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Your e-mails: Hurricane Katrina

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CNN.com asked readers to share their thoughts about Hurricane Katrina. Here is a sampling from the responses, some of which have been edited:

I live on the coast of North Carolina and my heart goes out to any and everyone that has to live with what Hurricane Katrina has just done to the Gulf Coast. When I hear the word 'hurricane' on TV, I live in fear of wondering where it will go, but also being relieved that it does not come towards me but so sad that someone else has. As they have all said, we all live and wait, and I pray to God that I will wait a long time and never have to live through it. I will give blood or donate where I can and pray for them all as they would do for me.
Dawn Clark
Newport, North Carolina

There was a Saint in New Orleans during the wrath of Hurricane Katrina and his name is Joe Horn, pro football player for the New Orleans Saints. As I sat in my room at the Hilton Riverside, New Orleans, on Saturday two days before Katrina was scheduled to directly hit New Orleans I weeped while I phoned home to North Carolina, to speak with my mother and my children. It had been confirmed that my flight was cancelled along with that of my husband and 50 others. We all were frantically trying to evacuate. I sobbed as I was told by each rental car company that there were no cars available. I thought I was trapped. But, unbeknownst to me my mother had placed a call to Joe Horn to see if he could help. I hadn't spoken to him in over 20 years. Joe was a friend of my sister's in high school and had always kept in touch with my mother. This wonderful man personally came to pick up my husband and I and arranged for his driver to drive us from New Orleans to Atlanta, Georgia, at his expense, at which point we could fly on to Fayetteville, North Carolina. I'm still amazed at his generosity and I will always be grateful to him. There is truly a saint in New Orleans!! Thank you, Joe Horn. You're my hero!!
Aleta Quinones
Fayetteville, North Carolina

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I have my aunt, uncle and two cousins and my uncle's family in New Orleans. My aunt went to the hospital where she works with my two cousins, and my uncle went to the hospital where he works and we have not heard from my aunt since about 9 a.m. this morning. We are all praying for everyone in New Orleans and everywhere else Hurricane Katrina hits, for everyone's safety and well-being. Just to hear my aunt's voice on the phone will be enough for me to know that everyone is OK.
Tracy Telford
Ontario, Canada

Hurricane Camille hit on my 13th birthday. The eye went through our home town of Pass Christian, Mississippi, on August 17, 1969. We lived just a few yards from the Gulf of Mexico, but fled for higher ground, a few miles north in Deslile. My family of eight survived that night in a small stone farm house. The roar of the wind is something you would never forget. I remember hearing that gusts got up to 210 mph. Don't know if that is accurate. It took several hours to travel just a few miles the next day to our home near the beach. Nothing looked familiar. Everything had been ravaged by wind and water. But, our house was still standing. Built in 1900, I wonder if it has held up to Katrina. We lost many family friends on that day in 1969. Still fresh in my memory was the stench. My parents are at home now in Mandeville, Louisiana, on the north shore from New Orleans. They could not evacuate. We are praying for their safety. We can't get through on the phone lines.
Melanie Hughes
Dallas, Texas

Thirteen years ago, a hurricane turned my life upside down. I was 15 at the time when Andrew came plowing through Homestead. I remember my mom telling me to pack only necessities because we were evacuating. My mom's husband and one of my brothers were staying behind to keep watch over the house but my mom and I were leaving just to be safe. When we woke up the next morning we were trying to get any information we could, from the radio or TV, anything. News reports slowly trickled in that Homestead had been destroyed. We came home a few days later and driving down there was almost unbearable. I remember spray paint on all the houses with insurance information. I remember all the trees that were left standing with no branches. When we finally arrived at our house, I was speechless. The outer walls of our house were standing, but that was it. The insides were ripped to shreds and there was pink insulation all over everything. That storm tore our lives apart and there was really nothing we could do about it. Every time I see a storm on TV now, I get a little jumpy. I feel so much heartache for what I know the people of Louisiana and Mississippi are about to experience. It's nothing you can imagine until it's your things scattered all over the lawn. Something that you hope your children will never have to go through and hope that you will not have to go through that much devastation more than once in your lifetime.
Heather O'Neil
Ocala, Florida

