Memories of Katrina, part one

The apartment we picked out was in Metairie, less than a 20-minute drive from New Orleans, where I had a part-time job at a coffee shop in a hospital and the seminary where Kyle and I planned to attend. We were on the second floor of a three-story building. Our neighbor right above us carried a gun tucked into his pants and walked a Chihuahua, which is just about as New Orleans as you can get. 

We started moving our few things in August, which turned out to be a theme in our married life – always move in the summer, the worst time to move in Louisiana. 

We were slated to get married the first weekend in September, and we were basically expecting to live on hopes and dreams. We both had part-time jobs, full-time bills, but we were very much in love. 

New Orleans has always had a special place in my heart. I love that city, despite the crime, despite the homelessness, despite everything negative. I love the culture, the architecture, the zoo (I am a kid at heart), the food, our family down there – I just always have loved it. And Kyle and I were so excited to start our lives together in a new city. 

However, Ruston wasn’t finished with us yet. 

In a conversation that we have shaken our heads at now, Kyle and I were driving on the causeway when Malcolm Butler (yes, THAT Malcolm Butler who is on the Journal with us) called and offered Kyle a job with Tech athletics. A full-time job with benefits. 

“Man, I would,” Kyle told him, “but I just signed a six-month agreement on an apartment, and it would take an act of God to get us out of it.” 

Turns out an act of God was coming. 

You see, we moved August 2005 – 29 days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall. 

The week before Katrina hit, I remember watching the news and keeping an eye on Katrina. No one was worried. No one was preparing or even talking much about Katrina. I served up lattes and mochas and no one talked about evacuation or stocking up on supplies or boarding up windows. Granted, I worked in a coffee shop in a hospital, too, so people had other worries to deal with. 

We headed back up north on the Friday before Katrina hit on the following Monday. We took just small suitcases, as we were preparing to return on Sunday evening. 

By Saturday morning, though, we quickly realized we weren’t going back to New Orleans anytime soon. 

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