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Katrina's Devastation Felt by All... (1 Viewer)

StephenP2003

Senior Member
This isn't really "entertaining," but I was sorting through old articles, and this was one of the first pieces of writing I did for Tiger Weekly last year.

I remember sitting in the dark with my laptop during the Monday morning Katrina onslaught, listening to the radio, talking on the phone, and writing this article with about 3 hours of battery life remaining.

Katrina's Devastation felt by all


Before

Saturday, Aug. 27, Miami residents recovering from Hurricane Katrina waited in lines for hours for their basic needs such as food, water, and ice. Katrina’s maximum sustained winds increased to 80 mph before the Category 1 storm made landfall Thursday, August 25 along the Miami-Dade and Broward county line between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach, killing two people shortly after landfall. A man in Fort Lauderdale was crushed by a falling tree as he sat alone in his car, while a pedestrian was killed by another falling tree in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Plantation.

Katrina was the sixth hurricane to hit Florida in just over a year, flooding hundreds of southern Florida’s streets.

Then, Katrina’s projected path shifted farther west on Saturday, Aug. 27 and it became apparent that residents of New Orleans would have to prepare for the worst. Mandatory evacuations, frantic trips to the gas pump, and stocking up on water were in order.

This was the hurricane that New Orleans residents feared would take their city from them.

"Thankfully everybody I care about went somewhere," said Chris Fontana, local comedian from New Orleans. "As much as it killed me to leave, it was the smart thing to do."

Saturday afternoon, LSU and SELU announced its Monday closure, and the stores in Baton Rouge began to feel the pressure from those that decided to prepare early.

During

Sunday, Aug. 28 was preparation time. That afternoon, extremely dangerous category 5 Katrina, with 175 mile per hour winds, turned and was moving northwest at 13 mph with a turn to the north expected later in the night.

"I’m worried about the people that couldn’t get out [of New Orleans] and also my kitties. I hope we get through this as best we can," said Megan Amedee, Pre-nursing senior from Metairie (cats’ names are Maya and Boots).

LSU then announced that school would be closed on Tuesday, Aug. 30 and SELU announced closure until further notice.

Sunday afternoon, Katrina reached a record low pressure of 902 mb. This hurricane was projected to be catastrophic for New Orleans, flooding the entire city. Contra-flow was established from New Orleans, giving residents six lanes for evacuation. However, evacuees still spent hours on the roads.

"It took me six hours to get back to Baton Rouge,” said Traci Serio, LSU junior and New Orleans native. “I left [New Orleans] at 9 a.m. and got to Baton Rouge at 3 p.m."

And after hours on the road, many arrived in Baton Rouge to face the reality that hotels were already booked.

"Thank god I have a daughter in Baton Rouge that has an apartment," said Donna Prinz from Kenner, mother of Robynn Prinz, Fashion Merchandising senior.

“I come into Baton Rouge [when there is an evacuation] because my parents live here so I have a place to go,” said Brennan Mackey, New Orleans native. “It’s hard for people to leave when they don’t have anywhere to go."

Like a lot of past hurricanes, this one snuck up on many. Some Baton Rouge residents didn’t hear about the approaching storm until as late as Saturday afternoon, which created a lot of confusion and uproar in supermarkets and gas stations. By Sunday morning, Baton Rouge businesses reported record numbers for sales.

"I was listening to WWR on the radio and they were interviewing a lady at Wal-Mart,” said Ski Betanski, recent LSU alumni. “She was saying the lines were long and they were out of bread and fruit but she remained upbeat and said how they still had batteries and vegetables. Then the guy [on the radio] asks if there were any fights over canned goods or any price-gouging. They [the media] are just freaking people out and creating hysteria. It’s ridiculous. People in the news gotta keep talking about something."

While many Baton Rouge residents were storming the grocery stores for water, ice, and canned food, residents like Bentanski were there to buy chips, dip, and beer, as well as open their home to those without one.

"Since we’re having a party here tomorrow [Monday], a couple of people are staying here. We’re opening our house up to as many people as possible. We’ve got a teacher from New Orleans and a girl from Unis," said Bentanski.
With class being cancelled on Monday, hurricane parties began popping up all over Baton Rouge.

"We had a hurricane party at my house,” said Andrea Blaize, a junior at LSU. “It was fun until the electricity went off and scared everybody. Then it came back on and the party was on until the beer ran out!"

Although people feel that irresponsible college students only hold a hurricane party, Betanski said that hurricane parties have been given a bad rap.

"Lots of people don’t really understand what a hurricane party is about. All they think of is drinking, which isn’t all of it. [During a hurricane], everyone knows the electricity is going to go off so everything in the fridge will spoil. You get everyone together and they bring all their food and you have a big feast before the food goes bad... and you just happen to drink hurricanes."

Hurricane Ivan, the strong category 3 storm that was supposed to damage much of New Orleans, barely touched Baton Rouge. With memory of so many missed storms, not all were ready to take Katrina seriously.

"The only thing I’m really worried about here is the wind knocking down trees,” said Betanski. “We have a lot of trees around the house and we’ve already had a big limb fall. So I’m just worried about personal damage to the house."

Worried or not, Sunday night the streets of Baton Rouge were quiet. While some were partying, others were settled down for a night of The Weather Channel. Those that evacuated truly began to fear for their cities, homes, and personal possessions.

"I’m worried that there’s not going to be anything to go back to," Gretchen Loeber, Business junior from Kenner.

At 7:30 p.m., the hurricane’s projected path was updated to reflect a more eastbound path. Between 10:30 p.m. and 12 a.m., additional path updates showed Katrina going slightly more east. Katrina officially made landfall at 6:10 a.m. High winds and rain became much stronger. By 7:30 a.m., the few that still had power lost it.