I was a resident of New Orleans for 28 years and most of my family are still there. I know the fear of a hurricane, and especially of one of this magnitude. I remember my parents taking my siblings and I to higher ground and us "waiting" it out. I have been on pins and needles since waking up to the devastating news of a Category 5 storm yesterday morning. My father decided to ride out this storm to protect his property and animals. The last time we spoke, it was this morning at 7:15 a.m. (CT) and my father admitted that him staying was a bad idea and the weather was already really bad and it was going to get worse. I cannot get in touch with him, my mother or my siblings at this point because the phone lines are down. Praying in N.C. right now for the least amount of damage.
Lisa Whitley
Whitsett, North Carolina

I was only 11 when Hurricane Betsy hit. We lived in a mobile home on the river in Belle Chasse, about 2 blocks from the levee. Houses all around us were destroyed. Ours had a window (frame and all) pull out, slide under the house unbroken and no water damage. I remember a young woman with a newborn baby fighting the winds to get into the school, she slipped and threw the baby and a man who should have been drafted by the NFL caught that baby flying through the mud...my Dad. The lady broke her leg and couldn't get to a hospital. Betsy made my father a hero to me from that day forward.
Pamela Aletky
Galveston, Texas

I would like to see a story about how much money or aid the people of New Orleans receive from "our friends" in other countries after the hurricane is over. The taxpayers in this country always give. Let's see how much help our people get to rebuild their homes and businesses.
Daniel J. Durkee
New London, Connecticut

I'm in Texas but my family is in Carriere, Mississippi, and they have taken a lot of damage. I was talking to my aunt a few minutes ago and she was surveying her damage to the house and had her doors open. I heard a noise and she started laughing and said that a pregnant goat just ran through her house. She said that she hoped it didn't go into labor before she could get it out. I just thought that maybe with all the bad news you are hearing that maybe this would at least give you one thing to laugh about.
Grace Ball
Katy, Texas

I am in Pennsylvania, my son is at Pascagoula Naval Station in Mississippi. He has been keeping me informed via cellphone. Electricity went out this morning. The first floor of his barracks is flooded. Cars are submerged. His building...has sustained cracked windows and broken sky lights. He and his shipmates were standing out on a balcony. I could "hear" Katrina in the background. This is scary to say the least but he seems to be OK. I'm holding up the best I can. The time in between phone calls is difficult, while seeing the path of destruction on TV. Katrina's rain will hit Pennsylvania sometime tomorrow night. We need rain desperately but not at this cost.
Jane
Scranton, Pennsylvania

I was a teenager in New Orleans during Betsy. I remember the media calling for people to come with their boats to rescue people from rooftops in the 9th Ward. They asked that you not take up room in the boats with any bodies, just survivors. Very scary! My family is still there, most are safely out of the way. One sister works at the zoo. They will be going back to see about the animals ASAP, but it is a grim prospect as to what they will find... It is impossible to evacuate the hundreds of animals. My daughter and granddaughter live one mile from Lake Pontchartrain. She is already making plans to move to Georgia as they will have nothing after the storm.
Pat McCall
Guyton, Georgia

Although we have never been through a hurricane, in Iowa we have been through life-changing tornadoes. I, as well as millions of others, will be praying for you and hoping that this storm does not do the expected damage that has been predicted. If at all possible, I will find a way to help New Orleans recover from its damages. Just remember New Orleans was founded in 1718 and no storm, whether it be Category 5 or 15, is going to take it away from us. God bless you!
Catherine
Marshalltown, Iowa

My husband and I were on our honeymoon last week in Florida when Katrina hit. We were right in the thick of it in Fort Lauderdale when it came thundering in Thursday night. Pieces of our balcony at the hotel came crashing down and a bunch of trees fell down around our car in the parking lot. The eeriest part though was all of the traffic lights being out. We spent two hours driving around looking for breakfast, and another hour looking for an open gas station. Every one was closed. We only got to see the beach from the airplane window as we left. It was quite an adventure!
Jacqueline Brown
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania

