My employ at the Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans in the freshman years and weeks later Hurricane Katrina are the call attention to of my occupation both a catastrophe respondent and a learned profession paid. Surprisingly, it is not the certainty that I reorganized sorting along Integrated Triage guidelines, nor the lives salvageable in the scalding charge tent, but the existence that reached out and tinged me that is my record treasured and mortifying reminiscence.
It was the tertiary day of dealings in the field. The getaway string was static improbably toiling near 80 to 90 evacuees incoming all 10 minutes. Thanks to the sorting process, those requiring learned profession concern were promptly split from the providential bulk who single needful carriage to a safer inner-city. One of those not so heaven-sent was "Mattie." "Mattie" was 90 time of life old, or better, 90 years immature. She had been saved from the territorial dominion of her den in the inundated Ninth Ward. "Mattie" had not been able to evacuate disdain the fact that she was in unmatched health. Prior to the tropical storm she cared for the house where she had elevated her offspring and grandchildren. This spirited generator even cut her prairie with a jolt garden tool.
"Mattie" had seen the gale damage her neck of the woods and her domicile. Just once she content the worst had past, the barrier gave way and her house without delay awash erstwhile the safekeeping of the second level. "Mattie" sought safety in her territorial dominion wherever she waited for serve for cardinal years.
When the Coast Guard delivery jock repelled onto her protection with a tie up saw and cut a hole, "Mattie" disorganised into the insubstantial and the ready and waiting artillery of her flying spiritual being. "Matte" arrived at the airport dried out and sounding really ill. Despite this, she had a bright smirk that grew larger as the endovenous fluids and Gatorade began to thieve outcome. Soon "Mattie" was seated up on her animal group and thanking us for future to back her urban.
"Doc, would you commune with me?"
"Mattie's" behest left me a insignificant mortified. I am a commit Catholic, but I am not fain to state-supported displays of perseverance. "Mattie's" beam was even so overpowering.
"Of education I will 'Mattie'!"
"Mattie" began: "Dear Lord, delight call down Dr. Ramirez..."
I was outraged and confused. Here was someone who had lost her home, her alliance and for all she knew her family circle yet she was praying for me! Most those would be express God for their difficulty. Even those whose creed was compelling would pray for their own wants. Here was this unthinkable female person praying for me.
"Mattie" continued: "... and the larger-than-life men and women who have come up here to lend a hand us in our time unit of call for. Surely they are present doing your will. They are your angels present on Earth. Amen"
"Angels" I had never been suggestion of as an "angel." I knew I was far from an "angel." I saved myself agaze at the flooring in disgrace. I had come with here to accomplish my necessitate to serve, to be a component of thing momentous for me as markedly as for those I served. Now this female reminded me that my utility for one was far greater.
"Mattie" shortly fabric rugged plenty to support and hike. Soon she moved out us to voyage to a safer city, but past she departed she denatured my life. My mental representation of Katrina is of an angel who visited me in those tenebrific days, an angel I telephone "Mattie."
(excepted from my book, Blowin' Through the Big Easy: Memories of Katrina)