Sunday, August 29, 2010

My experience during Hurricane Katrina part Two

New Orleans Sunset view from my French Quarter balcony, taken after Hurricane Katrina

Names have been changed to protect some people

The day after Katrina it began to hit home that this was more a disaster then we had thought. Living in the Bohemian French Quarter, we were in our own little world, we had been protected from flood waters that desolated other New Orleans neighborhoods. The day after Katrina, reports came in about the dead and flooded neighborhoods. I remember walking around the Quarter and seeing people that were not from the area camping out in cars, The Quarter began to be flooded not with water but with people, who's homes had been destroyed and were now under water. Some of these people seemed humble, others gave me looks like they wanted to kill me. And I could see some carrying guns. They were camping out in there cars and some on the streets and sidewalks of the Quarter.

The was the shotgun double I bought and restored between 2000-2003 in New Orleans! 

I met with my best friend Don that morning and every morning after. We walked the old streets of New Orleans looking for people we knew, and food . We passed by a mans home that Don knew in Faubourg Marigny. He gave use lot's of frozen chicken breast and red fish that came from the freezer of a famous New Orleans restaurant. They had cleared out there freezer knowing it would go bad in a few days. Just recently Don told me he committed suicide. I told Don, I wonder if this was how woman felt during WWII when there was a shortage of food. He said he did not know he was only a child, "more like a early teenager". We walked over to a friends home in Faubourg New Marigny, Jules, a French Canadian . He and his wife had inherited the house from there daughter Lurk who had been murdered a few months before. I had known Lark as she was a dog groomer and had taken care of my dogs many times when I went to France 3 times a year. She lived around the corner from my old House that I had sold 2 years before. When I first moved to the neighborhood Lark had given me 8 Bantam chickens. My French boyfriend added to the menagerie 20 Rhode Island Reds & Plymouth Rocks chicks of which 6 turned out to be mostly cocks , Russian ducks and rabbits! All in a back yard of a inner city home. I walked around the corner to see my old home. It was still there sound. There was a few feet of water in the street. The street was named Marais, French for swamp.

I was still in search of water and Jules had about 20 ten gallon jugs of water in Larks home. We sat down and had coffee and talked about our devastated city. Jules told use that we could come every day to get one gallon of water. I was happy that I had this source of fresh water to drink and cook with every day as I had none at home. I returned home with fresh water and food. Half of the people that lived in my building had left the other half including myself stayed. One of my friends a Antiques dealer actually moved days before the Hurricane into a home he bought on the Mississippi Gulf Coast 7 blocks from the water. He had rented three apt in my building, my old double parlor apt on the first floor and the two above it. All filled with a life's collection of valuable antiques. Garry had collected Grand Tour antiques. He had bronzes, Marble statues, Porcelain and 18th century copy's of Old Master paintings in hand carved gold leafed frames. He also had a very fine collection of American classical furniture and Decorative arts as well as the finest in rare Gothic Revival. Over the years Geary had sold to some of the major museums in America and pieces he had found were in some of the finest private collections on both sides of the Atlantic. I had learn so much from Geary over the years. The last time I saw him was the Friday before Katrina. He was moving his last items out of the apt. After the hurricane someone had broken into the apt by carving a big hole in the original 1830's door. I would latter find out that the only thing left of his home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was it's cement slab. Years worth of collecting were now taken by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

My friends Garry's apt he vacated days before the Hurricane and my Old apt that I lived in before I bought my home in 2000. Located on the first floor, water poured in from  4 stories down to the 1st floor apt. Originally a Parlor and dining room. The Blue room was my bedroom. I picked out the colors of Blue and Creole putty trim. The builder of the house relied on Minard Lefever’s more florid Greek Revival design models illustrated in his book The Modern Builder’s Guide (1833)

My friends Garry's apt he vacated days before the Hurricane and my Old apt that I lived in before I bought my home in 2001. Located on the first floor water poured in from a 4 story down to the 1st floor apt. Originally a Parlor and dinning room. The Blue room was my bed room. I picked out the colors of Blue and Creole putty trim. The builder relied on Minard Lefever’s more florid Greek Revival design models illustrated in his book The Modern Builder’s Guide (1833)