I am astounded at the number of people "left behind" in New Orleans. In a worst case scenario, as I understand it, there are tens of thousands of people [that]could drown. Why were there no Army trucks transporting convoy after convoy of these people to at least leave us being able to say, "We did the best we could"?
Mike Watson
Charlotte, North Carolina

As I sit here in Baghdad, Iraq, with the U.S. Army, watching the hurricane head straight to New Orleans, I am left feeling worried and helpless. Though I now live in Georgia, I grew up in New Orleans. The majority of my family and several friends live in and around the New Orleans area (thankfully they have evacuated to other locations). My heart certainly goes out to everyone in the center of this massive hurricane. I've experienced numerous hurricanes throughout the years but I think this one scares me most, especially since it is so closely compared to Camille. I'm just hopeful that New Orleans will not bear the brunt of the storm as predicted and is spared once again. I wish there was something I could do but watching it on the news and reading about the hurricane on the Internet is all I can do at the time. I definitely pray for the safety of everyone in and around New Orleans and all the surrounding areas affected by the hurricane. My thoughts and prayers are with y'all during this time.
Yvette LaChute
Baghdad, Iraq

I'm watching Internet coverage of Katrina's approach to the Plaquemines Parish coastline. I shake my head in disbelief as I recall how a simple Friday flight to Dallas to visit my brother and his family could turn into one of the most grueling waits of my life. I'm just hoping my second-floor apartment in Chalmette (5 miles east of New Orleans) will be there upon my return. However, I'm fully ready to lose my worldly possessions for assurance that my friends and family will be kept safe. I know it's all completely in God's hands now, and I'm OK with that.
Kenny Tucker
Chalmette, Louisiana

I am a New Orleans police officer who is stranded in London, unable to get home to my job and family. I came to London to participate in a charity event to raise money for the London bombing victims. I participated in a charity event with 51 others to complete a run on the entire London Underground in 20 hours. I was the only participant from the United States and wanted to do something to help the UK since they had 7/7 and we had 9/11. I felt very humbled to be able to participate. Now, I am sitting in London unable to get home to my family, my police department and my city. I feel helpless not being able to do what I am trained to do and love to do. I can only watch CNN and get the info I need and dread. I left my city and will not know when I can return or what it will be like. My new friends, (who now I call family) have given me support over the last day or so. Also, the kindness shown to me when people hear about my fears. I just felt I needed to write.
Tami Brisset
New Orleans, Louisiana

My 83+ year-old mother is in a car somewhere between Jena and Winnfield in Louisiana. She and her 70+ companion, Ed, left New Orleans. They will probably spend the night in the car because they did not have a plan for their evacuation nor did they call to make a reservation anywhere. My mother's house is three blocks from Lake Pontchartrain in Metairie. By tomorrow afternoon she may be homeless with the clothes on her back. My sister and her husband were supposed to be taking shelter in a hotel near Veterans Highway in Metairie. We have not been able to contact them since this morning. They may be homeless by tomorrow. My nephew is in Birmingham, Alabama. He recently moved back to New Orleans. He is still trying to sell his house in Georgia. He has already purchased a house in Metairie. He will be lucky, sort of, if he can go to the house in Georgia after tomorrow. My son is on a ship in the Gulf of Mexico. His ship is running at 10 knots to the WSW to get away from the storm. Tomorrow the world will change for all of us.
David Bowman
Austin, Texas

I understand everyone is currently focused on the protection of life and personal property at the current moment. However, I work supporting the oil and gas industry. Sitting at our dinner table this evening, we began discussing the effects of Katrina on the gasoline refineries in the path of the storm. As everyone watches New Orleans, I think someone needs to put it into perspective the damage Katrina will do to the price of oil and gas, nationally.
C. James Callaway
New Orleans, Louisiana

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