Its been a few days since my last update, and that update was written on a particularly difficult day. I believe it was Wednesday, which was the day after things really took a turn for the worse in New Orleans and the reality of the situation set it for me. ‘Tough day’ is a massive understatement to describe that day.
Having said that, its amazing what a few days and acts of kindness on the part of so many wonderful people can do for one’s spirit. First of all, this email is being sent to so many friends and family who have sent their well wishes, thoughts and prayers to us. It is also being sent to many who have been displaced due to the storm – so I want to first take this opportunity to wish them well and let them know that I’m so glad to have heard from them and am glad to know that they are all finding somewhere to settle and try and rebuild until things in New Orleans get back together. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all!
An update for you on Gibbons’ family – everyone is alive and accounted for. Mary Shea and Joe checked in with us on Thursday (I believe – but every day just runs into the next these days…). They are in Chunky, MS and doing alright. We also got word late Friday that Gibbons’ parents, Peter and Ginger, were in a house in Covington and were doing just fine. In fact, Joe drove down from Mississippi on Friday and went to the house to ‘rescue’ them. He was prepared to have to hack through fallen trees and floodwaters and found people on the street out riding bicycles and bbq-ing dinner. The house they are staying at, however, is about 3/10 of a mile off the road and the driveway was impassible with fallen trees. He did go back on Saturday morning and made his way in toward the house. He said “it was like a couple of hippies hanging out”. Apparently they had plenty of food and Gibbons’ dad had fashioned some sort of hose hook-up to the artesian well so they had fresh somewhat ‘running’ water too. They plan to stay there until things get cleared up and are quite happy where they are in their little corner of the world.
Unfortunately, Joe went to his house in Pearlington (the eye of the storm went right up over Pearlington) on this same trip and discovered that it is no more. He managed to salvage some of his metal-working tools from his shop, but the house that his Dad built is gone. Our hearts and prayers go out to Joe as we know it was a very special place for him – and for Mary Shea also.
Virginia is in Lafayette with Michael and her children, and Marguerite is either in or on her way to Boulder, Colorado. Billy is in Memphis as his patients have been moved there and he needs to go back to work there and help look after them. He and Ellie will be staying there indefinitely.
We have also had word that Gibbons’ extended family are all doing well.
As for us, I flew to Toronto yesterday with the kids and will be here at my Mom’s for a week or two at least until I can recharge my batteries and work on investigating where we should go next and settle for awhile. Gibbons remains in Austin and will stay there for now to be close to New Orleans – in the event that he can go back and salvage a few items from our home – and to be there for his family. He and I will be in close contact so that we can work on our next steps together.
We were very fortunate to have gone to Austin as we spent much time with Gibbons’ cousin, Brian, his wife, Beth (with whom I went for a 10 mile run around Town Lake yesterday morning – what a treat!), and Brian’s parents, Sheela and David. They were AMAZING to us in ways too many too list here. We are forever indebted to them for helping us get through this first horrible week.
It has been an unbelievable week in which we have been through a roller-coaster of emotions. We thought New Orleans was spared, and then the levee broke. If that wasn’t bad enough, then we saw the incredible footage of people being rescued from roof-tops and bodies laying on the I-10. On top of that, we saw those who were stuck coming apart at the seams and begin the lawless behaviour that has resulted in massive looting.
We have had people email us first-hand accounts of bravery and courage that would be a welcome change on the news. We have also had people email us first-hand accounts of things that would and could never be shown on the news. I have had to stop watching the news as it was counter-productive to my well-being. I do check in to see what is happening now and then, but have had to stop watching 24×7 or I would have lost my mind.
We were thrilled to see the National Guard trucks rolling in and cried when we saw the steady stream of ambulances from Texas rolling over the Crescent City Connection bridge. Those who know me well know that I am VERY anti-gun and anti-violence, but I have to tell you that in this situation, I truly believe that they need to sweep the city clean of the thugs and idiots roaming the streets and that if it means going in with the calvalry with weapons drawn – have at it and be my guest. Many may disagree, but when you see your home being overtaken by those who have absolutely no respect for the property of others and see the progress for rescue and any potential rebuilding being hampered by these low-lifes, you are willing to put aside the idea that ridding them from the city can be accomplished peacefully.
At this point, however, we are feeling much better about things. We know that we will continue to experience a wide range of emotions – but for now, we are relieved. We feel blessed about our situation when we think of what others have been and are going through. We are alive and out of the city as are Gibbons’ family and that’s the biggest blessing of all. Our friends are also okay and out of the city and beginning a new life elsewhere until we all know what will happen with New Orleans.
We are very fortunate that Gibbons’ work does not require him to be in New Orleans – nor does mine. This helps our life to be very portable – and frankly, keeps the paychecks coming in which also helps.
Our family will be fine and will be stronger than ever once this is all over. There are so many families, however, that will struggle to regain some sort of footing. If you can, please donate food, clothes or cash to Hurricane Katrina relief funds in order to help those much less fortunate than we are to rebuild their lives.
Thank you again to everyone who has offered to help us and offered their prayers and well wishes. At this time, even just knowing that people out there are praying for us and thinking of us helps to recharge our batteries and lift our spirits.
My apologies for the lengthy email, but its been a few days in an incredible situation and I wanted to make sure I covered all the bases!