Posted by: JennyRain | March 10, 2010

What’s Luck Got to do with it?

This is a post by my dear friend Keisha.

She and I have weathered a lot together.

Actually ah-lohhhht together.

We met after Hurricane Katrina devastated their lives. She and her hubby and 4 (now 5) dogs blew into Georgia and neither of our lives have been the same since.

Here she writes about her amazing, and harrowing tale of surviving Hurricane Katrina … enjoy!

Keisha and I the day I got my hair cut

By ClubGirl007, Friday, March 5, 2010

I’d never really considered myself to be “lucky”.

Luck was something that happened to other people.  Things may have seemed to work out for me–at times–if all the stars, planets and powers that be lined up.  Which meant that more often than not, I wasn’t a ready recipient of visitations from the “luck fairy” who seemed to hang out on a regular basis with everyone else.

So why is it that at this stage in my life I consider myself to be extremely lucky?  

Not just lucky–but downright fortunate–regardless of what’s going on in my life or how bad things have gotten (and trust me, they’ve gotten pretty bad over the past couple of years–but that’s another story).

I feel extremely lucky to be alive.  

You see, I was at home in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck.  One minute I was talking to my father-in-law on the phone and seven minutes later the water in my house was chest high and we were scrambling to shove 5 dogs and a cat into the attic along with anything else we could salvage–which amounted to a weekend travel bag containing a change of clothes and our desktop computer that contained all of the plans and records for our newly-launched consulting business.

As we sat in attic with our feet dangling over the edge of the opening, we watched as the water kept rising towards us.  With nowhere else to go we listened helplessly as the wind raged outside and heard our neighbors’ screams as they were awakened out of a sound sleep by rushing water pouring into their beds.

We watched in disbelief as the water rose beneath our feet and the corners of the roof lifted ever so slightly each time a new gust of wind bore down on the house.  Despite the fact that I weighed all of 135 pounds soaking wet–I nonetheless positioned myself to hold onto the rafters, pulling down with all of my might, in the hopes that I could somehow keep the entire roof from ripping off of the house and exposing us to the elements.

I definitely did not feel lucky at the time.

After the storm passed, we used a hammer to try and chisel and chip an opening out of the attic so we could crawl out onto the roof.  As I cursed the contractors who’d added layer upon layer of wood, pressed particle board and covered it all with an aluminum sheet–I definitely did not feel lucky.

After hours of chiseling, hammering, pulling, prying and cursing, when I was finally able to squeeze through the small opening that I’d managed to create and ended up with a 6-inch scratch down my arm as I pulled myself up and out–I did not feel lucky.

As I surveyed the devastation all around us and saw nothing but water everywhere.  The cars covered.  The streets gone.  And heard the endless noise of countless helicopters hovering in the air–some of them plucking people off of roofs, others filled with media who were seemingly too busy taking pictures and filming the devastation to drop anyone a lifeline to safety.  I did not feel lucky.

As we endured three days of sweltering heat and tried to find ways of quenching our insatiable thirst and keeping our dogs from fighting in the small, cramped space of the attic–I did not feel lucky.

When on the third night when we heard the roar of helicopters, shouts and noise that appeared to come from everywhere at once and awoke the next morning to an eerie silence because everyone else around us was gone. 

I did not feel lucky.

When the guy from our neighborhood pulled up in a fishing boat that had washed up on his roof and offered to take us to the school two blocks away to be rescued, I began to feel hopeful.

When we arrived at the school and ended up spending another four days trying to survive in a “community” that was reminiscent of something out of The Lord of the Flies because the rescue workers who’d come in to change shifts forgot to report that we were there–I did not feel lucky.

After we were accidentally discovered by a group of rescue workers who were en route to another location, I started to feel a glimmer of hope.

When the National Guard helicopter showed up a couple of hours later and dropped us food and water, I started to feel a little more hope that we might make it out alive.

When the Coast Guard helicopter arrived at 5am the next morning, I was loaded into one of those little baskets and airlifted out of the school–and saw for the first time the enormity of the devastation–I broke down in tears.

When I was safely inside of the helicopter and my husband joined me shortly thereafter and the copilot asked if he could take our picture because we were the first people they’d found alive

I felt lucky.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing this amazing part of your life, Keisha. And Jenny I can’t wait to read your posted each day thank you for being faithful. It reminded me just how blessed and lucky I am, even with all that is happening.
    In His Love,
    Kim

  2. Perfect. Just perfect. Sigh…I have no other words. Just perfect.


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