Katrina, Texas

I’m Mrs. Eartherine Odem. My husband, Ferdinand, and I are from New Orleans, but on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed our city, forcing us to leave everything behind for a new life in Texas. This is our story.

1. I feel safest at home, so we stayed in our home, in the Sixth Ward, for the storm. My grandson Josh was with us. We came through just fine, then Josh said…

Josh: That water’s rising. It’s at the third step now.

2. I can’t swim, so we had to go before the water got too high. I cried and cried. Josh said I sounded like a hummingbird.

3. We found dry land. Then a group of us tried to cross a bridge out of New Orleans. Clouds gathered, then PYOO! PYOO! Gunshots mixed with the thunder. Police wouldn’t let us cross.

4. So went to the convention center. I’m crying from the heat in there. The smells. Plus I’m hearing stories, like one about a girl—a twin—getting raped and having her throat slashed in the bathroom.

5. After two days, a helicopter lifted us to the New Orleans airport.

6. We waited and waited in line. Then I noticed the lines made a cross. So I said to myself …

Eartherine (to Ferdinand): “Wherever the Lord send

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...