(The Washington Post) – If it had not been for a disagreement with my mother on that Friday night in August, perhaps my body would be resting in a coffin beside hers at Mount Olivet Cemetery in New Orleans.
It was the night that Hurricane Katrina was swirling through the Gulf of Mexico. I was a 13-year-old in middle school, and I was looking forward to attending the party of a girl I had been crushing on for a long time. But my excitement was interrupted when my mother told me that we were going to the Superdome to ride out the storm.
My friends and I assumed that Katrina would be no different from other storms that had come and gone with little damage to the city. I resisted her plan, arguing that I really wanted to go to the party on Saturday and that I should be allowed to stay in the city. I wore her down, and she agreed that I could stay with my father if he allowed it. But when I called him, he didn’t answer his phone.
I kept pushing, asking to stay with my auntie, and ultimately my mother agreed. When Aunt Louise came to pick me up, my mom and I said our goodbyes. I can’t remember whether we hugged before we separated because this happened long ago. I’d like to think that we did.