Goodbye, My New Orleans
first published in Mother Verse, Issue #5
The television in the hospital waiting room was on but muted. A large red and orange graphic was swirling on the screen.
“Hurricane,” I said casually as I steered my toddler away from the vending machines.
My husband replied, “Yeah, It’s gonna hit the Florida panhandle.”
“Hmm,” I pondered before I was distracted by the calling of my name.
I was there for the five month ultrasound that would reveal the gender of my new child. My husband held our reluctant 20-month-old daughter in his lap as the doctor glided the wand over my full abdomen.
“Boy,” he said.
“You sure?” My husband, Errol, asked, containing his glee.
“Definitely a boy,” the doctor confirmed.
The rest of the day was busy as we happily bought “It’s a Boy” foil banners, baby blue balloons, and party supplies. The following day, we were going to have an ultrasound party for our family, concealing the big surprise until they arrived.
The next morning, I swept and mopped the floors, decorated the house, and put on a pretty maternity dress. Errol and I were about to prepare some finger foods, when the phone rang. It was his mother and she wanted to know if we were evacuating.
He put the television on and there it was again. The big red and orange swirling thing was in the Gulf of Mexico and heading right for New Orleans.
“Pack your bags,” he said after making reservations in Austin, Texas.
“But I don’t want to leave. I’m having a party today,” I whined.
“We can’t stay for a Category 5 Hurricane,” the voice of reason replied.
I knew he was right but my mind ventured back to the year before when we evacuated for Hurricane Ivan. It took us eighteen hours to drive to Austin in bumper to bumper traffic with our traumatized caged cat and our unhappy nine month old daughter. It was a costly and uncomfortable unplanned vacation. Errol’s company forced their employees to use vacation time for a hurricane that didn’t come.
“I don’t know what to take,” I said as if I had never done this before.
Kristin Fouquet and her family returned to New Orleans in May of 2007.