We ended up with Dean & Wendy Napoli in Baton Rouge for much longer that we had expected.

Tuesday morning, car packed with documents & some clothes & a mattress with Ana on top, we fled with 1/4 of a tank (after I failed to be able to suck gas up a tube from another vehicles tank).

We also had with us the 87 year old man from down the hall & his dog (next to Ana on the mattress) & his loaded 38 (next to us on the front seat) & Peggy (Ana’s care giver from Trinidad who came like mother mercy the day after the hurricane to help get us out). Taking Airline Highway & River Ridge (to avoid the fallen power lines?where tress had already been chopped out of the path) to a calm I-10 a gas tank with an orange alert for empty to Baton Rouge & my cousin Carl waiting for us in a parking lot.

We weathered the hurricane in Ana?s apartment in Metairie?only the plate glass windows vibrations to give me any fear, no ground water. I didn?t have cause to inflate the little 2 seated boat I had gotten Saturday (Ron, who stayed at the studio on Gravier downtown got to use his).

The problem came later as water poured in from the roof damage on our section of the complex. I bailed water for 18 hrs, bucket after bucket. I thought I would die before it abated. Every cabinet in the kitchen was pouring water.. I could not keep all the carpets dry. In the apartment above the ceiling fell in. I knew the next rain we would lose ours, too. It was 95º inside… mother & I & Peggy were walking slat cakes.

Tuesday night after I secured the now dysfunctional electric doors with 2×4’s, I took some steaks & the gracious cone head lady down the hall & her new husband brought their thawing pompano & lamb chops & in the quiet under the bright of the milky way we turned on the magic gas tanks in the barbecue pit in the patio & made our last dinner. Helen & her husband added pate Champagne , from the chef at the now defunct Yacht Club. We jumped in the swimming pool that smelled of tarpaper to wash off the salt of an interminably long day & ate to the sound of crickets our last dinner.

Then back to the pitch black hallways to mother apartment with Peggy there waiting for the phone to ring from someone in Baton Rouge, to say they would be waiting for us. I watched the new moon breach the tree?s around 3:30o AM .. Adline ( the woman who raised me always said to plant on a new moon if you wanted things to grow)

With a kerosene lamps and a candle I sorted through closets for what might be really important . What I could manage to carry down the steps & to the car. I got all the documents Took all the family pictures out of the frames & made boxes & tried to keep things dry. I would never see anything I left behind again. We were all on the verge of a new life.

So where to go with Ana? How? When? Please send on for me, I don’t have my complete list with me.

Rondell is in Donaldsonville with his family. Annie is in NY. Ron is in Maryland. All the Ya/Ya’s are accounted for and safe. Much of New Orleans is setting up shop in Baton Rouge? which has doubled its population in 4 days. There is a great need for Ya/Ya to work with disposed children from New Orleans here.


    • highboy on October 5, 2005 at 10:42 am
    • Reply

    Jana, I hope you will receive some comfort in hearing from me that the angels that have been watching over you will continue to watch over you and your mom, Ana. I am certain that with your steadfastness, kindness and purpose of life, you will always be blessed. I rejoice in the thought that once upon a time we embraced. Continue your good works.
    Love and a lasting embrace, George of 32 years gone by.

    • Jana on February 8, 2006 at 5:20 am
    • Reply

    Jorje… Trini died last year. I had gone to see her up at mankato. It was a wonderful place.

    Thanks for the note. I hope you are well. Really good to hear from you. I am still cutting wood.

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