Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Katrina Horror Story

This afternoon I spoke with a woman living in Beaumont, Texas. The subject of Hurricane Rita which is currently spinning a path toward the Texas coast came up.

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Photo: Hurricane Rita - GOES-East Gulf of Mexico Infrared 09.22.05

After a brief exchange of concerns relating to the possible path of Hurricane Rita this resident of Beaumont, Texas confessed that the horror of Hurricane Katrina had very much made its way into her life.

She explained that she was becoming burdened with stories which Hurricane Katrina's survivors had shared with her in recent weeks. Beaumont, the woman explained, is a short drive up the coast from New Orleans, and many of those who sought refuge from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina are now staying in Beaumont.

She shared with me the story of one man's struggle to survive the hurricane, and to put his life back together since the devastation.

The young man resided in New Orleans with his roomate. Their home had weathed the high winds of Katrina, but became flooded, like most of the city, once the sea walls broke. He, and his roomate had scambled up to their attic taking only their persian cat with them.

Once in the attic, rising flood waters forced them to frantically chop a hole in the roof. They climbed out, and noticed they were completely surrounded by water. They stayed on the roof for three days, and nights without anything to eat, or drink.

On day four they decided that no one was coming to rescue them, and that they'd have to do something before sucumbing to the lack of food, and water.

The young man had parked his car down the street, which was on higher ground. They decided to swim to the higher ground.

They bundled their cat in a shirt, and began to swim towards the car. One of the young men was a stronger swimmer, and he took the cat with him. Tragically, the other man drowned in the attempt.

The surviving roomate swam back to rescue his friend, but it was too late. By the time he reached his friend he was already dead. He retrieved his drowned friend, and dragged his body to the truck.

He placed his friend in the back seat, and released the cat into the car. He then got behind the wheel, started the car, and somehow managed to drive out of New Orleans. He drove all the way to Beaumont with the body of his friend, and the cat in the car along for company.

Not having eaten, or having any water in four days he was in miserable shape when he reached Beaumont.

The young man is now dealing with post traumatic stress from his experience.

Let's hope, and pray that Hurricane Rita somehow putters out. It will be awful if it comes barrelling into areas where Huricane Katrina survivors are. I can only imagine what it would be like to have to seek refuge twice, to be uprooted a second time, from two hurricanes in less than a month.

One thing that Hurricanes Katrina, and Rita have made clear is that living in the Midwest may be boring, but it's also safer to live in a town like Springfield, Illinois than it is to live right along the gulf coast in these monster hurricane days in which we appear to be living in.


Dave said...

Well, Rita can't get much stronger; it's now the third most intense hurricane on record, according to National Hurricane Center.

It's frightening to think these hurricanes are going to become the norm. The entire Gulf coast would soon become uninhabitable.

Anonymous said...

My proposal?

Fill in areas below sea level. It's not a crazy idea, and it will work. But it takes money, and time - mostly it take will, and that's been lacking for a long time.

Next, it sounds weird, but it might solve most of the wind damage problem - round houses.

Yes, round houses. Down in Pennsacola a government experiment illustrated how sound the idea is. Every home on an island built conventionally was destroyed (last year), but several houses build by the program.

They weren't completely round, they just had rounded edges added to them. They were completely intact. Not even a broken window. The shape allows the wind to wrap around the huildings.

The rectangular homes were completely destroyed.

This seems so simple a child would understand, but it goes against the very notion of what we think a house should look like so it may take time before we see these houses slowly replace all the rubble from the continually destroyed rectangular shaped structures.


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