Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hurricane Katrina...Set to Strike a Place Familiar to Me

Hurricane Katrina is set to hit New Orleans head-on...

And it pained me to watch CNN today and see all those New Orleans residents driving on I-10, creeping out of the city at a snail's pace. Usually, I look at hurricane activity and think to myself as long as it doesn't come up and swirl over Atlanta, then whatever...

But I don't feel like that about New Orleans. Why? Because I lived and worked there for 2 and 1/2 years, from 1998-2001, after I finished graduate school. And what's weird is that New Orleans was under a hurricaine watch both right before I moved there and the day that I packed my Ryder Truck and left to move back to Atlanta.

New Orleans is like a big soup bowl, with it being up to six feet below sea level and all. It is also surrounded by three bodies of water: Lake Ponchartrain, the Mississippi river, and the Gulf of Mexico (further south). I remember when it rained, flooding would always occur somewhere in the city. I lived in New Orleans East, in Orleans Parish, and I never experienced flooding problems, but I remember there being flooding problems as close as a block away from my apartment complex. I worked and lived only minutes from Lake Ponchartrain, and I would sometimes have to alter my driving routes because of flooded streets. Flooding in Uptown New Orleans is a big problem. I know a couple of people who lost their cars in bad floods. Also sections of I-10 would flood badly when it rained.

The city is dotted with lots of canals, and when it rained, a couple of the canals in my complex would fill up to the brink of overflowing, which use to completely freak me out. And since New Orleans is below sea level, pumps are needed to pump water out of the city. Sometimes these pumps broke down.

So imagine, that was just harsh rain causing all these problems. A direct hurricane hit would total the place out. CNN reported that even the pumps would be under water. It would be complete devastation.

So my heart goes out to New Orleans, my old dwelling place. I have a few friends down there, a couple of whom I talk to on a regular basis. Gigi and Alex, two of my book critiquers and themselves New Orleans residents, I hope you all get out safely. Please know that I'm praying for you and your city. And call me when you can and let me know you're okay.



  1. Anonymous2:18:00 PM


    we're bent over grabbing our ankles because this one 's going to hit us in the ass.

    Guess who from BR

  2. Hey Original Oldgirl! I was gonna call to check on you early in the morning (Monday). Baton Rouge is about 90 miles from N.O., but Katrina is suppose to take a turn east! Looks like ya'll are still gonna get a whole lot of rain, etc., though. (We in ATL are getting a little bit of the wind already!) But still, I suggest you let go of your ankles and board up some windows or something. At any rate, be safe!! (And expect a call from me)



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