Monday, October 29, 2012

The Hurricane Evacuation Kit of Memories!

Bernice Alexander Bennett

As I reflect on the impending Hurricane Sandy awaiting us on the East Coast, I am reminded of 2005, and Hurricane Katrina. My family members needed to evacuate from New Orleans and I could not sleep unless every single person was safe and out of harms way.

Well, during Hurricane Katrina’s evacuation, my 89 - year old mother had a container with all of her essential documents ready and near her bed in the event she had to leave her home. That little plastic container with the green lid brought her comfort because she had her medication list, insurance policies and a bunch of other papers that I really never considered reviewing until today. That’s right today! I was looking for a few tips and I think that she was sending me a message to just take a look in her container!

The Evacuation Kit!

Today, I decided to open that container to see what else she put in her evacuation kit and guess what I found – her 1929 New Orleans school transcript from Thomy Lafon School; her birth certificate; property deed of land owned by her mother with a map and description of the land; a newspaper clipping of her mother’s obituary; a letter from one of her grandsons, a letter from me written in 1980, a letter from my older sister written in 1989; a newspaper clipping from Anne Landers; birth certificates for my sister and brother; death certificate’s for her mother and my father; a signed program from individuals she taught to quilt with beautiful comments thanking her for the teaching them a new skill. I am still opening up the various documents and I think that the message is loud and clear! If you must evacuate, take whatever will connect you to what made you happy and don’t forget the essentials.

Some of her important memories!

These comments meant a lot to her!

Mom passed away in 2010 and I am still finding the little genealogy gems in notes left in books, and now the Evacuation Kit of Memories!

Well, I am working on my evacuation kit, and will take the essentials and then add a few special memories – maybe my high school transcript or a note from a special friend!

(c)copyright secured all rights reserved (c) 2012


  1. Beautiful story! And what a reminder for all of us to gather those things that we consider to be special. Your mother kept those for a reason.

  2. One of my granddaughters and her mother and mother's family were living in New Orleans when Katrina hit. Mother and daughter left but did not take that pack of important papers. My GDs other grandmother ended up trapped in her house and being rescued. It was a frightening time for all of us. After that, even though I didn't live in a hurricane area, I put together a notebook with all of my important papers in it. And started scanning photos and papers that would I wouldn't be able to take if I had to leave in a hurry.

    I know that your mother is glad that you finally looked in that box where she left so much information for you!