29 to my family watching the news on the television. The first

image I saw was a huge section of the Louisiana Superdome’s roof damaged and numerous holes

around it. We continued to watch the news in hope of reports of flooding and damage in our exact

area, but no word had come yet. Only news of the major parts of New Orleans were broadcasted one

every news station across the country. “I hope to God that we have no flood damage!” exclaimed my

grandma .“Not just the water, what about the surrounding trees that could have fallen!” my dad

commented. I tuned out the conversation between my family and continued to watch the storm

ravish through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast on CNN. After about a half hour or so, I decided it was

time I got the thought of our house being destroyed off my mind and visit the rest of my

family that had arrived sometime after we had gotten to the hotel. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and

cousins from Chalmette, Louisiana, had also escaped the path of the storm with us. The rest of the day I

found other activities to...
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