My friends Garry's apt he vacated days before the Hurricane and my Old apt that I lived in before I bought my home in 2001. Located on the first floor water poured in from a 4 story down to the 1st floor apt. Originally a Parlor and dinning room. The Blue room was my bed room. I picked out the colors of Blue and Creole putty trim. The builder relied on Minard Lefever’s more florid Greek Revival design models illustrated in his book The Modern Builder’s Guide (1833)

Ceiling cornice molding from Minard Lefever’s more florid Greek Revival design models illustrated in his book The Modern Builder’s Guide (1833)

Black and gold vain Egyptian marble mantel in the apt one of two from Minard Lefever’s more florid Greek Revival design models illustrated in his book The Modern Builder’s Guide (1833)

Neoclassical Honeysuckles carved into Louisiana cypress in the apt  from Minard Lefever’s more florid Greek Revival design models illustrated in his book The Modern Builder’s Guide (1833)

Large Neoclassical ceiling medallion in the apt from Minard Lefever’s more florid Greek Revival design models illustrated in his book The Modern Builder’s Guide (1833)

My apt 2th floor

My apt

The other half of the people that stayed out the storm in my building I did not get alone with. Living in the French Quarter one meets lot's of crazy people. There was Billy Bob Thornton and his boyfriend Skeletor. They lived in the carriage house/stables part of the building which was the largest apt in the building. I could see it from my balcony. I don't remember why I did not talk to them or liked them. I don't know there real names but I nicknamed Bill Bob Thornton his name because he was a middle aged country queen with a few teeth and a country accent. His boyfriend Skeletor was a tall skinny bleached blond that looked to be under 100lbs. He was one of theses types that the first time I saw him a block away he appeared to be in his 20's but on closer inspection he was double the age. They lived in my building for almost a year. We saw each other almost every day but did not talk. It's funny how a disaster can bring people together. On the third floor in my old apt was a trashy heavy set woman that dragged a different man home every night. I also did not talk to her.

Hopkins House Esplanade Ave house down the street that my family built in the 1830's. 


Everybody in the building pulled together to decide a plan for survival. We decide to booby trap our building by pulling the many dropped live oak branches up close to the 10 foot brick wall the surrounded the property and put liquid soap on the top of the wall. One of the people in my building thought that if someone did get to the top of the wall they would slip up on the soap and be impaled by the live oak branches below. I wonder how long it tuck to come up with this ideal. The 2th floor apt in the main house that Garry vacated was used as our base as it provided the best view of the outside street from it's balcony 20 feet above. Every night someone would sleep in this apt to keep a look out over our building. We sat on the balcony looking at the goings on in the streets below. The 2th day after Katrina we saw two young white boys on bikes trying to brake the glass door of circle k across the street. They were successful soon after hordes of people invaded the store just as the woman of Paris during the French Revolution stormed the bread shops in search of food.

As I entered the store I saw friends and neighbors both young and old, middle class and rich in survivor mode. I tuck some junk food & candy that I would need in the next few days and 10 bottles of Asti Spumante. A bigger grocery store a few blocks away, Roberts was also packed with people I only stud in the doorway looking and would not go in. It was like something out of Dante's Inferno! The floor was covered with brown sludge, it was dark inside and a mad house of people pilling up carts with perishable foods. I thought if I went in I could be raped or something. From our balcony on Esplanade Ave we saw people rolling down the streets and sidewalks with carts heaped full of perishable food like hams, roast, chicken and packs of beef steaks! The carts were so full that food dropped out as they rolled them down the streets. Sometimes we saw one person pulling two carts full of food that would go bad in a day in the heat of New Orleans. Did they know this? In the days ahead all of the perishable food was out in the streets and sidewalks moldering in the hot heat of summer for rats, dogs and fly's to feed on.

