Monday, August 29, 2005

My 20 hour Hurricane Katrina evacuation that should have only taken 5 or 6 hours

My 20 hour Hurricane Katrina evacuation that should have only taken 5 - 6 hours

I just wanted to tell you about my 20 hour hell! It took 20 hours to drive a distance that should have taken about 5 -6 hours. I ended up evacuating New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina after all! I packed up some snack food that I could eat on the road and an ice chest with some ice that I had to get from my own freezer because I knew there would be no stopping at a gas station for a long time. Good thing I did, because all the stations were either closed for the hurricane or they were packed full of people and the lines were out of the door or they were sold out of everything! It was so nice to reach in the back seat and pull out an ice cold drink!!! I packed all 3 of my dogs in the back of the suv with the doggie gate to keep them in the back (glad I had that gate). The backs seat was packed with 2 blankets, 2 pillows, an ice chest, my back pack of goodies, and 2 bags filled with as much of our clothes as we could fit. What I did forget to pack was dog food so my dogs had meals of snack food too. When we were about to get on the interstate this woman got so mad at us for pulling in front of her that she got onto the shoulder of the road and tried to drive into our car door to get back in front of us. She even rolled down the window and yelled ugly things at us and put out her middle finger! I don't know why she was having such road rage because we had LOTS of time to get out of town!!! We just looked at her like she was weird! Any way! When we finally got on to I10 we ended up in front of her because our lane was moving and hers was not so I quickly crawled over Danny who was driving, rolled down his window, put my head out and smiled really big and waved bye to her and she in turn shot me the bird with every bit of mean energy should could muster! It was so funny! I wish you could have seen her face! Oh, back to the hurricane, traffic was NUTS!!!!!! We were at a dead stop for a while and when we were moving it wasn't but 5 mph if that! The cars were pretty much just stopped. One of our friends from the gym happened to be in front of us and he didn't have time to pack any food or anything for the road. Because traffic was just stopped he was able to just get out of his truck and come to our window and talk to us. I gave him a diet 7up, a pack of gram crackers, and some chips. Other people were getting out of their cars as well. Some had their doors open, others got out on the interstate just to be able to stand up. Traffic was moving so slowly that people who were tired of sitting were walking along side of their cars while someone else was driving! I don't think that was all that safe though! The reason I say that is because every once in a while someone would get sick of waiting and would just take off down the shoulder of the road to cut in front of other cars. Most of them got pulled over by cops though. Both lanes of traffic were moving in one direction to be able to get more cars out of the city. I couldn't even imagine what it would have been like trying to get out with out opening both sides of the interstate to evacuate. When we finally got far enough so that we could find a gas station that was open it was packed full of people. The lines to the restrooms were out of the doors and so were the lines at the registers. To get out of New Orleans we had to go way out of our way because so many of the highways and interstates were being redirected or closed. We went north out of Louisiana into Mississippi then went west and through the top of North Louisiana and into Texas. We didn't have time to book a hotel room so we had NO idea where we were going! All the hotels were booked up and even if I would have called around to book a hotel before I left they would have already been booked up any way! When we got to Lindale Texas which is some place near Dallas Texas we still couldn't find a hotel. One of our friends happened to call us on our cell phone and offered to let us and our dogs stay in his room so we took him up on the offer and split the cost of the room with him. The only thing was that we had been driving about 20 hours straigt and had not slept for about 36 hours, our eyes were starting to cross and his hotel was in Houston Texas which was 4 -5 hours away!! We kept stopping at gas stations along the way to wake ourselves up, walk the dogs, etc.. We were so tired when we finally made it! We were in the parking lot of the hotel when looking for the paper we wrote the hotel info on so we would know what room our friend was in but it turns out the paper got trashed when we cleaned the car out! OMG! No big deal right! I have his cell phone number in my phone so I can just call him right! NOPE! Kept getting a message that the call could not go through due to the hurricane in our area and then a loud beeping sound! I had to call the hotel and ask them if they could connect me to his room even though we didn't know his last name! How fun was that!! I sounded like such a blonde but the guy working knew exactly who I was talking about and connected me to his room. Now we have 3 people staying in 1 hotel room with 4 dogs. He has a sweet greyhound and I have a pug, lhasa, and a lab. I hope my 2 cats are ok because I left them in the house with LOTS of big buckets of food and water on the counter. I'm watching the news on t.v. and they are showing pictures and video footage of New Orleans flooded! I called the hospital near my house and they said the whole area where I live is flooded! I hope my cats jumped up high and are ok. On the news were saying that we can't go back for at least a week but, now they are saying on the news that it may be longer and that it could take as long as 6 months just to pump the water out of the French Quarter! If my house is flooded I guess I won't have anything to move when I do move! Other than that we are all safe so I guess that's what matters most!

Here are some pictures of New Orleans after the hurricane:
St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans flooded

This is I10-can't even see the interstate!

Brick building blown down-I think it was an apt. building but I could be wrong.

Picture of someones car flooded

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