Join Date: Jan 2005
This is really difficult for me to write, but I am sure I am not the only one in the cosplay community in this situation or worse. I am from Mississippi, around Hattiesburg if you know where that is, not too far from the Gulf Coast. This past week has been surreal for me, and I was not even among those who were most devastated by this storm. Needless to say, I did not get to attend Dragoncon, nor did any of my group who were going with me.
I was lucky--my home suffered minimal damage, but remains without power or phone service. My saving grace is that I work for one of the largest hospitals in south Mississippi, so I have been staying here mostly where we just got Internet capabilities back.
The hurricane hit on my work week on August 29th. I, like many others, came in early on the 28th. Since then, I have only been home for about 24 hours. The hospital lost power and water, leaving its 500+ patients and 100+ staff in 90 degree heat unable to bathe or flush toilets. Bottled water was distributed, and has been every day thus far, as it is still unsafe to drink the water here. One, if not more, of our generators failed during the first day, leaving our food stores to spoil in the heat. Food suddenly became an issue in my life in a way that I never thought it would. The question of whether or not we would have enough to eat was frightening at first, but everyone pulled together to help ration what we could and some was even brought from outside sources. I was amazed at everyone's spirit during this time. We were all exhausted, sweating, and dirty, but we were all in it together.
During the first couple of days, we were not hearing much in the way of news. We knew that the Gulf Coast and New Orleans has suffered extensive damage and were in a perilous situation, and many of us, myself included, were still wondering if our friends and relatives were alive. Since then, I have discovered that my relatives on the coast are okay, but I still have not heard from my friend who was going to attend DragonCon with us. In my heart, I believe that she is still alive, but I am almost certain that she is now without a job and a home.
Our hospital had to evacuate over one-fifth of our patients as we could no longer care for them. I hear that today we will be readmitting people that are coming from the coast, and possibly New Orleans. Water and power here in the hospital have been restored, but another critical problem in our area remains--GAS. It's something you take for granted in your life, and something you like to complain about paying $2.50-3.00 for. But it has never been so important before. Emergency vehicles need it and medical workers need it--hell--everyone needs it. Many of the gas stations in our area have been demolished by Katrina, and many more still lack power. But even when the power returns to those still standing, people rush them, staying in lines for sometimes up to 6 hours just to find it was for nothing when the station runs out of gas.
As a medical worker, I was able to get 10 gallons at one discreet location that was guarded by an official with a rifle. I know it doesn't sound like much, but seeing that just hits you--this is serious--this is for real--and this is scary. One story I heard about a man shooting his sister over a bag of ice, I just could not believe. But it is all real.
I'm going home today for the first time in 4 or 5 days, so I won't be able to respond to this for a couple of days until I return to work.
I'm sorry if this doesn't belong here, but my initial purpose was to let everyone at D*Con know why my friends and I were not there. Trust me, I wish I was there right now. I wish I had been there all weekend long. My heart is sad for it, but I cannot focus too much on my lost vacation when there are people near me who have lost their homes, their jobs, or much more.
I hope you all had a blast, and I hope I will be able to attend next year--I still have my ticket for this year, after all. I hope I can exchange it for one next year. And, please, do not complain too much for the gas prices in Atlanta. Many areas are shipping much-needed gas to the areas affected by the hurricane. This probably includes Atlanta.
Thanks for hearing me out-
It's an omen. It's a higher power, trying to tell me through bunnies that we're all gonna die. Oh God!