In the most random place possible, I met a family of Katrina Survivors who were out on their summer vacation. We were at the top of Sandia Peak, checking out the views, when a man asked me where I was from. I told him we were from Albuquerque, and he told me he was from New Orleans. He corrected himself and said "used to be from New Orleans, anyway".
He was the sweetest kindest man - so humble and seemingly grateful for every breath he took. He told me that when the levees broke it moved his mother's house - ripped it right off the foundation - about 100 feet from where it stood. The water was moving so fast it just swept it away.
Yes, there had been warnings as there had been warnings before. Earlier they'd had a warning and evacuation order and came home to find some branches in their front yard and some puddles on the street. They had no way of knowing this would be any different than the last time. This man's boss told him that if he followed the evacuation order and didn't report to work, he'd be fired.
What many people don't understand is that these people had no funds to leave. Many didn't have cars. Many didn't have $5 to their name to get a bus ticket. Most didn't have credit cards to use. They were stuck. They could not leave without help.
This man, with his family, waited at the Convention Center and/or Superdome for four days before they were bussed out. They lost everything. He decided to stay here once they were shipped here, along with about 500 other people who were welcomed after they ran out of places to go.
This man was so sweet and forgiving and gracious and kind. I'm so glad he stopped to share his family's story with me. Reminded me what spoiled brats we all tend to be, and that we truly need to be grateful for everything we have.
Savor the day.