I like to say that my sister, Anna Belle, on left, had the biggest Katrina adventure of us all. At the time it was not so adventurous.
Two days before Katrina hit I took her home from the grocery store where she had stocked up on water and food. Since she lived on the 5th floor of Metairie Manor, a retirement residence, she felt she was safe and did not want to evacuate. She was always a leader at Metairie Manor and organized social outings for the residents and was President of the Guild for many years.
When I evacuated the next day I thought surely Anna was safe. Little did I know that two days after Katrina she would be on the balcony of her 5th floor apartment waving a white pillowcase at every helicopter that flew over. They had no electricity and the area was flooded. The temperature in the building was too much for the 150 elderly who had stayed. Finally, someone saw her and ambulances and buses were sent to rescue them. They were taken to the airport where they stayed for 20 hours under conditions that were not too good.
Anna had just finished months of chemotherapy and radiation for cancer. She recognized a reporter from CNN and asked her for help. She told the reporter "Can you help us; we're old and we're sick and we're ugly." They were flown to San Antonio then to another place, then to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The reporter put the interview on television and someone saw Anna and called her son in Arkansas. One son from Louisiana who had evacuated to Chicago and the son from Arkansas both left to get her at Lackland (a granddaughter traced her on the internet through the Red Cross.) After several days she was safe in Arkansas where she stayed for a few months. On November 15 Metairie Manor reopened and Anna is back home, looking none the worse for wear. It was not her first adventure with hurricanes---in the 1940's she survived a monstrous one in Galveston and her newborn son lived two days. Courageous woman.