What made him unique is that only a few days
earlier, Scott, a New Orleans native, rode out Hurricane Katrina
at his father’s house on the outskirts of the city, while
his mother and three older sisters evacuated. He and his father
were confident about staying behind because it was made of
brick and they had a generator, food, and access to the news.
I think a lot of people didn’t think it would be that bad,” said
Although there was flooding, none of it got into his father’s
house. However, Scott worried about his mother’s house
which was several blocks closer to the heart of the city. Scott’s
suitcases, with the rest of his school stuff, packed and ready
to go to Hawai‘i, were strategically placed in the attic
of his mother’s house. It might just as well have been
on the moon.
My mom was finally able to go back to her house and she called
to tell me that the water went right up to the doorstep,” said
Scott. “But not in the house.”
Scott is unsure when he will get all his belongings here in Hawai‘i,
so he said he has been “sporting HPU clothing.”
When I landed, my resident advisor took me to Wal-Mart to go
shopping,” said Scott.
He praises the school for being so considerate. The bookstore
gave Scott free books for this semester and some free clothing
to help hold him over until his suitcases arrive. Scott mentions
in particular that Assistant Director Scott Liedtke, Bookstore
Manager Shellee Heen, and his resident advisors have been very
helpful in his time of trouble.
After Hurricane Katrina ripped through the city, people started
looting, and that’s when Scott began to worry for his safety.
We saw some guys throw a mailbox at a store window and break
into the store to take stuff,” said Scott. “After
I saw the looting, I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.”
He recalls the National Guardsmen coming in on the third day
to bring water, ice, and Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). According
to Scott, there were not enough guardsmen to keep the city under
control and to help rescue those trapped by the flood and hurricane.
In the days that followed Hurricane Katrina, no one was allowed
into New Orleans, and Scott’s father’s truck was
not working, so he had to be creative about evacuating the city.
Scott found a bicycle and rode it about 20 miles out of New Orleans
until a man with a truck picked him up and brought him to Baton
Rouge where he was reunited with his mom and one of his sisters.
According to Scott, the man driving the truck had been stopping
along the way to pick up anyone he could help get out of the
When I got to Baton Rouge I was so happy to turn on the light
switch and have it work,” said Scott.
The temperature in New Orleans was in the 90s and very humid. “It
was uncomfortable because when you sleep, you are sweating,” said
After making sure his mom and sister were fine, he flew out of
Shreveport, on the northeast tip of Louisiana, heading for O‘ahu.
I kind of didn’t want to leave,” said Scott. “I
felt bad for leaving and I didn’t know how my mom’s
house was when I left.”
Scott knows of people who have relocated and are starting their
lives somewhere new. His mother was talking about moving as well,
because she does not want to deal with the hurricanes in the
As for the political repercussions, he said, “I think this
whole Democratic/Republican blame game is ridiculous.”
He thought Mayor Ray Nagin did a good job. However, Scott feels
there were too many people trying to organize the efforts, and
not enough people to carry them out. There was a sense of chaos
not only amongthe citizens, but also among the police. The news
reports say about a third of the force is still unaccounted for.
I think it’s honorable for those police that stayed,” said
Scott. “But you can’t blame people for wanting to
save their families.”
Scott is majoring in oceanography, and his home away from home
is Melia dorm. Scott said he misses the southern food and will
not be returning to New Orleans until Christmas break.
Despite all his troubles, there is some good news. “Well,
my dad will have a lot of work after this,” said Scott. “He’s