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Our Family's Katrina Story

In late August 2005 like thousands of other families on the Gulf Coast we were going about our everyday lives at school, work and our daily activities.  Little did we know as we went off to work and school on
Friday August 26, 2005 that it would be the last "normal day" of the life we knew. 

On
Saturday morning the word was not good.  The storm did not turn to the northeast as was expected and was bearing down on the New Orleans area. It was time to baton down the hatches and pack for a three day road trip (the usual drill to board up the windows, secure the yard and house and take whatever irreplaceable records and items we could fit in the trunk of our car).

On
Sunday August 29, 2005 at 6:30 a.m. we left on what we thought would be a three day road trip not knowing we would never live in our home again.  On the road, we made our way east landing at the first vacant hotel we could find in Tallahassee, Florida.  There we waited with the hotel full of evacuees like us for the storm to make it's arrival.  Having trouble sleeping we followed though my laptop TV and radio broadcasts from home in New Orleans.

By
Monday morning the news was again not good.  It was a nearly direct hit to the New Orleans area and flooding of most of the area including all 27,000 homes in our community with 67,000 inhabitants rendered homeless overnight. Also, to add insult to injury our community was affected as a result of the storm by the largest urban oil spill in U.S. history.

On
Tuesday as media reports began to show the aftermath the realization of the magnitude of the damage. (aftermath in Chalmette Chalmette Images)

By
Wednesday reality had settled in and with no habitable home to go back to we sought shelter back in the familiar turf of Northern Virginia where we had family and had lived for 11 years.

It took over a month until we were able to return to survey the damage to our home and community on September 29, 2005. The reality of the magnitude of the situation left us with difficult decisions to make.  With the realization that our neighborhood and community was facing years of rebuilding we made the painful choice to rebuild our life in Northern Virginia.  But our heart and soul remains in New Orleans.  Hopefully someday we will return.

A Washington Post Letter to the Editor I penned captures the feeling of many of citizens of the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of the storm.  We developed this site to provide a place online that could bring us back home to the things we love about New Orleans.

Greg Chase

 


Katrina bears down on the Gulf Coast August 29, 2005

Our Family

Our Home Before

Our community Chalmette, Louisiana in St. Bernard Parish just five miles from  the center of downtown New Orleans


Our house on the day of my return September 29, 2005


Remnants of 50 years of the life of the Chase family in Chalmette (9/2006)

About Katrina

Hurricane Katrina -Wikipedia 
Chronology of the Katrina (Times-Picayune)TP
Flood Depths 
The Rise and Disappearance of Southeast Louisiana (TP) 
Murphy Oil Spill  Katrina in St. Bernard Parish

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