By midmorning Monday, the worst had passed New Orleans. The superdome, which was shelter for tens of thousands residents and stranded vacationers during the hurricane, lost power around 5 a.m. and later lost a few fifteen-foot sections of the roof.

The city itself sustained heaving flooding, fires, and three nursing home patients died while being transported to Baton Rouge for safety. State Sen. Walter Boasso told the state emergency operations center that a person in St. Bernard Parish reported that he was looking out of a window and saw a body float by. While unconfirmed, this news made its way to the public, which in turn prompted panic among the evacuees that left friends, family, and neighbors behind.

Around 10:45, FEMA announced that federal disaster aid had been granted to Louisiana to help recover from the damages and losses caused by Katrina. Similar to the relief effort of the Tsunami, they asked those that wish to make donations please do so with cash only.

(at this point, my editor's power came back on, so I finished the story at her house throughout the day.)

Monday afternoon, Baton Rouge continued to experience moderate wind and rain, peaking in power at around 11 a.m. Street signs, fences, and trees were damaged, but that wasn’t enough to prevent residents from standing outside their homes to film and take pictures of the storm in action.

However, those who stayed in New Orleans were not as lucky. Search and rescue teams began scouting for stranded survivors. While a few were picked up, the rescue team would have to wait until Tuesday to continue the search.

After

By early Monday afternoon Katrina made her way out of Louisiana. Even after a downgraded to a category 2 hurricane, and then to a tropical depression, Katrina caused major flooding, structural damage to buildings, and loss of life.
LSU announced at 7 p.m. that classes would be closed on Wednesday due to the fact that many Baton Rouge residents were projected to still be out of power. Also, many students will be housing family members and friends from evacuated areas for an extended period of time.

It was announced Monday that flights from the Baton Rouge Metro Airport would reopen on Tuesday, which was great news for the many New Orleans vacationers that became stranded in Baton Rouge due to the evacuation.
Tuesday morning in Baton Rouge, many businesses remained closed, and most nonessential state workers were given the day off. There was not a cloud in the sky, and the streets of the city became lined with people cleaning debris from their yards.

Although many were relaxing their nerves with a day off from work, hospitals in Baton Rouge truly began to feel the pressure of accommodating and treating the needs of not only those from Baton Rouge and surrounding areas that were injured during the storm, but also from those patients that were evacuated from New Orleans and surrounding areas.

“Summit Hospital is at full capacity, but we are not turning away any patients,” said Leigh Wagner, Speech Language Pathologist at Summit Hospital. “We are understaffed, and many of the workers have out of town family with no place to go.”

As of Tuesday morning, additional services became established.

“The PMAC is being turned into a triage center,” said Wagner. “Other services will most likely open, too.”

Arial footage of the devastation in New Orleans induced even more worry for those that evacuated.

"I’m prepared to go home to nothing,” said Sudi Sutter, LSU junior and New Orleans native. “I’m ready to not have anything there. I’m thankful that my family left, but I’m sad that our material belongings may be gone."

Evacuees also began making plans for what they would do if their homes had been destroyed.

“My company’s main office is in Baton Rouge so I will probably start looking for an apartment up here and go back to work as soon as possible,” said Paul Danos, LSU Alumni and New Orleans native.

But the loss of material possessions and worry over what to do now was increasingly lighted as the number of deaths caused by the storms continues to increase. While the number from New Orleans is still being estimated, a number has been placed at 80 deaths in Gulf Port, Mississippi.

"The devastation down there is just enormous," said Gov. Haley Barbour Tuesday morning on NBC’s "Today” show.

Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as being the fourth largest and most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic. The effects could be felt for months, even years to come. From a states economy, to rising gas prices, to the lasting scars the damage will have on those who lost everything to mother nature.

-------------

Kudos if you actually read all of that. I still can't believe I wrote that. The writing is certainly nothing to brag about, simply the conditions under which I wrote it.

Bittersweet memories I guess. It was the start of me finding writing again (it was the semester in which I finally figured out what I want to do and changed my major to writing), but it was also a time when I was awake at various hours of the night, listening to my family in the kitchen, hoping they had word that my grandmother was safe. (she's fine, by the way)
 

CZ

Senior Member
Nice to see a point of view from in the middle of it, so to speak. A whole bunch of my family went to LSU.

And you're right - the effects are still being felt. We had a reporter travel down to NO for spring break to do a multimedia piece on it. ( http://xpress.sfsu.edu/specials/2006s/nola/narrative01/ )

Still, it's really interesting to hear opinions from folks who live there. My relatives who live in the BR area sure had a lot to say.
 

humour-me

Member
Felt by all....Except bush.

His wife said and I quote, "They are better off now than they ever have been."

She said this due to all the people helping out & they all had a 'good' place to say.

I think she meant this towards the poorer parts of the state.

lets kill her. :)
 

CZ

Senior Member
humour-me said:
Felt by all....Except bush.

His wife said and I quote, "They are better off now than they ever have been."

She said this due to all the people helping out & they all had a 'good' place to say.

I think she meant this towards the poorer parts of the state.

lets kill her. :)

Respectfully, since this is a nonfiction forum, you should be careful of two things:

1) Getting the actual quote correct
2) Attributing the correct person

You did neither.

source: http://urbanlegends.about.com/b/a/200931.htm

I agree with your general sentiment, however. The hurricane was handled terribly and there was a definite attitude (from a rather large handful of people, not just Barbara Bush) of "let them eat cake." It's incredibly infuriating.
 
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