While Fields and Floods … Repeat the Sounding Joy

On Saturday morning, Amanda and I took the kids to the church to string some lights for the Christmas party that evening.

The party was from 5-7, but Amanda wanted to get there early to finish preparing since she was in charge of the activity. Penny was still asleep, so Amanda took my car to pick up her husband and go to the church around 4. I would get the kids ready and bring them in the Jeep at 5. Somewhere between 4 and 5, this happened:

This photo is actually from my friend, Breanna, who lives two streets over. A very similar scene met me when I opened our front door. So here I am at the house with my sister’s two kids and a flooded street and not quite sure what to do. Do I try to go to the church? Or stay home with Penny crying for her mom all night. (sidenote: Penny is usually very good when I stay home with her, but it’s hard for her to wake up to no mama and no food supply.) After a phone call to Mike and Amanda, we decided to try it.

So I take the kids back upstairs so I can roll up my pants and put on some flip-flops. Then I tell Peter to wait inside while I run Penny out to the car. Then I go back for Peter. The water is up to my knees, and I am thinking that this is totally insane. I drive down our street (a one way headed toward the river), but I only go about two blocks when I am met by a woman standing in the middle of the road who won’t let anyone drive past. I roll down the window to ask if the water is to deep and she yells at me, “The weight of your car is flooding my house!!!” Ok. new approach. I go down a dead end to turn around and attempt going up one street over (which leads away from the river, but usually floods worse than our street). But a car is blocking the crossroad, so I drive the wrong way up our street for a block and then cross over to the other road. I drive up for two blocks, but then I come to another man standing in the middle of the road, not allowing any cars to pass. I wind up going the wrong way up our road until I come to Claiborne, the main road that I am hoping is dry. I had to pass two other cars that sent sheets of water over the jeep and drive in between a rogue garbage can and a boat parked on the side of the road.

Claiborne still had a lot of water, but at least it wasn’t past the tires, so we made it all the way to the church. Luckily, Penny and Peter were so good in the car! Pete thought it was such an adventure and Penny just cooed. I was so relieved because I was already stressed about the situation, an anxiety that didn’t really leave me the whole night.

Despite the weather, we had an excellent turnout to our little party and it was worth the trip. My favorite part was the nativity scene with all the little kids. They were so adorable… even when one of the shepherds opened his umbrella. In fact, especially then.

The party was picnic-style and felt very warm and cozy with the flooding outside. We sang carols, and the line from Joy to the World in the title seemed especially appropriate.

Since several hours had passed, we hoped that the water in our street would be down by the time we got home. Usually these floodings are short-lived and since St. Charles and Napoleon didn’t have water, we were feeling good. But our neighborhood was still completely flooded. In fact, police were there now, blocking off the section and the neutral ground (a median in the middle of the road) was completely full of cars. We talked to some Tulane students standing outside and asked about the conditions. They told us not to attempt going down there because they had just walked all the way from Tulane (about 10 blocks) in water up to their thighs. Bummer. We ended up spending an hour or two at some another friend’s house who lived on higher ground. But around 10:00, we just wanted to get home, so even though it was still raining (and therefore, most likely still flooded), we thought we would attempt it. We tried accessing our street from Claiborne, but it was still barricaded off, though the cops were gone now. We ended up going several blocks around and driving through several feet of water, but we made it home!

Poor Mike, though, who had my little car… he went back to work for a while until the water went down. Finally made it home around 2 a.m. Let’s hope it doesn’t flood again for a while. Two days this week is a little too much excitement.



  1. melodydays · December 14, 2009

    Holy Crap girl! That’s CRAZY!!! Glad you’re safe and sound. What an adventure!

  2. Tom · December 14, 2009

    What a night!

    I’m intrigued by the idea that driving a car between connected streets could flood someone’s house–meaning I’m unconvinced. Maybe something about the wake? In any event, I suspect the people of New Orleans are entitled to their opinions given that worse can (and does) happen.

    You’re a trooper all the same, though.

  3. Tom · December 14, 2009

    PS: I hope someone saved that poor kid from the umbrella!

    • ktelaine · December 14, 2009

      yes, it was both the wake from driving and how the weight of the vehicle raised the water that the lady objected to. i don’t blame her, i guess, but roads are public, yo.

      and we got the little boy out eventually.

  4. kellie · December 14, 2009

    Ok, scary! But also, AWESOME! I love the stories you have to tell, and glad you take a moment to tell them. You are awesome.

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