Tropical Storm Cindy reminds Saints’ fans of uneasiness in the ‘Big Easy’
By Dean Mullen
Saints’ fans may forgive Mother Nature, but it’s never forgotten. While Cindy is no Katrina, that deep rooted worry and fear never goes away.
Looking out of the window last night gave me a little “pit” in my stomach. Presumably, I’m not the the only one. The view gave an eerie reminder that another storm was coming. The weather experts try and do their best to alleviate our worse fears. At the same time, it’s human nature to have some flashbacks. Similarly, thoughts start to resurface when any type of storm enters The Gulf of Mexico.
In any case, there is surely many Katrina stories out there. Some have never been told. When Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005, I was about 1,000 miles away living in Orlando, Florida. My story doesn’t involve anything serious compared to people that were here. However, there was a part of me that did experience pain from far away.
All my friends in Orlando watched the same disaster unfolding before their eyes with me. But their connection to New Orleans was non-existent. Nevertheless, the thoughts and concerns made me feel even more isolated. There was a sense of guilt that followed me around that whole week. Growing up in New Orleans as a kid made you aware of ONE certain devastating possibility. Bob Breck and Margaret Orr would mention it often.
The one thing that could never happen is that a hurricane would make its way near the mouth of the Mississippi River. That was ingrained to me at an early age. Furthermore, my grandma would tell me stories about Hurricane Betsy, with her furniture floating away. It was hard to imagine if you weren’t there.
In 1998, there was a close call with Hurricane Georges. That was supposed the be THE ONE. Ironically, that was my last year in New Orleans before moving to Florida. Hurricane Georges was heading right for New Orleans before it turned dramatically at the last moment. At the time, I was in my senior year at UNO living in Old Metairie at my aunt’s house.
The city was spared the worse by far. In 2005, the real thing did hit. Seeing the city bleed out was heartbreaking. No one in Orlando understood it. To them, it was just another place getting hit with a major hurricane.
On the other hand, I was alone watching TV for hours, seeing my city die right before my eyes. And there was nothing in my control to change things. Nothing made sense to me. The only word that the media was using over and over was the term “refugees.”
The term made me furious. The word “refugee” gave the connotation that the people were from a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY. What the hell? New Orleans is a city in the United States of America. And the city and people literally drowned that week. Many of my friends and families lost their homes. The one place that I called home was disappearing. What made me even more angry was plenty of people in Florida wondered if New Orleans should even be rebuilt.
That hurt. But really I couldn’t really do anything. The city was still 1,000 miles away. Who Dat Nation knows the rest of the story. People started to come back. The Saints eventually played in the dome again. Moreover, there was a sense of pride in the city. New Orleans eventually rebounded.
Now in 2017, Tropical Storm Cindy is coming. Hopefully, this will just be a blip on the screen when everything is all said and done. Additionally, I’m home now. The city is just a 10 minute drive from Metairie. Even know Cindy is nothing in comparison to Katrina, no one will ever let their guard down again. Regardless, it’s still unsettling to see anything spinning in the Gulf of Mexico.