Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Do You Remember Where You Were?

On Saturday night, August 27, 2005 after a delicious dinner on the Pontchartrain Lakefront and continued calls to Delta Airlines…..who assured us that our flight on Sunday would be timely, we settled down in our hotel room near the New Orleans airport.

Our children and grandchildren were in various stages of worry and disbelief, elsewhere. Our youngest daughter in Texas was excited “I’ve always wanted to ride out a hurricane!” she said. Our oldest daughter in Pennsylvania was beside herself and couldn’t understand why we were taking such a risk. I’ll never forget our oldest grandson then 15 years of age, telling us “I hope you two lovebirds can swim!” (For the record, only if my head is above the water when my feet are touching the bottom!)

We had absolutely no idea what was ahead, but based on the fact that the television stations were “suggesting” that people begin evacuating……who could help but wonder what we were thinking!

We arrived at the busy NOLA airport earlier than necessary and checked our luggage, curbside…….mistake!  We entered the terminal and immediately knew this was going to end badly. Delta was the only counter open and the lines were miles long. The Delta Arrival boards were showing no arriving planes and the Departure board was showing that our flights were cancelled. And they had taken our luggage!

We went through Security with the hundreds of other hopeful people. Why? I don’t know. It seemed like a good idea, at the time. The Gates were empty…..there were hundreds of passengers, like us…but no Delta employees. (They had followed the evacuation “suggestion”)  Of course there would be no flights out of NOLA…..they weren’t bringing planes, or people, to this disaster that was about to happen, so there would be no plane to take us out.

I began calling Delta in an attempt to reschedule our flights to Las Vegas and Minnesota. As one of their customers who flew weekly and had attained Platinum status, there was a “special” line I could call. The best I could do was to book us on a flight out of Dallas, Texas for 4 p.m., that same day. Sure, that would be an easy trip!  (We hadn’t seen Interstate 10 and the evacuees, leaving NOLA!)

We needed our luggage back, so while I was rescheduling our flights my honey (Bob), and cousin Jimmy’s wife, Pat, went to retrieve the bags. They returned, shaking their heads. It couldn’t be done. We’d have to leave without it. (That was what they said….I knew that wasn’t going to happen.)

I have failed to mention that we had three different personality types in this group. Bob and Pat were both easy-going, patient, get things done, organized. Jimmy was anxious, impatient, and easily agitated. I was probably a combination of some of these things but I was also known for my “authoritative voice.”

And for that reason, I went to get the luggage. I didn’t have time to stand in the “mile long” line at the Delta counter….so I went directly to the counter. Yes, they were screaming at me! I really didn’t care. I didn’t know these people and they didn’t know me, and in all likelihood would never see me again. There was a hurricane coming, I wanted my luggage!

I didn’t ask for our luggage. I demanded it. My argument was they had taken it, curbside, knowing the flights would never take off. I got the luggage!  From that day forward I was called “The Gestapo.” (I never had to act like that, again. I’m reserving it for the next hurricane!)

I have often wondered how much luggage was lost, in that storm, because Delta wouldn’t (said they couldn’t) return it….and those travelers didn’t have an authoritative voice or a “Gestapo” person with them.

We finally arrived in Dallas….and when we got back home, over a week later….there were trees down in our yard.  Two tall pine trees had fallen across our front walk, right beside the 32 oz. cup that was still sitting where it had been, when we left.

We were fortunate……we were back at home and it was safe and sound. Many people weren’t so fortunate.

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing?
#Katrina #August 2005 #Hurricane #Delta
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