The Year of the Necromancer – The Coming Storm

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.

19 comments

  1. Jesus. I don’t even now where to begin, so I’ll start with the obvious. You are a born storyteller. It is completely effortless to travel down the page….everything about it- the light-hearted conversation with your wife, the brief introduction to your parents that you still managed to present with texture and depth…and the ending. I feel like I just settled into a movie I’ve been dying to see…and somebody switched it off 10 minutes in.
    You did what every writer strives to do…you got my attention.
    And I’ll finish with this, as you might already know, my dad also died of pancreatic cancer. It hurts my heart to know you had to go through that with him, but I’m so glad he died with all of you around him, knowing how very loved he was. I can only hope my dad felt the same, even if I was the only one there…
    On to the next. You might need to quit your day job, btw. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Holy shit that is some of the highest praise of my writing I have ever heard. I can’t tell you what it means coming from you. I don’t know about quitting the day job though, not that I wouldn’t love to make a living as an artist.
      I did know about your father from your blog, and I must say I felt that kindred pull. My impression from what I read of yours is that he was very at peace with you, and that is something you made happen. You gave him dignity. I was a little leery of including this part in my first post about that year, but I felt I really needed it to set a true scene.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m so glad you did, it’s essential for understanding how devastating Katrina was… because this kind of heartbreak, the heartbreak that we all go through on some level, was already in motion before ‘she’ blew in and buried them all to such an extent that even those heart wrenching experiences must have seemed like an aside. It sets the stage and makes it fucking real…and incomprehensible, really.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. For starters, you’re a good story-teller so I’m really enjoying it. And then, I’m really really interested in the topic. So what better way to find out about what happened in there but from sb who witnessed it?

        Remember when you told me you’d like to read about my war journals? If you’re interested in such stuff, I recently watched a great documentary (‘Maidan’) about the civil unrest in the Ukrainian capital’s central square. So, if you can find it, do watch it. It’s a different kind of catastrophe when compared to ‘your’ Katrina, the worst kind, one caused by humans.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Thank you for the compliment. I never considered myself a storyteller, but you aren’t the first to say I am. So I have to believe it. 🤪

          I do remember telling you that. The horrors of what you lived ARE the worst we inflict on one another. I might check that out if I can.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with Brooke and Bojana; you are a gifted storyteller! Your dialogue flows, too, so there’s the monkey off the back of our conversation last night.

    I’m moving on to the next one, but do want to give condolences for your loss. My father and I were not close. He was not Ward Cleaver. My mother was no June (though we were quite close). I am the youngest of seven and they did the best with us that they could, but they were not ambitious parents. They were not trying to create great humans, or be great ones themselves. Day to day kind of people. One very angry and bitter. The other very troubled and scared. I despised them for those emotions when I was young; pitied them for them later.

    And, now, on to the coming storm. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In reading Brandewulf’s blog, I am learning so much about him, but also about all of you and your lives and how your connections with each other formed. It feels like a real privilege ….and perhaps a bit voyeuristic as well…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This breaks my heart. I feel the pain of your loss, but also the immense love in your family. I don’t know how I didn’t read this one first. This is a whole new view into you and your life. I am grateful to be reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

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