8 years ago today, Katrina roared into New Orleans. My husband had moved there just 3 weeks prior and had just finished building all his furniture and unpacking all his earthly possessions the day before. And in just a matter of hours, his home was underwater. His school, and his entire future was uncertain. Ultimately, he was lucky because what he lost was easily recovered, unlike the majority of those in New Orleans.
A year later, I moved to New Orleans and realized the magnitude of the loss on August 29, 2005. The school I later worked at had been flooded and on the brink of destruction from the storm. Many of the students I taught had lost everything- their homes, their possessions and even their family members in Katrina. Their losses were greater than I can even, to this day, begin to imagine.
August 29, 2005 changed our future. It changed my husband’s medical school career, it changed our hearts and it rerouted big parts of our future. I am who I am, in part because of that day.
2 years ago today, I found out that I was pregnant. I woke up before my husband and on a whim, took a pregnancy test. And the second line showed up almost immediately. Everything changed that day. I am now the mother of the most incredible little person I have ever met. We are now a family, a group of people who love each other more than I knew was even possible.
I have a fondness for August 29th, not because I don’t remember the terrible things that happened for many of my friends that day, but because I remember the good things also happened.
The city of New Orleans suffered a horrible blow that day, but seeing the city rise up, as I was privileged to do, and rebuild in the face of a tragedy that most would people never even try to recover from, was nothing short of amazing. I was proud to call myself a New Orleanian, even if only for a short while, and I am a better person for it. I will always have a fondness for that place, where I truly became an adult, where I got engaged and got my first real job. A city that never gave up and who rebuilt after losses I can barely imagine, even having seen some of the carnage with my own eyes.
August 29th, for me, is a day of change. It’s a day of new beginnings, of leaving the past and plans behind. This year there is no big announcement, no big change. Mostly, I feel that we are already on our way. That the events in our past, those August 29ths, have set us on this path and that we are in motion now.
Who knows what next August 29th might have in store. Or where we might spend it.