Me and Hurricanes: Katrina, Part 1.

We have yet another crazy weather situation heading towards D.C. right now.

You know how disaster prone I am, and how I'm even getting stalked by bad weather at my races now (tornado during my first attempt at a marathon, and then another one brewing during Tough Mudder). I originally started this year planning to do the Marine Corps Marathon tomorrow which would've been so typical given D.C. is now prepping for Hurricane Sandy to hit us. But I ended up deciding against the race so I'm now left to just prep me and Chloe and think about the thing I always think about when I hear the word Hurricane -- Katrina.

As part of the disaster trend in my work life, being a part of the response to Hurricane Katrina was the second in a string of incidents I worked on (the first being 9/11, the subsequents being H1N1 and an Oil Spill. Some people like a nice, stable work environment -- me? Dangerous levels of chaos please! Which could also describe my dating life at times...but I digress....).

There are so many, many things I could say about what I experienced and learned through that disaster but that starts to get heavy and possibly too revealing of people I worked alongside. I will, however, tell you some of the more funny parts about my own personal experiences during the response.

Before Katrina made landfall, I knew I was likely getting "deployed" down to Louisiana but that was about all I knew. In the end, I was basically given less than a day's notice, left work that afternoon to pack, and jumped on a plane the next morning.

First of all, I was told to "pack for a month" but to plan on being gone "indefinitely." I was also told we didn't know what the conditions were. So of course I go crazy, pack way too much, and foolishly pack things that required a hair dryer....and a small portable fan.


Yes, I endured much ridicule for that one. In my 20-something year old brain, I was thinking - Louisiana is hot. We probably won't have AC So my coworkers will love me for bringing this.

Except you know why we might not have AC? Because there might not be electricity. Which is what my fan ran on. Sigh.

So there I am with my giant suitcase at the airport and I discover our transportation for the day is -- a private plane. Various corporations were donating anything they could think of for the response efforts so the group I was heading down with just happened to be heading down on a very nice plane courtesy of a professional sports team. Which was so strange because as soon as we got off the plane in Louisiana - we were going to be sleeping on a bus. Private plane ---> sleeping on a bus. And so began the Upside-Down world I lived in during that time.

And let me reiterate that my stories here are just the interesting or humorous parts of my experience but I in no way mean to belittle the enormity of that tragedy or sound like I'm bemoaning any of the conditions. I gladly would've slept on the floor, gone without food, stayed there for months -whatever to help. I'm so glad I was able to be a part of the response in a tiny way. Now, onto my ridiculousness....