Monday, August 28, 2006
This is a picture of the house directly next to the place I stayed during Katrina.
My friend Denise and I were going to stay at Ben’s house. He has a huge Victorian Mansion on Prytania Street. As we were letting ourselves into his house we ran into a group of our friends who said that we should come and stay in the condo above them.
Safety in numbers is always a good thing when you look around and realize that the 6 of you are the only people on a normally busy street.
The weather forecast had the storm hitting the New Orleans area Sunday morning at 8 or 9:00am, so Denise and I decided to go upstairs to the Condo for the night, planning to meet up with our group for the storm in the morning. Around 2am the lights cut out. I had a radio, and flash light which both worked when I tested them 3 hours previous to the pitch black and heat. They were now all completely dead. I have to say that during the next 12 hours of constant howling wind I felt like I might die too.
Around 5am – hard to tell because I could not see anything, there was a huge explosion. I thought well, this is it. We are going to die. It must have been a tornado hitting the house next to us. Our only exit from the building was a 3 tier fire escape at the back of the condo as the front of the house was boarded up. With winds blowing sustained at 80 mph with gust up to 125 this did not seem like a very feasible escape route.
Finally around 10 am the winds were letting up. Denise and I picked up all the potted window plants that had fallen on the ground due to the swaying of the building. We put out 7 buckets to catch the leaking rain where the roof had obviously been compromised.
Though rather shaken by the experience we were happy because we thought we had “dodged the bullet”. Everything was going to be fine. Little did we know that the “Katrina Experience” was only beginning.