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Chapter 9 Katrina living in a nightmare

ááOctober arrived, my son had signed his right of entry form. Both houses should have been bull dozed. Buster called and was told it would be " next week". It didn't take long to catch on that " next week" could mean anytime from tomorrow until a month. Every time we went to check the mail on Hoxie, I thought the house would be torn down. I knew I could never watch as it was being ripped apart and loaded into a dump truck.

It brings sadness to my soul as I look back to Mid October. The day we would have our last Family meal at our dear home on Hoxie St My Niece Dee came to visit us, she and her family had evacuated from Katrina. They made a choice not to move back to the Coast. Dee went to church with us that day.

Ron, Dee's husband had rode out Katrina on front beach, he just could not move back, his eyes saw too much.

The place they were staying seemed safe. It had stood through so many hurricanes before. It was built to with stand hurricanes. Like other places on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that made it through so many hurricanes it too was not spared.

Ron, like many other people thought he would be fine. He was very lucky to have lived through Katrina. I can't imagine the horror of watching water wash away three floors of the apartment building with no where to go but up.

To watch the winds take huge homes into it's grip like they were a child's play house. To witness the home he had shared with his family and friends literally crumbling beneath his feet. The horror of climbing up stairs not knowing if and when the water would stop. Can Ron and his friends and neighbors that chose to ride out Katrina in that building ever forget August the 27th 2005?

I'm not sure I could return to the Coast if I had witnessed the rath of Katrina up close and personal!!

Before Katrina changed everyone on the Coast forever Dee sang in my gospel group The Liberty Messengers. It was so wonderful singing together again. After church Buster said lets go eat somewhere. There was only a handful of places open to choose from. That part has not changed even till this day. Buster, Dee Lauria and I loaded up in Busters Van. Buster wanted to drive by the house to check and see if it was still standing.

John, Jackie and Jacee flowed us in their car. As we pulled up and got out of the vehicles the Salvation Army drove up. They handed out hot fried Chicken dinners to each of us. Buster asked the Lord to bless our food, as he always does. Dee and I sat on the broken steps of our home with the sagging front porch as a back drop and ate our last meal at 177 Hoxie Street Biloxi, Ms. It seemed so right with Buster, Lauria, Me,Jackie, Jacee and John C. having one more Sunday dinner together.

Within a month both houses were gone, but the memories will live of those years spent there. Will we rebuild on the same lots? We plan to as soon as we can, we own the land, the Gulf Coast is our home.

I truly admire the people WLOX TV has interviewed that say things like " We watched as our home crumbled under us." " We climbed to the roof, then we had to swim." " I watched as three of my family drown, I could not save them." Yet, they some vow to rebuild not let Kitrina stop them. As I said I'm not sure I could rebuild where I had saw things like this happen.

I've had a lot of people that have read my books tell me, " You are one of the strongest people I've ever met." That might be the answer, you do what you have to do and just keep going on. You must never give up no matter what you face. I've been told that things that don't kill us make us stronger. You can face anything you have to, sometimes it might seem you can't go on.

I promise you I know you can, do what you must do. Maybe not day by day, it might be second by second.

Yes I've faced many things in my life, as many people have. I really think the people that moved away made the only choice they can live with.



Hello Lord, it is me Johnnie your old friend,

You will never believe the shape that I am in.

I have tried my best to be strong through it all,

I cannot make it on my own, so I had to give you a call.

My Mom said that you are never too busy to talk to me,

So here I am talking to you,on bended knee,

I know I should call you at the end of every day,

I guess I let my own life stand in the way.

Did I ever stop to thank you for giving your son?

Did I ever understand because of him all my battles had been won?

Why is it that I seem to call on you only in my darkest hour,

Daddy taught me from my birth that Only You have the true power.

Before I go I want to thank you for all the love you have shown to me,

Most of all I want to thank you for my friends and Family.

ęcopyright ~ Johnnie Oakes~ 3/25/2006