I was born and raised in New Orleans. To me, being under 21 and not a big fan of Mardi Gras, it was a pretty average city. I hadn’t ever traveled out of state, but I was really concerned with that – I just wanted to raise enough money from my job at Taco Bell to move out of my grandmother’s house. I lived with her after my mother passed away from a drug overdose and my sister moved to Colorado. I never knew my father.
I had just saved around two grand and I was hoping to sell my car, get a plane ticket and move somewhere less humid. I didn’t even need the plane ticket, it would turn out, because that was the year that Hurricane Katrina would roll into town.
At first, it just seemed like another hurricane. Our tradition was to turn off all the lights, spark up some candles and play card games until the storm passed. I was sent home early from work and this time, we had a few of my cousins over, so we began playing poker.
We had the radio on, in case there was any news and they we started hearing reports of several houses that were flooding. Before we knew it, the whole city was underwater.
Our own house started to flood. Panicked, we went upstairs to the attic and waited, all of us, huddled together. After 15 hours of miserable sleep and waiting, we heard a boat outside. I used a sledgehammer to burst through the roof and we were able to climb out to safety. The water was up to the top of the house and it was terrifying, especially to my cousins.
We hadn’t eaten in a long time, so that’s what I would have done differently – stored some canned foods and perhaps even a camping stove in the attic. We were starving and who knows what would have happened if I didn’t have that hammer lying around… We could have been trapped for days.
Now, I keep steady supply of ammunition, knives and all kinds of other survival equipment in different areas of the house. It helps that I was moved by FEMA to Phoenix, Arizona where hurricanes are not ever going to hit. But it also helps to be prepared for anything.
Jimmy Kane is a writer from Phoenix, Arizona that likes to cultivate his own clandestine mycology labs and enjoys San Pedro cactus. He maintains the website Time Warner Austin.