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CJ Experience: Escaping 'Armageddon'

Describing one couple's escape from a city under siege

My wife and I arrived in New Orleans on Friday, August 26th and were staying at the Holiday Inn in the French Quarter when the hurricane arrived. We lost power and running water on Monday morning around 6:30 a.m. The Hotel Manager, Mr. Darius Grey, and his staff were very professional and compassionate at the same time, they made sure the guests had something to eat and bottled water to drink. A portion of the New Orleans police used the lobby as a command center. As the situation continued to deteriorate in the streets the guests were asked to evacuate to the Convention Center on Tuesday, August 30th.

By the Grace of God we were sent a savior in the form of William Johnson, Director of Security for the hotel. Mr. Johnson was evacuating to Galveston Texas,  where he had sent his family earlier in the week and offered to give us a ride to Galveston with him, this man didn't know my wife and me from the "Man in the Moon" but was willing to take us with him. Once he had secured the hotel with the help of some of his staff he packed us into his Saturn Ion and we began our trip from "Armageddon".

William checked on his house in Jefferson Parish and found the streets filled with water. The car stalled in the water and we pushed it to higher ground and walked to his home for a closer inspection of any possible damage. The exterior of the home looked to be in good shape with some shingles missing and water up to his drive way. We then made our way back to his vehicle and got it operating again only to have stall in high water once again. The vehicle was started again and we began a search for an exit from the New Orleans area. We headed North trying to get to Highway 10 only to find roads impassable due to downed tree's and power lines, in fact one line we couldn't see in the dark cut the face of the car just below the headlights and went across the hood, windshield and roof. A little further down the road an officer with the Louisiana State Police directed us to a levy, which we drove across the top of (picture an area a little wider than a bike path) until we were free of the area with the downed trees and power lines.

We finally got on I-10 west for Baton Rouge and Galveston. We were very low on fuel but made it to Baton Rouge where we filled up and continued onto Galveston, TX. We had left the New Orleans area at approximately 9:00 p.m. and arrived in Galveston around 3:00 a.m. William dropped us at the Holiday Inn on Seawall Street in Galveston where my wife and I were able to get a room. The next morning William and his family picked us up at the hotel and drove us to Bush Intercontinental Airport where Northwest Airlines honored our tickets from New Orleans to Detroit. We boarded the 4:07 p.m. flight for Detroit and safety. I cannot say enough about the kindness and concern this man showed my wife and I. I will be writing a letter to the Holiday Inn main office to let them know how wonderful this man and the entire staff at the Holiday Inn in New Orleans and Galveston were to us. I don't plan on loosing track of William as I consider this man as the person who saved my wife's and my life, God Bless You Mr. William Johnson.

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