Mike Marino is 76, and has lived his whole life in New Orleans’ Mid-City neighborhood. “It’s the lowest point in the city, 15 feet below sea level,” he says. “All the water went there.”
“Everyone wants to talk about Katrina,” he told me. “We’d rather not hear the word again.” But he keeps talking about it.
“People don’t talk enough about all the amazing who came from all over the country to help us out. They should be the big story. I know a guy in the media and I asked him why they don’t talk more about that. He said ‘you can hear that kind of stuff in church.”
“I wanted to punch him in the mouth.”
Marino offers three lessons from his experience with Katrina:
1. “When they tell you to evacuate, evacuate.” His house was destroyed, but his family’s lives were saved.
2. “Everybody needs everybody. Even people you don’t like, in a hurricane you need them.”
3. “Go hungry if you have to, but buy insurance.” It was a month before he could even get into his house to see what was left. He lived for awhile in a trailer with his wife and grown son – which was awful, he says – and for more than a year in temporary housing while his house was repaired. Because he had insurance, it was all paid for.