I went on a mini-vacation to Myrtle Beach last week. I arrived on Wednesday with plans of checking out on Saturday morning. On Friday, though, there was talk all over the media about Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hanna hitting Myrtle Beach late Friday evening. Why does Hanna have to ruin my party? There was a note on my villa door on Friday morning stating that the governor had issued a voluntary evacuation for the area. Voluntary + evacuation – aren’t those two words an oxymoron? Being that I get nervous at seeing just five drops of water fall from the sky, it was a no-brainer for me. My friend and I headed to Florence, SC for the night and came back to the beach the next day.
While there, I thought about the people in New Orleans and their evacuations. Mine was a simple overnight trip. All I had to do was pack my travel suitcase and drive down the road for an hour. There’s was much more extreme. What would we do if we were forced to evacuate from Louisville? Would you wait around a bit or leave immediately? Where would you go? What personal items would you take with you? What phone calls would need to be made? How would you feel if you came home to nothing?
These are the thoughts the residents down south had to face with Hurricane Katrina and Gustav. It could not have been an easy decision. I talked to my uncle that lives down there. He was rescued by helicopter during Katrina. I assumed it would have been a simple decision for him to leave for Gustav. He said no. He waited until the last minute to leave. But why? His simple reply – “That’s my home. New Orleans is all I know”.
I said a special prayer for the residents of New Orleans because nobody can truly know what they have been through. Many have young children and/or elder parents which makes the transition even more difficult. Aside from the easy to see physical damage, the emotional stress has taken it’s toll on many of them. They talk about the Katrina kids having horrible fits through the day or nightmares at night. Many adults are still trying to get back on their feet. The thought of walking away from the only place you know, knowing that you have nowhere to go and possibly expect to come back to absolutely nothing is not something that anyone should have to experience in their lifetime. I pray that they will one day again have a place to call home.
M.Y. September 2008