My building Esplanade Ave. You can see trashy heavy set woman on the balcony 

My building showing brick walled courtyard


Four months before the Hurricane I started a romance with a man almost 3 times my age. He is famous and rich. Born in New England he was every bit of a WASP and a blue blood, but also not. He did not have that dry sense of humor that most East Coast men have of his class. He was a Bohemian at heart although he wore custom made hand embroidered velvet slipper that cost over a $1000. I was swiped away with his Cary Grant accent (He had lived in England as a child) his good looks, as he was still a very attractive man in his early 60's. His story's of travailing the world. But one of the many problems was I met him when he was moving to a third world country. He was moving there to go into the business of buying old homes, restoring them and selling them to wealthy Americans. We had a little over a week to get to know each other before his move. What a crazy week it was, party's and dinners in the most expensive restaurants in New Orleans. One meal cost $1,300. dollars at Arnaud's restaurant. When the chef found out who he was we were invited into the kitchen and sent out free dishes to eat.

A month after he left New Orleans I went to visit him for a week. I could not see myself living in this place. I did not like the country or the culture. We had talked about moving to France but he thought that France was too expensive. Before Hurricane Katrina we talked about restoring homes in New Orleans. But the Hurricane put a end to that ideal. Plus the troubles of a long distance relationship was getting to me I had broken up with him 3 times over the past 4 months. The hurricane was a clear sign that it was time for me to end one chapter in my life and start a new one. I informed him once I had a way to contact him that I was moving on.

I cooked for everyone in the building plus people that lived around the area the chicken breast and fish I received that day and served it over rice on a large 18th century Paris porcelain Cornflower painted platter. Billy Bob and his boyfriend invited people to there place to hang out. Upon entering the place I now knew why I did not like them. The front room of the apt was set up as a Gay torture dungeon! The walls were painted to look like some type of cheep stone and plastered with gay fetish pics and porn. In the middle of the room was a large crude wooden structure with bondage restraints for feet, head and hands. Hanging on the walls were belts, leashes, leads, whips and paddles. Hanging from the ceiling was a sling and the open drawers of the cheep 1960's furniture displayed every size and color of dildo, magazines and videos. I was in shock as I entered the place and now knew why groups of men entered there apt every night. The both of them were walking around the place without a care in the world as if this room was a antique filled room at Versailles! The trashy woman on the third floor also invited me into her place. It only had a few pieces of furniture that look like other people thru out on the streets or off a balcony. It was hard to walk in her place as the floor was covered in trash including open porn magazines. What place was I living in? I would have been very happy living in the Marais in Paris in a 18th century building sipping mint juleps on my wrought iron balcony over looking the street below.

18th century Building in Le Marais, Paris, France

From our protected balcony on Esplanade Ave we saw a very attractive man that lived in the building across the way clearing the sidewalks and streets of limbs and branches. He worked tirelessly for hours as if he was a lumberjack. I don't remember his name but let's call him Mike. Mike introduced himself. And we included him in our clan. His story was that he was living Uptown when his two story place flooded He swam 30 blocks with his two very large expensive dogs to the Quarter, I don't remember what kind they were but I do remember him telling me that they had cost a lot of money. He was staying in a friends apt across the street from our place. He was a little bit older than I liked, in his late 30's early 40's but he had a very nice body with shapely legs. His side of the street did not have phones that worked so I invited him over to my place to use my phone. He called friends he had living up North in Upstate New York. That night as we sat on the balcony we saw large creatures crawling on the power lines above. They were rats the size of cats. All of the dead animals I saw on the streets of New Orleans were gone in a few days without a trace. Where I had saw birds, not a feather remain or a drop of blood. That night from the balcony we saw a group of boys that were up to no good zig-zagging from door to door trying each one to see if any were open. When they got to our house someone in our group said We will call the police. They told use "call the police they will not come, waving a gun at us. Thank goodness they did not fire. I felt like Scarlet after the war when the Solder invaded her home. This place was becoming like a 19th century Western town. Just about everybody I met on the streets had guns. There was a curfew in place for sundown to sunup. You were not suppose to be on the streets at this time. As soon as the Sun went down all you heard was gun shots! little wars were going on all around us. We have been told that the Government had sent in secret sharpshooters to take out problem people that walked the streets up to no good at night. It was said the body's disappeared after they were killed never to be seen again.  I don't know if it was true but many white people living outside of the Quarter told use this.

Mike with the nice legs looked like this man. 

House across the street from my building people said someone was dead inside. Mike with the nice legs was staying on the 2th floor of the house to the left.
Historic Claiborne/Gardere plantation style home with greek revival floor plan. Fabulous details and architecture. 

