I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be,
but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.
— Douglas Pagels

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 29, 2005 - The Life I Knew - Gone.

Quick "before" video of Beach Blvd, a couple miles from my house...

During Katrina at my Aunt's house...before it got really bad. Her house was damaged (that tree she was begging to not fall, did), but little did we know at the time that a couple miles south was completely and utterly devastated, including my home.

These videos are my initial reaction to the aftermath...shock...disbelief...couldn't say much more than "Oh my God" at the time.

I had to keep turning off the camera to dodge debris in the road. I also (not on video, mind you) got yelled at and threatened by a man who thought I was a "tourist". I yelled back at him that I lost everything too, and offered him something to drink.

Beautiful Washington Avenue in Pascagoula torn to shreds...you wouldn't believe the huge houses that used to adorn this road...all of them, gone.

My hometown was an unrecognizable war zone. Everyone homeless and living in their driveways. People standing among debris that used to be their homes, standing guard with shotguns, fighting, looting, dying of dehydration...it was a freaking nightmare. Something that you would see on TV. It didn't seem real, but it was our new life for a very long time.

There was no water. No power. No food. No gas. No phones. The National Guard, the Red Cross, and FEMA arrived 11 days later. Everyone was so sick and exhausted by then, we were just grateful to finally see them. The National Guard gave us MREs and water. The Red Cross drove down the streets of Pascagoula and handed out brown bag meals. They had great brownies.

I have nothing nice to say about FEMA, so I won't say anything at all.

I want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers from all over North America that came to our aid and selflessly served my often-forgotten city. Folks from Ontario Canada, West Linn Oregon, Mesa Arizona, rural-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania...all over. I received a blanket from a quilting guild in Indiana, and it was the only blanket I owned for over a year. Because of Amish, Mennonite, and Baptist groups around the country, my family has a roof and four walls again. I can never say thank you enough.


You gave us hope again.

I'm bawling my eyes out with appreciation four years later.

We will never forget what you've done for us.

Believe that.

God bless all who suffered because of this monster called Katrina. God bless all who gave in response to it. And God bless those who suffered AND gave, in spite of it.

The Mississippi coast is strong. The Mississippi coast will be revived. We are overcoming this storm one day at a time.

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