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Katrina's wrath: first hand account

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  • Jerry Lee
    One of our Holy Rule list readers sent me this, received from a friend of his. Some of you have experienced hurricanes, but I know that for some of our readers
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2005
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      One of our Holy Rule list readers sent me this, received from a friend of his. Some of you have experienced hurricanes, but I know that for some of our readers who have never been through a hurricane, it may be hard to imagine the destructive power. This first hand account brings much of the horrors these folks experienced into clear focus. Please pray for all afflicted there, and, if your means allow, donate to the relief effort. I have protected the person's privacy by removing all contact info.

      Thanks so much.
      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB

      Please pass this on to whomever you feel might be interested. God bless, Maria

      The Storm- Words cannot describe the devastation that Katrina has brought. During the storm I broke down twice when the winds just were unbelievable. I went through Camille in 69'. I was 10 years old. Eleven children with our parents rode out that storm in the middle of the night. Katrina began for us around 5:00 a.m. Monday morning. By 8:00 a.m. the winds were at least 100 mph. I have a great room where the walls are 16 foot high, 6-3 foot windows are located on one wall. That particular wall was moving in and out with the wind as if you were taking big breathes. I just knew the wall would eventually would cave in. Keep in mind our prayers never stopped. I have a Blessed Mother in my bedroom and a candle was lit in front of her. Mid morning, the winds began to pick up even higher, approximately in the 130- 150 mph. Trees were breaking, the rain was coming down horizontally, roofing material was flying in the air, some were hitting our house like bullets. We were blessed that not a one hit a window. I was still very concerned about loosing the wall when a huge explosion happened. I was unbelievably upset and made everyone move to a inner room in the back of the house. Later, much later, my husband and myself went to check on the generator in the back of the house and I noticed that there was furniture and objects all on the porch in a mess. The door leading into the garage was open and we felt as though we had just stepped out into the storm. Well, the garage door had been ripped off and was flying in and out of the garage hitting my car then out on to the outside of the house. The door was hanging by one cable. We were blessed in a way because when the garage door blowing out it relieved some pressure in the house to the point that the large wall stopped breathing so bad. It saved us from a lot of danger.

      After the Storm- The storm battered us for 12 hours. We walked outside to finally see all the damage, looking at your roof is first priority. As neighbors venture out and look around in total disbelief, you yell over and ask, "how is everyone"? "Are you ok"? You thank God that it is over.

      Total Destruction- Our home had minimal damage. Out of 250 homes in our neighborhood there was only two that did not have leaks from roof damage, ours was one of the two. Every other house had their roofs torn off to the bare plywood or blown out attics. Two houses across the lake blew apart. Insulation, asphalt roofing, wood and trees everywhere.

      Venturing out to Downtown- Jim's Law Office and Angelina Productions is located downtown Gulfport, 13 miles south from our house. We were very tense and anxious to see if we had any business to go to. It took us about an hour to go 13 miles. The courthouse is located across the road from our business and that is where the Civil Defense and Emergency agencies are located. In a storm like this someone can be unscathed and the house next to you might be blown away to the foundation. We finally made it to the corner where our business is and yes it too seemed to be fine. We cried with joy. Once entering the building we did however have roof damage and water came in. Minimal though considering the attorney next to us has a "Moon roof" at his building now. No roof at all on the back side of his office.

      My hometown- I've lived here on the Coast my entire life and have been through a many of hurricane including Camille, "Who was no Lady". Katrina left nothing her path. Houses and business that Camille left, Katrina took and more. The Coast is tucked between Mobile, AL and Slidell, LA (a suburb of New Orleans). The cities are located on the Gulf of Mexico and are as follows from East to West: Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach (my hometown), Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Waveland, then you get into LA. We have only seen footage of the damage on T.V. because these cities are closed to the general public for "Search and Rescue" and emergency purposes, such as if you live there or securing your business. All I can say is that there is nothing left. It is everything you have seen on the national broadcast but 10 times more. I have had no contact with friends, family, all phones have been off, including cell phones. We finally heard from a neighbor that if we ventured out north on Hwy 49 to Jackson about 5 miles that we would get a signal. We did and was able to reach Jim's sister and aunt and uncle.

      Long Beach, MS- My hometown is no more. The Catholic Church that was destroyed by Camille and rebuilt was destroyed again along with the Catholic elementary school behind it, the rectory and the parish life center gone. The Church and Parish life center is just outer walls, you can see right through them.

      The Power of Water- Waveland and Bay St. Louis do not exist anymore. The church in Waveland is only a concrete foundation with 4 steps leading up to it. The Catholic elementary school is a slab.

      Death- My son Chris (25) decided to leave his apartment in Bay St. Louis and stay with friends in a small community called Diamondhead, located north of I-10. He showed up on Tuesday in shock and disbelief. He said, "Momma, its gone, its all gone, there is no Pass Christian". Chris was the manager at an upscale restaurant in Pass Christian. The boys were all 25 years old and had worked under Emeril Lagasse. Their restaurant was gone. Chris explained that all the scenic drive homes, some dating back to the 1800's were gone, ripped into debris. Then he said he saw 5 dead people in a ditch by the restaurant being put into body bags and loaded onto a pick-up truck. He could barely speak. I hugged him and talked with him about keeping it in perspective. Pray and thank God you are safe and alive. Pray for those who lost their lives and those who are worse off than us. Believe that God will take us out of this just as he took us out of the storm. Always be thankful for what you have because there are so many that do not have anything left.

      Communication-There are over 100 dead here on the Coast. We have no idea who they are because of notifying next of kin and we have no paper coming in, no communication except the local television reporting the utmost important information to us. I am worried about a few people I knew that stayed in places (homes) that were asked by the authorities to leave (mandatory evacuation). There just isn't anyway to find out about anyone except seeing your neighbors.

      Your prayers- We sincerely thank each and everyone of you for your continued prayers and support through all this. It could be weeks before we get electricity. The authorities are saying maybe this weekend water. That would be awesome. We are taking each day as it comes and handling it accordingly. It has brought us all a little closer and we are reminded of the importance of the simpler things in life, the Love of God, family and friends.

      God bless you all and please understand it might take some time between e-mails. Peace, Jim, Maria, Christopher and Angelina

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