Across the street from my building was the Old Claiborne Mansion. A Large 1831 Greek Revival plantation style home built on the outskirts of the Quarter. The large house was bought in the 1850's by descendents of Louisiana's first governor William Charles Cole Claiborne, or known as what we call him in New Orleans, W.C.C Claiborne. Living in the mansion was old lady Claiborne her husband I believe he was from Mississippi and daughter Holly, she ran a B&B in the raised basement of the home. I met holly at a tour guide class given by the Friends of the Cabildo. We quickly became friends and I was invited to take friends and guest I had visiting me thru the lovely home filled with 200 years of family antiques. Sadly Holly had a stroke a few years before the Hurricane, she was never the same and her parents were elderly. Holly told me as a girl she remembers seeing Clay Shaw, the only person prosecuted in connection with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who owned my building in the 1960's.

Clay Shaw at Mardi Gras early 1950's

The Claiborne's did not leave there home. Every day after Katrina I saw Miss Claiborne being rolled out onto her large front porch with two story Tuscan columns gracing the front of her home. Army people came by every day to check on her and brought supply's but the family never left. I sure they were afraid to leave a home full of priceless family antiques . Inside was a large center hall wider then most rooms in homes today. It ran the length of the house. Crowded with a collection of big Louisiana armoires dating from the early 19th century until the mid 19th c. 1850's gasoliers with gilded figures and animals looking down on you as you walked the hall and lot's of over stuffed furniture, a letter from Jefferson Davis ,President of the Southern Confederacy on a mahogany bookcase. In the parlor was a set of Napoleon III tufted sofas and chairs bought in Paris in the mid 19th century by family members. The corners of the parlor had Boulle tortoiseshell marquetry cabinets with large gilt bronze cherubs holding up Rococo Revival candelabras . Ancestral oil portraits looked down on you in gold leafed carved frames. When I came for a visit I would sit by a Large period Empire Old Paris porcelain vase given to Governor Claiborne as a dignitary gift by Napoleon during the Louisiana purchase in 1803. It sat on a large carved marble pedestal. Next to the parlor was the dinning room it had smoked 1890's overdone wallpaper after William Morris. The gasolier had figures of a hunt with deer & horns. The furniture was dark over carved Jacobean. The other side of the house had the bedrooms. Each with a large 1850's rosewood carved bedroom set by Prodence Mallard. The most fashionable cabinetmaker in New Orleans before The Civil War. Holly's bedroom set had the shield of the Villeré family carved on each piece. Two nude men with fig leaf covering there parts. The set also had original silk embroidered covers and pillows with the Villeré family shield. She would pull it out for me to see when I visited.

The Claiborne's stayed in there home when other Old Louisiana families moved away from the big mansions on Esplanade Ave in the mid 20th century into smaller modern homes. Large antebellum furniture would not fit into the new homes. The Claiborne's received the bedroom set from the Villeré family, descendants of the 2th governor of Louisiana. Old Paris was everywhere, clocks, vases. I was suppose to photograph the home and it's continents but I never did and Holly became sick. It was the type of house that one rarely sees today in the South. A house that had been lived in by the same family since before the Civil War that had a great collection in it. A few years after the Hurricane Old Lady Claiborne passed. One her death bed promises were made to her that the house and collection would be held together . Not long after her death the contents of the house was auctioned off and the empty house is for sale today.

One day on my 7 block walk to Jules house for my gallon of water I saw a woman on the neutral ground camping out with a pack of people. I had camouflaged my water in a bag. She looked at me and asked You know where I can get water don't you? I could see rage and madness in her eyes. I said no and quickly walked away. If she had been by herself I would have given her my water. But I could not betray the home and friend that I was getting my gallon from every day. They had saw me coming out of Jules home. The Next day Army people were giving people all the water and some ice that was needed. Boy that iced felt good! Still during the day every time you passed a army person or police they informed us to go to the Supperdome. Thank God I was not stupid to obey them. As I had remember years ago in 1998 hurricane Georges did little damage to New Orleans but the people were trapped inside of the Supperdome without food. It made headlines worldwide. I remember hearing about all of the looting going on, on Canal Street but did not go down that way. As I also had heard people were bringing there dead family member to Canal Street. I did not want to see any dead body's. Most of the people I saw in my area were white walking down the street with new bright white clean sneakers with a hot beer in hand. But on the news they only showed blacks looting. I did go to Canal street a few days latter when I heard Canal Street was flooding I had to see this myself. And yes there was a few feet of water in the street coming from the lake side of the city. By this time I was living off of candy bars , chips and crackers and my gallon of water a day. I was taken a bath a few times a day using water in my tub and standing up in a shallow pan. It was hot as hell walking the streets, sitting, laying down or trying to go to sleep having to fight bugs and rapidly producing fly's for all of the food rotting in the streets.

