I am not sure of the best way to tell the story of my time in Louisiana so I have decided to go back day by day to the journal I wrote and share my thoughts with you...
Monday Sept 19th-
My mother waits for me as I go through security. Of course I get in line behind a woman who is telling me repeatedly about how she has not flown for the last seventeen years - and her daughter just got married yesterday - of course she is on my plane. I manage to dodge her and slip into a different screening line.
From the airport in Seattle I phoned the DR phone number I was given hoping to find that I would have a place to go to when I arrive in Lafayette. The call finally goes through I enter my information and "We're sorry that number is not valid" is the response I get. Panic sets in. I phone repeatedly. You may ask why - this is because if I do not get instructions from this number I will arrive in Lafayette with NOWHERE to go. No place to sleep. Nothing. I try again and again. The number is still incorrect. I to keep the panic to a minimum while eating my Dish Delish sandwich in the fancy remodeled SeaTac airport.
I board the plane and while onboard continue my calling. My friend Tasha is trying to email Red Cross for me, I have phoned the Seattle Chapter only to get a recording that says not to leave a message there but I do anyway. My phone rings! The Seattle chapter calls and tells me that sometimes the phone is being reset and I should try again later. I feel a bit better. They also ask me who I am and just how did I get to be deployed (lovely that national and local coordinate together). Plane ride is uneventful - I did get some knitting done and I swear I was sitting next to two strippers who were traveling to Houston.
In Houston I eat a somewhat disgusting dinner of Uno's pizza. Why are all the restaurants closed at 7 PM here??? I do have success with the phone number - it directs me to the "Cajundome" when I arrive in Lafayette. I have no idea what the Cajundome is. Once at the airport in Lafayette I meet three men who are also going to the Cajundome. Thank god my luggage arrives - all 61 lbs of it!
While walking out to take the shuttle to the Cajundome I meet three women who are Red Cross volunteers and are heading to a hotel. A HOTEL! They suggest that I come with them. Now I am not a dummy - three other female traveling companions and a hotel OR three strange men and a place called the Cajundome that sounds like it has cots. I choose - the HOTEL. We arrive at the hotel and find they have two rooms left. I get my own bed with a wonderful roomie from CA. I charged the ipod and make some phone calls. Enjoy the AC as it is HOT here!
At the front desk we spoke with a man who told us there are seventy nurses staying in this hotel working to take care of people at a local hospital . He tells us that this is the third hotel he has been in since Katrina. He says things are better than they had been when Katrina first hit "At least they aren't walking over bodies anymore." Oh My. I don't know what to expect.
My roommate and I have a good chat before sleeping. We find out that we need to get up early so that we can go to the greyhound terminal to take a bus to Baton Rouge where the Red Cross headquarters are located. Sleep feels good.