By Debra and April Divine

Now let’s be honest. None of us knew if the levees were going to hold. It was predicted for early Sunday August 29, 2021, a hurricane would hit New Orleans (NOLA) again. This time Hurricane Ida. It would be 16 years to the date of Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana was bracing for a rough ride.
Residents in NOLA were asked to leave or get ready to hunker down.

The winds were predicted to be upwards of 150 miles per hour, a category 4 hurricane compared to Katrina’s category 5. Homes were boarded up and Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans addressed the people of her city. I watched TV in Vail, AZ. The news, like squirrels ran. Our monsoons and high temperatures paled in comparison.

My thoughts and prayers were with the people in New Orleans and neighboring communities. Of great concern was my daughter April, just 40 miles north of NOLA. Would she be okay? Be safe? I reached out to April Saturday, the day before the predicted hurricane would touchdown.

April: Hi mom. How are you?
Me: April, are you going to higher ground? Drive the car 3-4 hours north. There’s a terrible hurricane predicted for tomorrow.
April: I know. My neighbors and I decided to stay put and hunker down. I’m looking forward to the adventure. I’ve got plenty of canned food, water, and a generator. We’ll use flashlights and candles. We’re taking all precautions.
And then Sunday morning came. I texted and called my daughter.
Me: Are you okay April? Everything okay?
April: Yes the hurricane hit like predicted. Don’t know if the temperature dropped or sky turned. Last I remember the sky was blue. Trees sounded like gun shots as they toppled over. Backyards have become flooded ponds. The runoff from the levees had to go somewhere. A neighbor witnessed an alligator swimming in an otherwise quiet neighborhood except for the copper head snake behind my property. That snake is in a small pond and when I walk Maggie, we have to be careful.
Me: Wow. I suppose you have no electricity or water.
April: No on generator. I’m using my phone sparingly.
Me: Anything else to report?
April: Yes as a matter of fact. About 3-4 in the morning of the hurricane, when the water was coming to the door, we heard a scream. It lasted for 15 minutes. We took a flashlight and went outside to the porch.
Me: A scream?
April: Yes a scream. It wouldn’t let up. In the dirt was a… a baby squirrel.
Me: Baby squirrel?

Look for Part 2 in next month’s The Vail Voice!

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