Every night, for the past three years, I had the same dream. And every night, it gets more vivid than the last. The trumpets and saxophones melt together in a smooth melody. Men chatter, glasses clatter, and smoke shifted above their heads. Smell of the sea and its bounty linger the air.
Then water rushes in, and drowns out everything.
Sound, sight, time. The world becomes a blur, an abyss. I’m sinking and struggling to breathe.
My nails dig into the shingles of my neighbor’s roof. My fingers become as red as the paint. Just as I’m slipping, about to fall back into the abyss, I’m pushed upwards, higher on the rooftop. My husband. His strength, his force, his force, his love lifts me, and I scramble up the roofing like the side of a mountain. Safe. Finally safe.
I turn around and he’s gone. And the water continues sweep and roar, the streets turned to rivers.
I stand up and call his name; then scream it. Repeatedly and frantically. I get no answer. Only the cries of others stranded. The sky, still a storm, is absent of both mercy and sympathy.
I hold my tears back. Too worthless to be helped, too pitiful to help ourselves. We wait.
And then I wake.
I sit upright in my bed, my body draped in dark cotton sheets. My brown eyes weary. The moonlight and hum of streetlights crept inside the room from the window and blended across my bed.
I get up, my feet pattering the floorboards. I gathered my things in silence, not to wake the other women. Weaving through rows of beds. Women and children sleeping soundly, each with their own struggles and nightmares to overcome. I go into the hall and exit through the shelter’s double doors.
It was time to go home.
The effects of Hurricane Katrina, I think is extremely downplayed concerning importance. It was a pivotal moment in American history. The Hurricane opened up a lot of issues about government accountability, neglect, racial implication, socioeconomic barriers and so on. A country that can mobilize for war in a matter of days, takes weeks to do anything about a city within it’s own boarders under water I think says a lot. People talk about how police killings are an issue now, they were always an issue. From the criminalization of blacks in the media during Katrina as looters to the slow and inffective response of the local, state, and federal governments, it’s possibility to be a case analysis for how true systematic oppression and neglect works is constantly overlooked.
With this year marking the 10th Anniversary, expect something big with more analysis on the subject from us at Sincere Ignorance. For now, check out these resources on the subject.