After a few days of this madness people seemed to go crazy drinking hot beers and using drugs. One of the people that had stopped to talk to us lived in Faubourg Tremé the neighborhood behind the Quarter that I did not go into after dark before the Hurricane. He told us that the Government could not get fresh water or ice to us but every day the drug houses in Tremé were supplied with drug lords in water boats pulling up to homes. Drugs were ramped on the Streets of New Orleans during this time. It and hot beer seemed the only way for many people to cope with the problem at hand. I knew I had to keep a clear head to get thru this ordeal in one piece. I had never been offered drugs before in my life up until this time. I was offered drugs many times a day, I always turned them down. I found out Mike with the nice legs was a dope dealer, at night he had candlelight orgies with men and so called straight young men that had no money to pay for the drugs he gave them. People in my building used binoculars to look at his candle lit orgies. This certainly turned me off from him plus he had on the same pair of white shorts every day that got disgustingly dirty day by day with his clearing of the roads and sidewalks during the day. Now I know where he got all of his energy from. Someone in our group gave him a clean pair of shorts that he never put on.

The two young men that were hanging out with Mike. Were visiting our city from out of town. Days after the Hurricane one had fell on a rusty street sign and sliced under his eye 5 inches. He wore a crude patched over his eye as there was no Doctors to be had. He had told use that he was high when this had happen. Someone ease told us that a friend had overdosed in the Quarter and to cover it up the body was put in a swimming pool. Our pool in the courtyard had trees in it. But right after the storm a few people from the building went in to cool themselves off. The trashy woman with big breast seemed to be taking a bath in the pool. I remember Billy Bob saying with his country accent " She is washing her breast & ass out in the pool". I did see her rubbing on her breast as she had only a bra on up top. The next day the water was green like a swamp with green bubbles bursting as they made their way to the top. Billy Bob had commented that Trashy had did this to the pool washing herself off and out. But I knew the Trees & leaves that were in the pool probably had something to do with it.

Across the street to the corner was The Melrose Mansion a small luxury hotel that movie stairs stayed at. We met the person that was looking after the place and was invited to swim in the clean clear large pool. At the time our group included a lot of middle age gay men from the area. As we enjoyed our cool retreat two young woman spotted us thru the wall opening. They asked us if they could come into to the pool. We looked at each other. You could hear crickets chirping! Someone said no! they began to beg and we said yes but no more. As they ran around some Queen from the group said. Now we are going to have fish in the pool! The water will not be fresh for long! and we all laughed. The girls were high on some kind of drugs and spoke about all of the dead bodies they saw. By this time Skeletor, Belly Bobs boyfriend was walking around in a white jockstrap every day. It did not fare well as the days went on. Across the street one day we saw a sheriff's car pull up to the circle K ,4 obese good ole boy white men dressed in sheriff's outfits got out looking like they were right out of a movie about Mississippi, each carrying deer rifles, one keep a look out as the others tried to break into the atm & safe inside. We could see from the balcony unsuspecting people walking by asking the one outside for directions. The men were unsuccessful in getting the atm open. Plus too many people were stopping by to ask questions so they all left. They could see us on the balcony and I was scared for my life. People had tried to open the atm every day since the Hurricane. All day and night you could hear people banging on that thing. A few days later someone got it open as well as the safe in the back. I was so damn glad as all of the noise would stop. Billy Bob working in a circle K in the past informed us on how much money was kelp in each. I was glad someone had got the money as I was tired of hearing betting noise of people trying to break it day and night. Now if we could only get rid of the Helicopters. Days after the Hurricane buildings were on fire outside of the Quarter. We saw helicopter carrying water to put out the fires. I was scared that the 300 year old Quarter might burn down. By this time I had gas to cook with everyday, but because of the fires the gas was turned off about 4 days after the hurricane.

