Lauryn Easterling, PY2
It’s August 29, 2005 in Gulfport. Half a mile in any direction houses are filling up with water from the storm surge, but we miraculously manage to escape flooding at my house, filled with 11 people just trying to ride out the storm. Everyone was anxious as the wind howled and trees collapsed all around our house for what seemed like an unending amount of time. As the tenth anniversary of this horrific storm approaches, what I reflect on most is not Hurricane Katrina itself, but the utter resilience of the people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (aka the land mass) along with strong compassion for neighbors, families, and friends.
My house was fortunate enough to sustain little damage compared to others who came home to a concrete slab or a flooded mess, so we served as a refuge for our family and friends who had nothing. The neighborhood used our swimming pool as a communal bath while we were without running water. We relied on family and friends from out of state to bring food and gasoline after the roads were cleared. Even though I was only 12 years old, I recall people coming together to help clean up houses, wash ravaged clothes, and salvage personal mementos among the wreckage. While it was a devastating time in history for the Coast community, we look back and fondly think of those who came to our rescue at our weakest moment and comforted us in such distraught. What I see now, 10 years later, is a thriving community that is stronger than ever, and I am proud to call the area home.