Part 1-The Exodus.
* the link to Nash Roberts is now working*
We left at the 11th hour. My husband and I had every intention of riding this one out, just like every other storm. Never in my life had I evacuated before. We did our outside hurricane preparedness stuff…made sure everything was secure, cut off any tree limbs around the house, taped the windows, etc. We kept watching the news… she still didn’t know which way she wanted to go…it was looking like Florida would be graced with her presence at the time. Then, it seemed like all of a sudden, she was heading here.
Still, we planned to ride it out…that’s what hurricane babies do…we “ride it out.”
I kept having this eerie feeling inside of me though that, I just couldn’t shake. Never had this one before..something just kept gnawing at me saying,
*get out and anything you want to keep bring it upstairs*
Crazy voices in my head just kept repeating that…get out and bring the stuff upstairs.
I didn’t pay it any mind at the time because, I told my husband “three things have to occur for me to really know to get out of dodge;
1)They have to open up The Dome as a shelter of last resort.
2. The Mayor has to do a MANDATORY evacuation.
3)They have to pull Nash Roberts from the mothballs.
You probably have to be from here to really understand the significance of those three things…especially number 3.
To sum it up quickly, Nash Roberts was a meteorologist for Channel 4 way back in the day. This man could (with pin-point accuracy), tell you where a hurricane was heading. He’d take his black marker and draw cute little hurricanes tracking the storm…he was rarely, if ever, incorrect.
I like to say…before there was Super Doppler and all that other stuff…there was NASH.
Well, I kept watching the telly and….they opened The Dome. A little while after that, the mayor issued a mandatory evacuation.
Still, no Nash.
I’m still hearing this voice inside of me telling me to get out and bring stuff upstairs.
I called my brother, The Oracle who lives out-of-state, and tell him, I think we may have to leave..and that they’ve issued a mandatory evacuation. I also mentioned that, I’m surprised with something that’s supposed to be this serious, they didn’t pull Nash out.
He tells me, he’d just heard that Nash’s neighbors saw him evacuating with his wife…and that most of the neighborhood left after the word got out that Nash was leaving the city.
Nash had never evacuated before, and neither had I.
Ok, God…I hear ya now…pack my things and anything I wanna keep bring it upstairs.
I tell NavySeal what my brother told me and we both agree it’s time to go. The three stars have lined up with the message whirling around in my head.
I tell my father, “dad, we’re gonna leave for this one…I’d rather be safe than sorry. It’ll probably do just like all the others but, we gonna head out… ya coming?”
My father says…he’s gonna stay. I remember him telling me in a joking manner that, he’ll “go down with the ship.” Our house didn’t receive any water for Betsy or Camille…he wasn’t leaving.
Sunday morning, August 28th, we had about 2 hours to pack and leave before we literally end up trapped in the city. If you aren’t out at a certain time, they start clearing off interstate and you gonna turn back.
I take every photo of my mom,put them in a shoebox and put it at the highest point in the closet upstairs. We brought some other things upstairs but, we really didn’t have much time to pack and we thought we’d be back in three days anyway.
Sassy, our beloved Cocker Spaniel, was getting anxious as we were packing. I didn’t want my dad to be totally alone though. We left her with him so he’d have some company. She had plenty food, we had three tubs filled with water, my dad was stocked up on hurricane supplies such as… food,water, batteries,radio and a gun…just in case.
The house was secure. Our three days worth of clothes were in the car along with our food and water to keep us at bay on our road trip. Game Boys, movies and dvd players to keep the kids entertained.
And plenty of water. My car had a leak in the radiator at the time and we didn’t know how far she’d go without running hot. My guess was that, we’d be pulling over every second and we’d be lucky to make it to Baton Rouge.
We also took our laptop computer…which would later prove itself to be…our lifeline regarding all things Katrina.
My kids and I gave my father a kiss and told him we’d see him in about 3 days. My husband gave my dad a hug, shook his hand and told him to be careful.
The neighborhood was quiet. Most of my neighbors had already left and those that were staying were already hunkered down.
NavySeal got into his truck with PurpleKnight, I got into my car with YellowJacket.
He took the lead and I followed.
Sunday, August 28, 2005 @11:30a.m….we left our home in Pontchartrain Park.
New Orleans, Louisiana.