Word on the Streets were that everyone had to leave New Orleans by the middle of the week after the storm. A week after the Hurricane the Supperdome was being cleared. The problem still was how was I going to leave with my two dogs. Plus other people in my building and area had pet's. We had heard story's from people passing by of rescue people shooting pets as they tried to get people to leave there water lodged homes. The story's pored in. One young white guy that lived in the 9th ward told us he was trapped in his apt on the 2th floor when a helicopter landed on his roof at night. Army people were inside and tried to get him to go but he would not leave his dog. They told him if he would not go they would kill his dog. He quickly open food for his animal and went with the army people. but latter escape to tell use the story he had on a new pair of white shoes. We had heard the story of a large group of people 20 blocks up Esplanade Ave my street that were rescued. They left there pets in a School building with hand written notes on the walls with pets names and contact into. Someone, people say the army went in and killed all of the pet's, this was one of the few story's that made the news. I had to get out intact with my pets. But how? As the days went on few people were on the streets as they were being forced out . News spread that the few hanging out like myself would not leave without our beloved pets.

Belle & Lebeau


A rich Latin man originally from South America heard our cry. He was a big land developer living in Baton rouge. He was to charter a buss only for people with cats or dogs that would take use from New Orleans to Baton rouge the capitol of Louisiana. We would still have to wait a few day but that would give me time to pack and fortify my valuables. I packed my large collection of gold and diamond Georgian and Victorian jewelry in a shoe box. Some valuable pieces of porcelain worth over $20,000. A few small pieces of 18th century porcelain from Marie Antoinette's factory in Paris and only a few outfits. I had one large suitcase and a few bags. Billy Bob claimed he was handicapped and in bad heath. He did take a lot of pills. One day as a Army truck with attractive young men drove under our balcony and ask if we had anyone sick, he and his boyfriend tuck this as there time to leave. They put me in charge of there two cats. with info as how to have them shipped to his sister. Now I had 4 animals I had to look out for. Billy Bob and boyfriend were looking to start life over in San Francisco with there new found Fema money of $4,500 dollars. As I would never invite theses people over to a party I was having, we did share a bond for a week and got thru safe. Some kind of a way I was sad to see them go as we kelp ourselves entertained with funny stories and lot's of laughter. Now it was just me and Trashy in the building and a trashy man she had picked up off the streets. Over the next few days she and her man drink there meals which consisted of hot cheep beer.

Some of my collection of 18th & 19th c jewelry
Some of my collection of 18th & 19th c jewelry

Some of my collection of 18th & 19th c jewelry

Lord deliver me from this place. By this time there was a strong military presence in the city 5 to 6 days after the Hurricane. Soldiers marched down the streets and I felt a little safer but every night the air was full of gun fire. Mike from across the street had been calling friends in Upstate New York in my apt since my landline still worked. A interracial gay couple he had met in the city a few months ago at the bathhouse. One night Tim the black one had called my home asking for Mike across the street. It was curfew time but I agreed to go across the street to try and get Mike. I crossed the dark street and debris wondering if I was going to be shot and killed by a Government sharp shooter. I was unsuccessful in getting Mike. He was too busy with his drug induced candle lit orgies. I returned to talk back to Tim. He asked what I did and I told him I was a Artist and Antiques Dealer. He told me that he was a interior decorator. Also that his boyfriend Richard would be in Baton rouge in a few days to pick up Mike I was invited to come along. I thought I just might do that as I was intent on moving to Baltimore.

Billy Bob and boyfriend's cats I tuck care of enjoying fresh air on the balcony


My last few days in New Orleans was spent walking around my beloved city and trying to remember all of the good times and 3 parties a day I enjoyed. Luncheons during the daytime I was invited to. I hardly ever bought food because there was always some function to go to. I walked the streets with a middle aged gay man that was original from New York city. He had told us stories earlier of how he was addicted to crystal meth. He had loss over a hundred pounds only in a few months. He skin hung from his bones. He had, had sex for days on crystal meth and did not want to eat. He said that he found a young cute guy in the bath houses in New Orleans. They were boyfriends be he had left him a few days before the hurricane. This man was a very talented clothing designer. He showed me some of his beautiful watercolor drawings. He was moving back to New York city. We were interviewed by reporters from around the world on the streets.

