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Hurricane Ida Reflections Louisiana closetsamples
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Wow, it’s been a minute since I was able to post. My last post was about Hurricane Ida coming. Now, I am finally back home.
 
As I sit here thinking back, I am thinking how grateful I am. Not to have to deal with the stress from the hurricane, but the fact that I had a home to come back to. We had to replace our mailbox and there is a piece from the house we will need to replace, but nothing that hinders our ability to live in our home. A category 4 hurricane struck, and the fact I had a home to come back to – the relief is indescribable.
 
There are reports of wind gusts getting up to 172mph. Ida’s winds were sustained at 150mph, making it a category 4, however, a category 5 is 157mph. Hurricane Katrina, while large in size, moved faster and landed as a category 3. Also, keep in mind, the majority of the flooding during Katrina, at least in New Orleans, was from the levees breaching.
 
This storm hit us on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Talk about bringing back the PTSD that you didn’t even realize you had. I was just a teenager going through that. This time, I was the adult, the parent.
 
Watching what was about to unfold put me in a panic that we needed to get out. We prepared to stay, but as the hurricane continued to strengthen, we packed what was important to us and left. We left as a family and that included all 13 cats and the dog. While I was grateful to be leaving, I was still worried for the few outside strays I feed. There was no way I could bring them along even if I had the room. They let me pet them but won’t go in carriers. All I could do was put out some extra food and pray. The fear that set in became so real I forgot to even send out my last newsletter on August 27th with my latest post letting everyone know what was going on!
 
So we evacuated to Mobile, AL. Normally around 2.5 hours for us, took 7 HOURS due to all the traffic.
 
Our initial plan was to leave out for a day or two and come back once the storm passed and stay without electricity for however long. What we did not know at the time was that this storm would shift more East (closer towards New Orleans and closer to where we live) and stay as a category 4 hurricane 5 HOURS after making landfall. It stayed a category 3 for another several hours once it died down. All this while moving very slowly. 
 
Watching this made me wonder what we would have to come back to. How bad would it be? Would we have a home? If we did, would it have a roof? What about my outside cats I feed – would they make it? So many thoughts and worry all while bouncing from hotel to hotel with the pets in tow. This brings me to something. I want to say how grateful I am to the hotels we stayed at in Alabama. While they are pet friendly, generally the limit is 2 pets. Because we evacuated, they allowed us to bring in all our pets.
 
For this, we are beyond grateful. Otherwise, we would have had to take turns sleeping in the car with them crammed in their carriers. During our stay, we kept the cats in the bathrooms to minimize any mess they would make (which we did our best to clean up). It was a stressful situation for all. But grateful to our hosts for their friendliness and hospitality.
 
We evacuated on Saturday, August 28th after boarding up the windows in our house. Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana on Sunday, August 29th.  Sunday, we needed to switch hotels (because of it being booked up as was the case throughout our trip).
 
On Monday, we went to hotel #3, our final hotel as we couldn’t come back because the storm was still hitting, and we would have had to literally drive through those outer bands the whole time. This time, we booked to stay on Wednesday not sure of our exact plans yet.
 
We couldn’t have gone home on Tuesday because the roads were closed due to flooding and debris. Thankfully, a neighbor had a family member who stayed for the storm and went to check on her house who also checked on ours. They saw very minimal damage. This gave us hope and honestly, was the first night I slept decently since evacuating, prepping, etc.
 
So, Wednesday, September 1st, we finally made our way back home. We got out and expected to find a hole in our roof – something yet praying we wouldn’t. We got lucky. Our mailbox had been destroyed and some fence boards need to be repaired. But our home was still there. Even the shed was there. The trampoline we tied down – still there. A few pipes came out of place, but were still there. For me, it was a miracle and something I am beyond grateful for.
 
Fast forward to today, September 6th. We just got electricity back at my house yesterday evening. It wasn’t predicted to be back until the 8th. So that was a plus. I currently have no internet (which also means no TV) and mail service hasn’t started back up, but I am still thankful for what I have. If this post gets published today, it will be thanks to using the hot spot through my phone.
 
It is driving me nuts not getting back to work as I want, but compared to so many others, I have too much to be thankful for to complain.
 
Now, for those who are not local watching everything unfold, please know, you may see a lot about New Orleans, but New Orleans isn’t who got hit the hardest. They got it mild compared to a lot of these Parishes. Look up Grand Isle or Jean Lafitte. There is a list of these smaller towns that you may not have heard of. Those who are devastated. Grand Isle has been destroyed. They are looking at 3-5 years before getting it back to “normal”.
 
For anyone suggesting to get help from FEMA. FEMA is a joke. You must play all sorts of games and go to their approved hotel list – which many are already full. There are a ton of requirements. Not to mention, you need fill out an application either online or by phone. Simple enough, right? Yea, if you have cell phone service. Those who need it most have no cell phone service, no electricity, and gasoline has become like gold around here.
 
To add, one of my local groups I am in, someone finally got approved for FEMA temp housing, which allows those approved to stay at approved hotels. One person called over 50 hotels in New Orleans and surrounding areas which all claimed to be bought out on contracts or not willing to house evacuees because the hotels have experienced a lot of damage from housing evacuees from Hurricane Laura. So nobody wants to take the risk. I doubt this is being shared on the news, but that’s the reality of what is happening around here.
 
What about Red Cross you ask? Who is that? They haven’t been around. Local citizens and small businessmen and women are the ones who are taking care of us. And the National Guard with MRE’s and water.
 
Also, these AMAZING linemen who have come from all over to help get our electricity back on – let me tell you something. These big companies did not send these men prepared. They are sleeping in their trucks, asking for anywhere to wash clothes, shower, for food. Why are these big companies making these men work long hours in the heat and not taking care of them?! Yet, we did not hear any complaints.
 
Us locals saw their families asking for help for their men. And guess what? Louisiana made me proud. The locals, the citizens, not the government, not their companies, came together and made food, put together places for them to sleep, places they could shower, get their clothes washed, etc. There is a whole Facebook group dedicated to this. In fact, one lineman was so excited, he shared the news with his wife who made a Facebook group as far as learning to cook. This is what we mean when we say Louisiana Strong.
 
One thing about us is we are here to help everyone. Even when we have little ourselves. These men and women are out there trying to help us, so they are our heroes, and we will treat them as such. But these big companies who didn’t send these guys with food and necessities – SHAME ON YOU!
 
We also saw how the small mom and pop stores were pulling what they could to help local communities. Whether it be a place to sleep or cooking up food that was going to go bad anyway and giving it out for free. One food stand made meals and if someone didn’t have the money, they let them still eat! Only asked to pay if you could. All while these big corporations, who have the means to do more and help, still charged full price for food, water, etc.  We’re watching. We see who truly did what they could and who sat back and took money from those already suffering.
 
I also want to shout out to my web hosting company and programmer. I contacted my programmer, Mike from 911 Website repair, to reach out to my web hosting company, Squidix, in regards to my bill. They were kind enough to extend some relief to my account with everything going on. They did not have to do this. But it shows the kind of company they are.
 
Don’t get me wrong. Nobody owes anybody anything. That is their right. But we are watching and know where we will be spending our money once life resumes back to normal. We see who is caring for their community and who doesn’t.
 
Emotions are high around town, but I have a lot to be grateful for. Now let’s help those out who have not been as fortunate. Should you wish to donate to help us with the expenses we incurred evacuating, I set up a PayPal donate link. We spent a couple of thousand, draining our account, so anything helps.
 
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