I've been real upset at how it took so long for the people in New Orleans to get taken care of. It was the main thing on the news here since hurricane Katrina struck the city. It's so frustrating that it took so long to rescue people, and that it even today, weeks after Katrina and then Rita, it seems that things are still not organized like they should be or should have been. We talked about this disaster in our history class, and going on the newspaper web sites from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to get the local stories that we never see in our papers or on TV. We watched CNN and MSNBC on TV in class, and one of the stories made me so mad and frustrated and sad that I actually had tears running down my cheeks in class. I was embarrassed but most of the kids, girls and boys too, were crying.
The story was about a 16 year old boy who couldn't be taken in the boat with the rest of his family when they were rescued and was told there was another boat coming right away that would pick him up. It never came, and he was on his own, alone, for 4 days. Finally he ran out of water and food and walked and swam through that filthy water to a friend's house but there was no one there, and he was stuck there without food or water for another day. He was finally picked up but they didn't know where his family had been taken and because he's a kid he was told that they didn't know when he'd find his folks. It seems like there was no one to help him because he's a kid.
There was also a story about a 20 year old who took an abandoned school bus and picked up 70 strangers who where stranded in New Orleans and drove them to Houston to the Astrodome. When they arrived they weren’t allowed to enter because they weren’t an “official” rescue bus until a Red Cross person intevened. He was accused of being a looter in the media. The full story is on the Houston Chronicle web site at www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/topstory2/3334317 and onWikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabbar_Gibson.
These stories still make me furious when I think about them.
So I decided to write this story “Escaping Katrina”. While it is loosely based on these real incidents that I saw on TV in my AP U.S. History class and read in the newspaper and on-line, it is a work of fiction. The events I depict did not happen, and the people are completely the product of my imagination.
This story is Copyright © 2005 by Colin Kelly. It cannot be reproduced without express written consent. The Nifty Archives has written permission to publish this story. No other rights are granted.
This story contains scenes of explicit consensual sex between minors. If reading this type of material is illegal where you live, or if you are too young to read this type of material based on the laws where you live, or if your parents don’t want you to read this type of material, or if you find this type of material morally or otherwise objectionable, or if you don't want to be here, close your browser now. The author neither condones nor advocates the violation of any laws. If you want to be here, but aren't supposed to be here, be careful and don’t get caught!
My name is Cody Williams. This is my story, about my life up to, through, and after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
My story starts when I was 10 years old and living with my parents in Oak Park, Illinois. I had a good life, my parents loved me and I loved them, I had friends, did well in school, and was happy. Then, exactly 2 weeks after my tenth birthday, my life came crashing down one night when my folks’ car was hit by a tanker truck carrying gasoline and they and the driver were all killed instantly, and due to the resulting fire there were no bodies to recover for the funerals.
None of this made any sense to me. I guess I was too young.
My father didn’t have any relatives. He had been an orphan, and didn’t know anything about his family. He had lived with foster parents, who were very kind to him and raised him as their own, but they had passed away before I was born. My mother’s parents and grandparents had passed away as well, but she had a great aunt in New Orleans, and that was her only living relative. Everyone called her Granny, I guess because she was so old. Granny was finally contacted by the authorities and she sent a friend to Oak Park because she was too old to travel. Ms. Luciana spent a week letting me get acquainted with her, and she told me all about Granny and New Orleans. By the time the week was up I was ready to go to Louisiana.
I was sad to leave Oak Park and my friends to live with Granny in New Orleans, but it was exciting, too. Where we lived in Oak Park was sort of dull and boring, and New Orleans was the Big Easy, an exciting place with lots of exciting things for a boy to do!
Granny lived in an old house, but it was kept up nice and it had a great garden. Ms. Luciana came in three times a week to clean and prepare meals that she put in the refrigerator for Granny to take out and heat. Her husband came once a week to take care of the yard.
I had my own bedroom and bathroom on the second floor. Granny lived alone, and was glad that I was moving in with her. She was a very funny old lady, and we became close right away. After I settled in, Granny took me downtown and to the French Quarter and to other interesting parts of New Orleans. There were lots of kids who lived in Granny’s neighborhood, so I had a great time while I was growing up. Granny taught me how to cook and bake, and I loved doing that. She bought me a bicycle and taught me to ride, and to play cards, and to draw and paint. She was an artist, and I loved to just sit and watch her paint.
I went to elementary school and made friends quickly. The kids thought my Midwest accent was funny, and I thought their Southern accents were funny, and we got along famously.
Life was very happy for me. I had mostly forgotten about my parents deaths, but sometimes I’d have a nightmare about the police telling me that they had died and I’d wake up crying, and Granny would hold me and comfort me.
