Katrinaversary Number 9

August 29, 2014

Nine years ago.
My car had been totaled days before, so I was going to stay. Thankfully, my dad decided they didn’t want me to, and drove from Alabama to get me. It took 13 hours to make the 160 mile drive back to Mobile.
I left the cat behind, because she was terrified of car trips and I didn’t figure I’d be gone more than a few days. She was mostly an outdoor cat, she’d weathered hurricanes before, she didn’t like being inside much.
My parents’ house lost power and water for weeks.
I watched CNN from under a blanket at a friend’s house. Watched my city flood and burn, watched Anderson Cooper plead with the world for help, watched George W. Bush tell Brownie he was doing a heckuva job while the bodies of those who couldn’t afford to leave bloated, rotted, floated down streets. I watched as white folks “survived by scavenging” and black folks “looted.”
I watched as an overblown egomaniacal pop star was the only one who dared to speak the truth about our despicable president.
I couldn’t come home for 8 months, and when I did, my home had been looted too.
I spent that spring and summer gutting houses full of sludge and rotten meat and ruined lives and the all too tangible filth of government failure.
I never saw my cat again.
Nine years ago.

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