For a while, now, I have said I would relay the story of Hurricane Katrina and it’s impact on my life. As I sit down to gather thoughts to do this, I realized that I would have to start a little earlier than the storm itself. 2005 was NOT a good year. Not a good year at all. Except for the Necromancer. It was a very good year for him.
A little backstory is needed. I come from a large family with 5 kids. The best way to describe my family is the way I introduced my wife to them. It was one of my sister’s birthday many years before we were married, and we were on our way to my parents house for her first time meeting my family. Here is a VERY close approximation of the conversation we had on the way there.
“OK,” I started. “I need to warn you about my family.”
“You’ve met mine,” she replied. “How could yours possibly be any worse.”
“You’re right,” I laughed, “but that’s not what I mean. You have never met a family like mine, I”ll wager.”
“What,” she asked. “Are they hippies…or rednecks…or…or…”
“Worse,” I replied. “They’re the Cleavers. Other than the fact that they had 5 total children, I grew up in the household of Ward and June Cleaver. We are so fucking functional it is dysfunctional.”
She looked at me for a second and laughed. “There is no way.”
Fast forward hours and hours later as we are now on our way to her home from my family birthday party….and cue my wife.
“Oh my God, your fucking parents are Ward and June fucking Cleaver,” she burst before we even made it to the corner. “I LOVE them.”
And she did. I have a close family, and my father and I had grown quite close starting around 1995. That made 2005 that much harder. It was March 2005, and my 76 year old father had gotten sick. We didn’t know what, yet, was causing him to feel poor. We soon found out. He had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and it was not going to end well. We had a very large anniversary party planned for my parents as it would be their 50th. We had to cancel it. I am fortunate that I was able to spend a lot of time with him, and I got to say everything I ever wanted to him before he left. You know what, though, it doesn’t fucking matter. You still wish you could say one more thing or say one thing one more time. He died in his house, as his first and only love (my mother) held his hand, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. It was 2 weeks after what should have been their 50th wedding anniversary, and we all watched him die.
It’s now 4 months later, at the peak of hurricane season, and a new tropical storm was brewing in the Atlantic. It would be called Hurricane Katrina, and it would forever mark and mar the lives of many. It would change how the world saw New Orleans, how New Orleans saw itself, and how each of us affected would forever look at life or count time. It was August 20th, 2005 BK. Before Katrina.