The entire country was glued to the news when Katrina hit New Orleans seven years ago. I credit the storm with a dear friendship I made that year, when my friend Laura, a previous resident of the city, evacuated during the storm and moved to Atlanta after her home was destroyed.
Last night, as Issac blew through the city on the anniversary date of Katrina, I thought about the devastation it caused in one of my favorite U.S. cities, and prayed Issac wouldn't wreak havoc on a town still in recovery.
Before falling asleep last night, I received another text message from a New Orleans friend, who was worried about her parents. They live near the parish where the only levee broke last night.
"I'm freaking out," she said.
I reassured her that Issac is not Katrina, and New Orleans is better prepared this time around should another storm hit the city. I'm sure she didn't get much sleep.
I don't remember much about the exact day Katrina hit land seven years ago, but I have many vivid memories of spending a week in New Orleans following the storm, helping build homes in the ninth ward with Habitat for Humanity. I don't think I'll ever forget walking down the abandoned streets of homes with spray paint on the front marking those rescued and those found dead in the home.
And I'll never forget walking through one of the homes in the ninth ward, staring at the waterline on the wall far above my head, and looking at all of the furniture, broken pictures on the wall and food hanging out of the freezer that was left untouched by the family who evacuated the home. They never returned for their belongings. And seven years later, there are still homes in New Orleans filled with the moldy memories of families who once lived there.
Let's hope Issac is a short time visitor to a city still burdened by Katrina.
*What's your most vivid memory of a hurricane? Meet me at Hastings Hard Back Cafe this morning and tell me your story.
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