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After

I was about nine years old that august day when my parents picked me up from my best friend's birthday party. I hopped in the car, and the first words I expected to hear were "How was the party?". Instead, my mother began with, "When we get home, I want you to pack three days worth of clothes. We're evacuating." If only she knew what was coming.

Hours later, i found myself in our car, yet again. But this time we weren't driving towards our home.We were driving miles away from it, to Texas. Next to me sat a cat carrier, and next to that was my five year old sister, fast asleep.At around midnight, we finally arrived. I had vowed to myself to stay awake until we got there, but like every time, i fell asleep.

The next morning, i wandered from the guest house into my cousins' kitchen, where everyone was gathered around the television. I walked over, curious to see what they were watching. On the screen were images of what seemed like a sea to me, with everything imaginable floating in it. Cars, trees, people. Oh god, i thought, what would happen to those people?

About two weeks later, I was sitting in a pure white apartment in Washington D.C. Most of our family lived there, and since hurricane Rita was about to hit Texas, we had evacuated there. Days before, i had started a new school. I had new friends. It felt like we were starting our lives over. But, in late October, me, my sister and my father returned to New, Orleans, our home sweet home.

As Chris Rose said in his book One dead in the attic, the first thing that hit me when i got out of the car,into New Orleans, the first thing that hits you is not the sights, but the smell. Once my mother got back, our family and some friends of my parents went into a friend's house in the upper ninth ward. They saved everything they could. I remember looking inside and seeing the devastation. But this city was my our home. And bit by bit, we were going to rebuild. And we weren't going to give up.




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