September 17, 2005

Katrina Hodgepodgery

Snapshots In My Time...
Of My Time.....Hauntings.

Recently I had the opportunity to work with some of the Katrina evacuees on their claims with my work. While I was lucky enough not to be sent to a really affected area, the people who I dealt with had been flown or bussed out of NOLA or Mississippi. All had a story to tell me as I processed their claims. It was a hodgepodge of raw emotion. I won't be the same. These are the snapshots of stories that I remember most vividly.

Screwdriver Delivery

A woman came in and waited for about 30 minutes to be seen. We had about 100 evacuees come into the office on the day she came in. Her story was one of a need for medical care. She was pregnant when the storm hit and due any day. In the process of evacuating she went into labor and had no choice but to have her child on the side of the road. On Interstate 10 she was stuck, pregnant , no doctor, no way to get to a doctor and no epidurals. After several hours of labor she had a baby boy. A screw driver was the only tool used to help her deliver the baby. It was used to sever the umbilical cord.

We're Not Going Back!

A woman and her granddaughter came in and said they were not going back to NOLA. The evacuation process was just too much! There were 4 of them who evacuated out of Nola: The daughter who was with me, her daughter who was not there, her elderly mother who was in the hospital and the granddaugter who was there with her when she came to see me.

The daughter said that her elderly mother was in her 60's and in ill health. When they got the order for madatory evacuation 2 days before landfall, they arranged with the city officials to move the mother to the special med center at the superdome. The city apparently had something set up so that the sick and elderly could go there due to their medical conditions. Transportation was to be provided by bus. It was all arranged. Mom and daughter was to go to the superdome by bus. They had tranporrtation to leave but mom was too ill to travel a long journey, so the decision was made just to go to the superdome.

Guess what? The bus never came for them. The nightmare begins there. They called and called the city numbers to pick them up as the storm got closer, but noone ever came. Katrina came. The daughter called the granddaughter and they loaded up in the suv and the 4 of them were able to get to Charity hospital. There they stayed until they evacuated from Charity hospital. The daughter said that her mother was on the 8th floor and when the 18 wheelers finally came to evacuate them, it took 12 men to get her mother out. She said her mother is a large woman and in order to get her mother out, they had to strap her to a backboard and 12 men had to walk her down 8 flights of stairs to get her out.

They evacuated to the airport and then the airport became thetemporary hospital. Soon after that they were evacuated by military planes to the new city they were in now. It took a day to get free of the military plane but by that time her mother's health was going really down. She has been in the hospital ever since. Doing better, but still very ill. Because the daughter is now responsible for her mother, she said it is just too much to go back. Suppose they did and another storm came next summer? They would have to do it all again, so they have decided not to go back.

We Left Our 14 Year Old Son

A man sat down at my desk and he looked very tired. He was missing the tip of his middle finger on his right hand. He said that he had left his 14 year old son in the house and was concerned that he could not get back to check on him. I was alarmed. He must have seen the look on my face and wide eyes and then he said that his son had died when he was 14 and his ashes were left in the house. He said that he was killed in a motorcycle accident at 14. Now that I looked at the man, he was kind of knarly and weathered. He could be a biker dad. He had that sort of hard edge. Rough blond hair pulled back.

He said that he and his wife only expected to be gone for 2 days and come back home. They did not expect all of this. He began to tear up and almost cry as he told me the mantle was about 5 feet or so high but the water was 8 feet or more. His only want was to go back and find his son. He said that if he thought that this was going to happen he never would have left him in the house.

I held his hand and gave him his benefits and wished him luck with finding his son. He said that he heard that water was up to the roof tops in his area and that a lot of homes had washed away. He said he had a heavy heart because he feared his son had washed away too.

I wished him the best and composed myself before the next evacuee came to see me.


  1. Thank you for such a touching post. I haven't quite swallowed the lump in my throat yet.

    What can I say? It's awful to see such suffering. Just awful.

  2. thanks for stopping by karen. i did visit your site. impressive!