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Aug 09

We are just days away from the five-year anniversary of Katrina. It’s hard to believe.

Time speeding up is a symptom of getting old anyway, but it’s hard to picture how some things were five years ago. I was just thinking that the other day when Finn’s had a friendly game against a club from Florida and we played them at Pan American Stadium in City Park. After Katrina we used to play there all the time, nearly every week for a spell. There was a boat lying beside the stand, the dressing rooms were a mess and caked in mud, and the press box was literally falling to pieces.

That was post-Katrina but still, looking back at life just before and after The Storm seems unreal. How carefree and blase we were in August 2005. I felt like I was just settling into life in America a year after emigrating. We were just getting everything sorted six months after moving into the first home Julie and I bought together. Then suddenly whoosh!!!!!!! See ya!

Your life is obviously affected in those dramatic months after the hurricane, but I wonder if it changed me forever, I wonder if it put me on another road in a kind of Back to the Future deal. I would probably never have written a book about Finn’s – I say that because I did toy with the idea even months before Katrina – but that (so far anyway) has hardly altered the path of my life. Julie and I were always planning on having a kid and it made economic sense for me to stay home, so now I’m a stay-at-home dad. Hurricane Katrina or not, that would probably still have been the case.

We didn’t need to move home and Julie didn’t need to find a new job. We were very lucky. And when you muse on it, your next thought turns to those who weren’t so lucky. Many people killed, many people jobless, many people homeless. Not so lucky.

I’m sure there will be a fair bit of coverage in the coming weeks. With everything from cops accused of shooting civilians in the immediate storm aftermath to the Saints winning the Superbowl and an oil spill in the Gulf, it seems New Orleans is often in the news anyway. This month maybe it will get a bit more international coverage.

When you experience something like Katrina it makes you thankful for what you have, and grateful that you emerged on the other side relatively unscathed. The five-year anniversary is a good time to remember those who were less fortunate. As we should on every anniversary for the rest of our lives.

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