Charest Family on the Web Posts

NOAA Satellite Image of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
NOAA Image of Hurricane Katrina

It’s been 26 days since Katrina blew through the Gulf Coast and the patterns of life here have changed. Physically; the difference can be seen in the ever-present mountains of debris, shattered buildings, Military vehicles and service people everywhere one looks. But there is also a different feel in the air from the way people move and talk; the things that we consider important now and the things that demand our time.

Katrina Diaries

NOAA Satellite Image of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
NOAA Image of Hurricane Katrina

Editor’s Note: This is a commentary on my impressions of initial relief efforts and response by FEMA, the Red Cross, and National Guard. I wrote it about Saturday, September 17, 2005, but did not publish it at the time. It appears here on-line for the first time.

Some commentary on the response time by emergency crews after the storm passed.

Katrina Diaries

NOAA Satellite Image of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
NOAA Image of Hurricane Katrina

I have online access again today, so I can catch up on real news and do some posts! Many people have asked how to help (in comments to my previous posts) I have spent some of my time these past few days researching relief efforts here.

Katrina Diaries

NOAA Satellite Image of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
NOAA Image of Hurricane Katrina

I want to address the issue of why people (why I) did not evacuate prior to the storm.

My reason for not evacuating prior to Katrina making landfall is simple: I did not believe the officials who were telling us to evacuate.

Katrina Diaries

NOAA Satellite Image of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
NOAA Image of Hurricane Katrina

The week went by in a blur. It seemed that every day we worked all day without stopping, and still it seemed like we had not accomplished anything. We had no electricity and tap water was unsafe for drinking although we did have enough pressure to get wash and flushing water. We didn’t bother to lock our house when we left for the evenings – most anything we could salvage was already outside drying out, so locking the door was pointless. I didn’t even carry my wallet this first week. All I was wearing each day was a pair of shorts or swim trunks, T-shirt, and sneakers without socks. The week was hot, with temperatures in the high 90’s, and I remember coming close to getting dehydrated several times.

Katrina Diaries

NOAA Satellite Image of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
NOAA Image of Hurricane Katrina

My storm-related excitement on Monday, August 29 didn’t actually end with seeing my flooded house. My wife and I had spent the storm with three other families; each family owned a home in the general area. Monday afternoon, after the winds subsided enough to drive, we carpooled in the one vehicle still running to check out the other three houses.

Katrina Diaries

NOAA Satellite Image of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
NOAA Image of Hurricane Katrina

Although Hurricane Katrina was almost three weeks ago, it is not old news for those of us living here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This is the first time I have had enough online time to actually post a diary since the storm passed through. Here is my diary account of hurricane Katrina as seen from Gautier, Mississippi, August 28/29, 2005.

Katrina Diaries

NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
NOAA Image of Hurricane Katrina

Just a quick report before I shut down my computer and evacuate – probably not to come back on-line for several days at least. It is August 28, 2005 in Gautier, Mississippi, just west of the Mississippi / Alabama state line. Hurricane Katrina is presently expected to make landfall just west of new Orleans, about 100 miles to my west, early tomorrow morning. My wife and I, after much discussion, have decided to stay with friends a mile south of here. The counties to my west, Harrison, on the Louisiana state line, are a mandatory evacuation area. Hancock county to the east of Harrison is recommended evacuation for higher areas, mandatory for low-lying (“A” and “B”). My county, Jackson, is recommended evacuation for higher areas and mandatory for “A” and “B” flood zones.

This is the first of a multi-part series documenting my personal experiences with what has since been called “The Greatest Natural Disaster to Hit the US.”

Katrina Diaries

Family Stories

Immigration Official Image
Immigration Official

Just wanted to let everyone know that Winnie will have her visa interview soon! After only a 19 month wait, she is scheduled to have her consulate interview Thursday, June 30, in the morning session. Right now we are scrambling to get all the last minute documents together that we think she may need. We need to show the consulate interviewer we have a “real” relationship, as if somehow waiting almost two years for her to come to the US isn’t proof enough…

Family Stories