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The reason why I wrote this story is different from the reason why I'm sharing it with you.

First and foremost, I am a writer. I often think that without taking the time to write things down I would lose the ability to make any sense of this world. Not that I always succeed, but it helps.

There is a scene in the movie “Twister” where Joe (Helen Hunt) and Bill (Bill Paxton) lose their truck and hide from a tornado under a bridge. When asked what it was like, Joe said, “It was windy.”

Until I sorted through my own thoughts (because I didn't know where to begin), when people asked what it was like I'd say something like, “It was wet and windy. Mostly wet.”

I couldn't process more than that, there were no words coming to me that could even begin to describe what we went through and saw. All I had was a little notebook full of frantic notes.

I'd like to show you the following (original) video that was taken FIVE HOURS AFTER Katrina came to New Orleans. The wind was still very strong, it was still raining heavily, and it was difficult to film anything to the left... but I did catch a tree struggling against the wind, and a woman determined to walk her dog.
That's life in the Big Easy.

I had days when I would just cry and scream, unable to tell anyone why... until I wrote it down.

I also needed to mourn. Things happened so quickly after the initial storm. When you're in survival mode, your brain turns into a different animal and you shut off the grieving process until you either escape the situation, or break down completely. There were so many moments to mourn. I needed to go back and relive them, feel them, and let my heart tear in two as if those events had happened in my normal life. I needed to understand the fear and what it can do to a person. I needed to rid myself of the sheer desperation that I brought home with me.

Friends suggested that I see a professional, to let someone help me work through it. I doubted anyone could ever understand what happened, and I doubted my ability to accurately describe anything in person. I turned to writing and self-council. If that was all I needed, I would have kept a diary and locked it in my bedside drawer. But I had to share it with you. I needed you to know.

When we arrived home, I wanted to get in my car and drive right back to help the people still in New Orleans. I wanted people to know how bad it was and to HELP THEM. The news didn't show the truth, they didn't see what was really happening, and people needed to know. I was interviewed on the local radio station and said just that, and I'm not sure if anyone really understood.

It's been a few years and I still need you to know. New Orleans still needs help. This is the only way I know how to help them. I can share my story and send back donations to help the people still living in New Orleans. I can give them an extra voice, I can tell people what it was like during the catastrophe, and the events that lead up to the time when people were allowed back to find out that they too, lost their homes.

You've heard the crying, but you didn't hear the scream.

I ask you to understand what happened, so that you can take away a small part of their pain by carrying it with you.

To those that already do, or have read the story, I wholeheartedly thank you.





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