When I evacuated on Saturday, August 27, I was headed to my mom’s house in Baton Rouge anyway. My sister was in town, and our mom was hosting a baby shower for her best friend. My fiance George was boarding up the windows on the first floor of our house while neighbors looked on curiously. Not many people were worried about Katrina yet, but George was. He asked me to bring a few things with me to my mom’s like my computer and the box with all of the important papers. I brought enough clothes for the weekend because, I mean, you know how these things go. Away from home for a few days, then back when the threat had passed. No big deal.
But I had one important stop to make on the way to Baton Rouge. The bridal shop in Covington. Our wedding was about ten weeks away, and my beloved gown was finally in! My first fitting was scheduled, and nothing was going to keep me from trying on my silk satin confection. Nothing. George tried to persuade me to just go straight to my mom’s house, but there was no way.
Fortunately, people still weren’t evacuating in droves, so after my fitting, I didn’t have any problem getting to Baton Rouge. The baby shower went off without a hitch.
But it wasn’t long before my mom’s house started filling with evacuees. Friends, family, and animals. And you know how the rest of the story goes. We didn’t go back to New Orleans, not for a long time.
The only things we lost were a few roof tiles (and, well, our refrigerator) and our wedding.
The ceremony was to be held in our neighborhood church, and then we were going to take the ferry across to the reception. I had grand plans for photos on the boat with my veil streaming out in the wind with the Cathedral in the background. A friend’s husband was going to take us in his vintage convertible. But that all had to be scrapped, of course.
George and I thought about just getting married in London, where we were going for our honeymoon, but the logistics were too complicated. (Plus, our mothers would have murdered us.)
So we moved the wedding to Baton Rouge. We were able to plan a beautiful evening wedding in downtown Baton Rouge. It wasn’t easy, as there was only one hotel with rooms available in the whole city. The invitations had already gone out. But it was such a celebration. Not just of our nuptials, but of survival. So many of my guests did not have homes to go back to, so for an evening, we were able to take their minds off of the ruins that we’d left in New Orleans.
Photos by Eau Claire Photographics