Shone (II): "He was like, no, I can't see it, I don't have time."

Shone’s terrible experience did not end when the water receded from her mother’s house. This part of her story picks up later in the day on August 29, 2005, after Hurricane Katrina had died down:

We sat in the livin’ room for a while. We was like, nobody’s gonna be able to move around until tomorrow. We started planin’ to find some dry stuff to make beds and stuff like that. And I was sittin’ on this cooler, but it was like right by a window. And I told my friend, he was sittin’ on a refrigerator that floated from the kitchen to the living room. The blind was still down, and I was like, I see some’in’ green movin’. I said, look out that window. He was like, I don’t think nobody out there. My mama was like, nobody’s out there. And he lifted up the window. He said, yeah there some people out here. And we started yellin’ help, and they came over. It was some firemen. And they was like, do y’all wanna get out. You was like, yeah, there’s nothin’ else for us to do in here. Yeah, we want to get out, we definitely want to get out.

They had to take us out and take us around this house we had smashed into. It took me so long because none of us had shoes, and the mud was so thick, we kept slidin’. So I was like, I’m a get off the concrete sidewalk. I’m a walk in the grass. And it would be better for me. A few feet more, I fell in a well up to my neck.

So we sittin’ there. I’m tryin’ a get out the well. They was pullin’ me. I was like, let me go. Let me pull out the well with just my arms. And this other fireman came runnin’ over, and he was like, where is the hole, I don’t see the hole. He fell in a hole, in the well with me.

So finally we got out the well. He was like, you not gonna be able to walk through here without no shoes on because nails and boards was everywhere. He was like, I want you to sit on this porch, and he was like, we gonna come back and get you. And he ran up to the front, he told my friend, we need you to sit here with her. We gonna send somebody back for y’all.

We set there until 9:00 the next day [Tuesday morning].

But there was nowhere to go. Everything was down. Trees was down. One end of the street was blocked. We couldn’t get through it cause trees and boats and stuff was every where.

So we set there and set there. They never came back and got us. They never came back to check on us. So finally I was like, we can’t stay down here no longer. I said, it’s gettin’ dark again. Cause I was scared that night, because anythin’ coulda happened down there. So I kept askin’ people, and people was like, I don’t have a car, I’m just tryin’ to get through here to check on my house, this and that.

Finally I said, here come a ride. It was a state trooper.

Next door to my mom lives a state trooper. And over on the other side of the street is a state trooper. I went to school with them. So when he pulled in I said, Jason. I said, could you please give me a ride outa here. He was like, no, I can’t see it, I don’t have time. He was like, I got things to do. He was like, no. I said, I need a ride outa here. I said, I’ve been down here all night. He said, I can’t see it. I called him by name because, like I said, I watched him grow up.

So he went around the corner, and when he came back I was still standin’ on that corner. He at least had two people on a side of him, and it was like five in the back. Filled up his car with white people.

And he just rode off. I set there like three more hours, and finally a guy and his wife came through and gave me a ride home.

I thought I was gonna have to stay there all night.

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Shone (I): "The wind was blowin' so hard, we thought those kids was gonna get blowed out the attic."

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DSCN1117, originally uploaded by BenTG.

I interviewed Shone in her East Biloxi apartment on Elmira Dr, which had some relatively minor water damage during Katrina. During the hurricane, however, Shone was at her mother’s house*, in the East Biloxi neighborhood known as The Point. Local writer, Linda Saxon Nix, explains that The Point is

the peninsula that juts out between the Back Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, where Biloxi was first settled and where Old Biloxi is located… “The Point” is where our seafood industry started, and where all of the seafood factories were until casinos came in and took their places, and where a few still are located if they are still standing.

Shone had her six children—ages two, three, four, six, thirteen, and sixteen—with her at her mother’s house. Also with them were one of Shone’s sisters, age thirty-four; two of shone’s nephews, ages four and six; and Shone’s friend, age twenty-eight. Shone is thirty-two years old. This excerpt from her story begins on Monday morning, August 29, 2005.

I got up around 6:30 or 7:00 and I went into the bathroom to take a bath, and I was in there for like twenty minutes, and when I came out, it was a mess . That’s how quick it came. That’s how quick the storm came. And my mom was standin’ there, and she was like, I think y’all, I think you need to come to the living room. We all need to be in one room. And we all went in the living room and set down.

One of my kids was looking out the window and she was like, the yard next door is flooded. So we got up and looked out the window, and it was flooded, but my mom said it always happens. Then about five minutes later, my other daughter say, ginny, it’s water on the floor of the kitchen. And she [Shone’s mother] said, it always happens, it does that. That door leaks. Just a matter of seconds, my other daughter got up off the floor and said ginny, I don’t think so. There was water runnin’ under the TV. It was pushin’ the TV to the couch. That’s how quick the water was comin’ in.

By this time we thought it would be safer if we took the kids back to the back room and start puttin’ em up on the washer and dryer. While we was back there, I was sittin’ on the couch. The water was comin’ up on my legs. And it looked like the house was gettin’ ready to flip over. So my sister was like, I think we need to get these kids to the attic. So we all started passin’ the kids to get them to the attic. We got ’em up in the attic. By this time, one side of the house blew out. That’s what made the house level back and not flip over.

And I had all my kids in the attic. My sister was in the attic and my friend was in the attic. But one of my kids didn’t go up. The sixteen year old didn’t go up. I didn’t go up, and my mom didn’t go up. And the only reason why my mom didn’t go up ’cause she didn’t want to leave me down there. But I’m six foot. That water was to my chest in the bottom of the house.

So we waded around in that water. We was listenin’ to the radio, hopin’ that it would go out. And me bein’ hystericcal, I could hear some screamin’, and I was like, Mama. I said, there’s somebody outside screamin’, and she was like no, it was just your imagination. She was like, you havin’ one of your attacks. I said, no, I could hear ’em screamin’. And one of those little kids said, I hear a cat outside. That’s how I knew I wasn’t goin’ crazy.

Come to find out it was two little girls who drowned in their front yard.

So we just sat around and sat around. The wind was blowin’ so hard, we thought those kids was gonna get blowed out the attic. My sister tried to kick the front of the house out. She was like, it’s a boat outside. We gonna try to make to this boat. My mama was like, no, we don’t need to separate. If we do, somethin’s gonna happen. So waited and waited, waited. Finally that water started goin’ out.

It took about two hours for it to go out. When it all went out, everybody was just relieved and drained. But it took two hours for that water to go out of there.

And we opened the door, and the house was in the next yard. The porch was way over there with a boat on it.

The whole house, the whole house. A three bedroom house. It floated to the next yard. That’s the only thing that kept us from floating down the street was the next house. It pushed up against that.

I don’t ever want to go through that again. Never.

*The link does not reflect the actual street location of Shone’s mother’s home. The red marker is meant only as a reference point, to indicate the general area of the neighborhood.

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