Last night in the French Quarter view from my balcony

My messy bedroom last day in New Orleans

Jesus and Mary keeping looking out over my French Empire bed in a alcove

My messy parlor, last day in the French Quarter

Lebeau happy in my apt right after the Hurricane the last pic I have of him

New Orleans was like a ghost town. There were very few people on the streets, most military and press. The funny thing about Canal street was that all of the stores were looted except for Brooks Brothers. I could see the pink polo's and white linen pants still in the unbroken window. A joke was going around that Brooks Brothers was not looted because all of the Republican white men had left town before hand.

The next day I pulled a cart with bags, luggage, two cat taxies and two dogs behind me leaving my home. I was with Mike, Trashy and her mate. I was finally walking out with dignity with my pets. We went to Rampart Street to meet the chartered bus that would take us to Baton rouge. As Mike and I sat on the sidewalk waiting for the buss. I said I can't believe I made it thru all of this without having drugs. Mike open a container and offered me pills. I turned him down. The press from all over the world showed to interview and take pic of our pets. When the bus arrived we were informed that because the bus was rented all animals had to go in boxes. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen but I had to tape my two dogs into boxes with there heads out.

Soon we were on our way. The drive from New Orleans to Baton rouge takes one hour but this ride tuck 8 long hours. I could see the devastation with trees and homes from the Hurricane all the way there. We arrived in Baton rouge at night at the LSU campus. The Agricultural building was set up as a makeshift animal shelter. I dropped off the cats and my two dogs in a cow pin. Mike also dropped his dogs off. After I said goodbye and was leaving my male dog lebeau had dug his way out of the pin Belle my female had followed him. They were barking at two teenage volunteer girls that were helping out. I grabbed both by their ears and pulled them back in the pin. We put bricks in the dug out hole Lebeau had made. This would be the last time I would see him.

After we were finished Mike and I tried to locate Richard. We finally did. Richard a 6"4 tall light blond, blue eyes mid western guy was in his late 40's but looked younger. He was very nice to us and he was one of those few people you meet in life that seems like you have known them your hole life. He had been driving two days straight from Upstate New York to Baton rouge. He was tired but we were told there was not a room to be had in a 100 miles of Baton rouge. Mike went back to get his dogs and I was offered a chance to get my dogs but I had to get settled first in Baltimore and decided to leave them. Plus the dodge durango was packed. We drove for hours thru Mississippi. Mike know a gay plastic surgeon that lived in Greenville Mississippi. He tried calling him but he did not pick up. It was 2 or 3am in the morning. Finely he answered and invited us over for the night.

We arrived to a nice modern townhouse in a gated community. The Dr was a middle aged gay men that had a 20 year old something living with him. His home was very comfortable compared to my mosquitoes infested apt. The Dr only had one bedroom. He offered his bed to me and Richard. We did not know each other that long but we both were tired. We looked at each other got into the plush king size bed and went to sleep. Mike the Dr and young guy had sex and did cocaine all night. I checked my emails the next day for the first time in a week and a half. I had over 400 emails. We had coffee. Mike had informed us that he was staying with the Dr. I sure to do drugs and have sex. I was happy he was staying as I and Richard thought the whole trip up the to the East Coast would be us stopping at gay men's homes he know having sex and drugs. Richard did not know Mike was into all of this. Him and his boyfriend had offered Mike to come stay on there 40 acre property in Upstate New York with his two dogs as long as he wanted to, to clear his head. He turned this down for sex and drugs. As I packed my bags in the car Richard gave me $500. cash. I turned it down. He told me to take it as he had donated by phone but did not know where the money was going to. He and his boyfriend Tim wanted to put it in someone's hands from New Orleans. He told me he also gave Mike $500. I can wonder where he spent his money. Richard Told me that for the rest of the trip he would pay for hotels and food. I was thankful that I had made it out and had found the right people at the right time.

Part three coming soon, Southern Baptist, Baltimore and New York city!

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