Monday, April 6, 2015

A GCRL PWE Hits Me Right in the Feels

I know it's been almost 10 years, but down here we still get all emotional when we talk about Hurricane Katrina. It was nothing new to us at the time - we evacuate our home about once every three years on average. This was the first time we were truly terrified to come back.

Long story short, we evacuated to Houston, cried and drank for a week, lost contact with my sister (a nurse) for four days while she stayed working at a hospital in the city, saw the Reds (and Griffey!) play the Astros, then returned to the hotel to cry and drink some more. After an emotional reunion with my sis and a long drive home with temporary passes to re-enter the parish, we found utter destruction. 

Turn off your gas when you evacuate for a hurricane. Just do it. I have literally hundreds of photos just like this.

We spent days weaving around fallen trees and debris, trying to get to the houses of our friends and family who couldn't make it back yet to see what we could report to them about their homes. Not everyone got good news. I lost my car, but my house was okay. A friend of mine came home to a bare foundation - her house was washed whole several blocks down the road. My Aunt and Uncle lost only a few roof tiles, My newlywed sister's house got fourteen feet of water in it. Fourteen.

My Dad planted that tree as an acorn.

We spent the next several months helping friends and family gut houses, bury whatever had been left in refrigerators, and carry yards upon yards of still-wet carpet and moldy drywall to the curb. We all developed a deep appreciation for lukewarm water and MREs, and even my Mom is now strangely comfortable around guys with M16's.

While my Mom and sisters stayed with family outside of the city, my Dad and I stayed behind to start chopping trees, gutting houses, and fixing what we could. Nobody was around in my neighborhood. Nobody. It was like camping but, you know, more depressing. The days were hot and the nights dead quiet. 

So when a company of National Guard came a-strolling down my childhood street, it was more than a little off-putting.

They seemed as surprised to see us as we were to see them.

My Dad and I just stood and stared. It was one of the more surreal moments of my life.

Their commander halted the procession to make sure we were OK and that we had all the supplies we needed. A half hour later a bunch of Army Corps of Engineers tractors came and helped us clear the logs and stumps from our yard. They did in minutes what would have taken us a couple of days. I think that commander had something to do with their sudden appearance.

Did I say "long story short" up there? Whoops.

Okay, enough of that. Here's a fantastic card featuring a Detroit player with a Red Cross emblem on his helmet. They wore them for Katrina, and I'm glad they did. I ate more than a few meals served from Red Cross vans in the months following the storm. The beautifully splintered bat is just perfect.

Jim also threw in a card of Will Clark, PC and fellow New Orleanian. Great first base fielding shot.

I hope I didn't bum anyone out with this trade post. If it helps I kind of bummed myself out typing it. Thanks a ton for the cards, Jim. And yes, if you come across any spare Red Cross logos on cards, I would love 'em!


  1. Wow. Intense to see all that. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Not to make light of a serious thing, but when you evacuate, what do you do with your Griffey collection?

    1. Take 'em! Best way to do this is to remove all pages from binders and place them in order into a square-cornered box in one massive stack. Whatever you don't take, put in the attic or at the very least several feet off the ground. I also keep a bugout box at the ready full of irreplaceables such as original photographs, yearbooks, collectables, and a few external hard drives. And after Katrina I made the permanent switch from a desktop to a laptop. All about mobility.