When I was 11, I was enrolled in the seventh grade at a Catholic school. Granny said that I’d get a better education. The kids were different than what I was used to, maybe because they were going to a Catholic school. They weren’t as outgoing and there seemed to be more cliques. But I’m a friendly kid so after a little while I made friends and things seemed to be OK.
One day during the summer between seventh and eighth grades Granny said she had a big surprise for me. I asked her what, but she said to wait until I heard the doorbell. I sat around all morning and through lunch and after lunch waiting. At about 2:30 the doorbell rang, and it was the UPS delivery man and he had three boxes for me. From Dell Computer! He said an adult would have to sign for them, so Granny did that, and we brought the boxes into the house. “This is an early birthday present, Cody, Mr. Luciana helped me pick it out!”
I couldn’t believe it. It was a Dell laptop computer in one box, a computer backpack and a cable router in another box, and an inkjet printer in the third box. I hugged Granny until she said “Gracious, you’ll squeeze me all out like toothpaste out of a tube!” and laughed. I took the computer up to my room and unpacked it and set it up. I asked Granny what the router was for, and she grinned and said, “The cable TV man will be here tomorrow to install you on the Internet. I don’t know what that means, but Mr. Luciana said that’s what was needed so I had him arrange it.” Even though my birthday was still about a month away it was already the best one I’d ever had!
The next day the cable guy came and set up my Internet connection. Turned out we didn’t use the router Granny got me because the cable company installed their own. He was real nice, and made sure that everything worked and showed me how to get on the Internet and use my new email address and use IM. He must have spent over two hours with me, a lot longer than it took to just install the Internet!
I entered the email and IM addresses of my school friends, then sent each of them an email message telling about my new Dell laptop and printer, and so they’d have my email and IM addresses. Then I checked to see if anyone was on, and about five of my friends were, so we messaged back and forth. They were real excited that I finally had a computer.
When eighth grade ended Granny decided I should go to an all-boys Catholic high school. That made me happy. I’d discovered that I liked to look at the naked boys in the shower room! Maybe I was gay, I didn’t know and I didn’t really care or even think about it, I just liked what I saw! I never did anything about it because you don’t want to be branded as gay in a Catholic all-boys high school, that’s for sure!
When I was in the eleventh grade we heard about Hurricane Katrina. No one thought too much about it at first, but then it looked like it was going to hit New Orleans directly, and everyone was told to evacuate the city. Lots of people did, but lots didn’t including Granny and me. Granny said she wasn’t going to leave her house to looters, that she’d stay there unless it looked like the storm was going to be a real problem. Well, as you know, it was a real problem! The levies broke, and almost the entire city was under water. We didn’t have it as bad as some places, but Granny’s house was surrounded by about 5 feet of water, right up so it just covered the porch, and in the street it was about 8 feet deep.
We decided to move upstairs to get away from the water. There was no electricity, no running water, and we couldn’t flush the toilets. It was very hot and very humid but without electricity we couldn’t run the air conditioner, so it was really miserable and especially hard on Granny. We couldn’t cook because I turned off the gas, afraid that it would cause a fire or explosion. We tried to eat up the food in the refrigerator first, as much as we could before it started spoiling. We had a case of bottled water, but we knew that wouldn’t last long. But we held on, hoping that someone would come to rescue us. Once in a while we’d hear helicopters, but never saw them.
On the fifth day we only had three liter size bottles of water left. Granny looked real sick, and she was coughing a lot. I heard someone shout “anyone there” from outside, and ran to the window and saw a boat with a couple of firemen and a bunch of people who looked like they had been rescued. I shouted at them that Granny was there and needed to be taken to a hospital. One of the firemen came into the house and helped me get Granny ready to go, and got all of her pills and one of the bottles of water. I helped him carry her to the front porch, and there was room for her in the boat. But there wasn’t room for me.
“Don’t worry son, there’s a boat coming just behind us and they’ll have room for you. Hurry and get your stuff, and wait here on the porch for them.”
Granny argued with the fireman, but I could see that there wasn’t room for me in the boat. I hugged Granny and kissed her. “You take care, Granny, and I’ll see you a little later.”
“Oh, Cody, don’t leave me! Come with us! Mister, you gotta make room for Cody, I need him.” Granny started to cry.
“Granny, there’ll be another boat in a few minutes and then I’ll be with you.” I turned to the fireman at the front of the boat. “Where are you taking her?”
“There’s a staging area about a mile from here, when we get there these people will be taken to the Superdome or the Convention Center. We gotta go, kid. Wait out here for the next boat. It shouldn’t be too long, probably just a few minutes.” With that the boat pulled out and I watched it until it turned at the next corner and disappeared from sight.
To be continued…
I hope you like this story, and if you have comments, suggestions, or questions, email me!