There has been one experience that I can remember where my survival was literally at stake. It was in August of 2005. That was the time Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, demolishing the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas. I’m from a small town, which is approximately twenty minutes outside of New Orleans. The hurricane affected my family both mentally and physically. My family didn’t evacuate for Hurricane Katrina. We decided to stay and “Ride it out. ” They had the mindset like many others that the hurricane wouldn’t be as catastrophic, but we were wrong.
We were without light, water, and had very little food for several days. One of the most terrifying things I can remember most was living in a house without electricity. Electricity is vital especially when you’re home is totally electric. That means we couldn’t cook, turn on the television or any other electronics. As a youngster of age 14, with an upcoming social media, I couldn’t do much or communicate with family or friends. This was one of the hardest situations for me. Like every other teen, my cellphone, computer, and video game meant everything to me.
Being without my electronics and the electricity was tough. If it wasn’t for non-perishable foods, I don’t know how we would have been able to survive. This is because of our stove being completely electric. On top of that, we didn’t have cool air in one of the hottest months of the year, so therefore we had to take on the risk of practically sleeping with our windows up and sometimes with our door open. Can you imagine living with sunlight by day and candles by night? I had never encountered as experience as such.
Without the knowledge of how tragic this storm would be, our preparation wasn’t as great. In preparation for Hurricane Katrina, we went to the store and stocked up mostly on things such as water, bread, some can goods, sliced ham and candles. We had a good bit of things already home that we figured we would come in handy. Unaware that the hurricane would have such an after effect, we weren’t prepared enough. We ate sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because of the lack of ability to utilize the stove. I think that’s the reason I rarely eat sandwiches today.
My dad had this cooler but being that it was so hot, most things would remain cool long due to the fact that most of the ice melted anyway. Eventually, we began to run low on bread and ham and we were just eating any and everything we could find in the cabinets and pantry that wasn’t ruined due to the room temperature of the house. In Edgard, there aren’t any grocery stores and only one gas station. We normally traveled to New Orleans for all of our necessities. Of course that wasn’t an option because all roads entering New Orleans were closed.
Most stores were flooded and others were out of stock on basically everything due to the fact, that people were either breaking and entering, or because many people bought any and everything they felt they would need in preparation for this storm. Imagine living in a house without water. I remember the parish advising all residents to the water turned off and avoid usage. However, if I turned on the faucet, water would pour out. I could see why the parish issued this warning. It was because the water discolored and contaminated. That was not safe to use for anything.
Luckily, stocked up bottled water and gallon water. We used bottled water for everything. We brushed out teeth with bottle water. We bathed with bottled water. We cleaned with bottled water. Although my family’s home didn’t completely get ruined, we suffered minor damages; unlike the city of New Orleans that was nearly destroyed by flooding and wind damages. We are blessed to continue to live in our same home today. I have never witnessed such a tragedy. I’ve never realized how simple things such as brushing your teeth can turn into something so complicated.
People don’t know what they have until it’s gone. I didn’t realize how important cable, my computer, and my cell phone were to me until it was all taken away for a few days. Hurricane Katrina has taught me valuable lessons: Appreciate everything you have including the little things, love the people in your life, and don’t take life for granted. This was definitely a tragic time for my family and I. I can only imagine the feelings that the other families of New Orleans had to endure once coming back to nothing. Hurricane Katrina has destroyed many families as well brought many families closer together.