She was 1 of a group of 16 well taken care of indoor only cats that lived in the Gentilly District of new Orleans.
When I was there in September I found a cat, now famously called “Mad Max” inside the house but it turned out he didn’t live there, he just took shelter there. I eventually found the owner of the home named Marlene and over the past several months we have talked on the phone and via email. She told me about why she stayed (she had 16 cats and an 85 year old mother), what happened to them after they evacuated (left alone on the I-10 and then the Greyhound bus station for 2 days), how her life has been in New York and her hopes for her future.
Marlene was persistent in finding out what happened to her kitties and through her own hard work and the work of volunteers she has found out that 3 died near her home and 1 died @ LSU but the others are safe.
Molly was captured TWO WEEKS AGO having survived all this time. I have visited Molly’s neighborhood as late as November – few people are there and only a small group continued to feed the stray animals. Molly stayed around her home and finally someone was able to trap her.
There is so much loss and sadness surrounding Katrina and people ask me why I keep going back. I think it is because there is also so much hope and resilience, kindness and human spirit. I clearly see that this disaster goes far, far beyond lost animals and missing pets. People lost their lives, their families, their communities and their homes and livelihoods - these tragedies supersede what happened to animals. But, on the other hand, for those residents who had animals and had to leave them, those animals were part of their families and the fabric of their lives. For those people like Marlene who were fortunate enough to account for their animals and be reunited with them there is completeness, a sweetness that they struggle to describe.
For those of us who saw Katrina unfold in August and were horrified by the unspeakable things we saw; for those of us who struggled to rescue defenseless animals, for the animals themselves who struggled to survive – there are these little victories.
Houses will be re-built, schools will re-open, there will be weddings again, christenings; there will be school plays and soccer games; there will be Christmas mornings and Fourth of July picnics because the region and the people are so resilient and to my mind heroic. And, when you look at this little kitty sitting on her cushion, safe at last, to me, she represents victory over the storm itself.
Thank you for listening – and enjoy the attached picture.