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.
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
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
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.