TV on, we watched as the weather mercenaries chased Katrina. Someone from the weather channel was at a hospital or hotel on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, assuring us that he was safe from the wrath of the storm because he was inland far enough that the surge couldn’t reach him. Within just a few minutes he and the crew were moving as water flooded the first of floor of their location. The van was moved and the satellite was at risk. Water came up fast.
In Jackson, things were uneventful. We simply watched things unfold, happy to not be in New Orleans; at least not this once. In the morning the wind was blowing moderately, and it was raining lightly. As the day wore on, the wind picked up (as a non-expert, it is my guess that the windspeed was somewhere betwee 60 and 80 mph.), the rain got harder, and there were thunderstorms and lightning.
I remember sitting with my computer plugged in to make sure I had a full charge. Looking out the window while trying to do some work, I remember seeing leaves blowing by and larger branches snap off trees and hurry through the yard, We had a nice lunch, I think. Nothing fancy, but something hot. We watched the footage from New Orleans but there wasn't a lot as the news people had evacuated themselves. We saw as the hurricane took an unpredicted wobble to the east. We thought we had avoided the worst. Sure, things would be bad, but this wasn't the big one. It was big and scary, but not the one.
Suddenly, without any noise or warning, the power went out. My mom's friend brought a small two-inch TV and my uncle had just enough batteries for it. We all gathered in a tight circle around the black and white light in the darkness of the living room. Whatever channel we were watching had a helicopter shot of downtown. Things looked ok. Sure, the curtains were blowing out of the windows of the Hyatt Hotel and the Superdome's roof had been blown off, but everything was still standing!!! Sure water was rising, but we had hurricane rain. OF course there was some water on the roads. We had survived the storm. It had missed us again. Ha! New Orleans had survived another near hurricane. Clearly we were the chosen ones! In the meantime, the local station we were watching went back to coverage of the storm surge on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. That's okay, we thought. Y'all took it for the team. Thanks and sorry about that, but that's how things work out sometimes, we thought.
Cell phone reception was beyond spotty. The land line, however, was still working in the evening when my cousin called from Austin, TX. He and his mom talked for a while about how crazy things were and she said we were all ok. We probably weren't going to be without power for long, but the power was out now. How were he and the girls? When she hung up, I picked up the phone to call my wife. The line was dead. Soon after, the batteries on the TV gave out.
Outside, I was able to find enough reception to send my wife a few text messages and let her know I was ok. It was an excitement filled day. Things were bad, but we would get up in the morning, assess damages, help clean up and head back to Metairie. I am not sure how I heard it or when but I remember getting a text message that the levees had broken. In a panic, with nowhere to go, nothing to watch or listen to to find out more. It was probably just a rumor. It was time to go to bed, because a long day of clean-up was ahead.
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