As someone who grew up on the coast, I used to enjoy hurricane season. Most of my friends enjoyed hurricane season, what wasn’t to like? School would shut down, families and friends would get together for hurricane parties, and all in all, even if there was a cleanup required after wards, the payoffs were more than worth it.
All of that changed when Katrina made landfall. Since most of Injury Board biographic details discuss what law school I went to, and where I am currently employed, what it doesn’t tell you is that most of my family was from a small Louisiana town, called Chalmette. Anyone from Louisiana knows about Chalmette, they have sentences like "How’s your mom and them". Though I wasn’t born in Chalmette, most of family was. I was raised in an even smaller town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Diamondhead, Mississippi. I moved to Diamondhead in 1985, and when I started school at the illustrious Diamondhead Academy, we had 11 children that made up the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade, all in one class room.
I would visit Chalmette at least twice a month and I loved everything about it, from the wonderful seafood, to the great Snowballs that I couldn’t wait to have. After Katrina made landfall, all of it was gone. I know some people have seen pictures, and even some have visited New Orleans and can see the changes that have taken place in New Orleans, but it is towns like Chalmette that have truly never recovered.
No longer do I look forward to hurricane season, no longer do I turn on the weather channel and think it would be fun if a hurricane would hit near us. Maybe it was the ignorance of youth, maybe it was just plain ignorance, but Katrina has changed my attitude on hurricanes forever. Now I look at the weather channel, and think "What happens if that hurricane hits even close to us?" and where are we going to go if it wipes out our town the way it wiped out Chalmette. These are questions that I now ask myself, that I never asked myself before.
Hopefully I am not alone in taking hurricanes more seriously, and I hope residents that still live on the Mississippi/Alabama Gulf Coast, as well residents in Louisiana and Florida have already taken precautions for this hurricane season. Please make sure you have your important documents, i.e. birth certificates, SSN cards, Insurance documentation, and Home and Car ownership papers, in a safe place that you will take with you in case of evacuation.