So it’s August 29th, 2015 and I’m riding around New Orleans reflecting on this day 10 years ago. The memory of that day is so vivid it feels like the devastating event of Hurricane Katrina just took place. I was 14 years old at that time, and a year prior I had lost my grandmother coincidently in the same month of August. I just remember feeling numb, the only life I had ever known would never be the same.
Like most New Orleanians I literally lost everything. Everything I held dear to my 14 year-old heart at that time. As I pass the now Mercedes Benz Superdome and Smootie King Center I can’t help but be haunted by the horror stories I was told that took place immediately following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and Rita or the federal flood as I would call it. For a second I can feel those panicked souls, but then I snap myself back to reality. It’s crazy to think that since the federal flood all of the wonderful monumental things that have taken place at those same two venues.
The weird thing about being a Federal Flood survivor is that after 10 years, I still feel like the chunk of my life that was taken away during the year and a half I was displaced has left a huge hole in my soul. You would think that after 10 long years everything would feel normal again, but it constantly feels there’s a void here that just can’t be filled. It’s a hard emotion to describe but many New Orleanians feel this way. I can barely remember the years that immediately followed Hurricane Katrina. Some of the most crucial years of an adolescent’s life, I can only remember in flashbacks.
To this very day I still ponder on what grand lesson I was supposed to learn by experiencing Hurricane Katrina and Rita, and still 10 years later nothing comes to mind. I would be lying if I said I was over the devastation. Or that I can talk about my Katrina experience without instantly tearing up. I will say the Federal Flood was my first realization that Black lives did not matter, and that many Americans were filled with artificial compassion.
Rest in Peace to all of the thousands of lives that were loss on this day ten years ago, simply because the government didn’t care.
I pray that one day my city, and the beautiful people in it, will feel “normal” again.
* Be sure to check out Kamaria Gboro’s expose “Generation Katrina,” which features reflections of millennials Hurricane Katrina experience. I was honored to be a part of this heartfelt project, and I hope you all enjoy it.