L'homme qui a tout perdu

Le 10 Janvier 2011

Ce week end, mon ami journaliste Thierry Vivier m'expliquait sa rencontre avec Robert Lynn Green Sr, habitant de La Nouvelle Orléans et rescapé de l'ouragan Katrina. Alors qu'au milieu des décombres de sa maison, cet homme lui racontait les détails de sa nuit de tragédie, un rayon de soleil a subitement traversé la pièce et Thierry a eu quelques secondes pour prendre cette photo.

Robert Lynn Green Sr, New Orleans, 2010 (Photo Thierry Vivier)

Robert Lynn Green Sr. has lived in the Lower 9th Ward for more than 40 years. Green recalls playing football in the street with area children, attending church with neighboring families and playing in the Lawless High School band during his youth in the Lower 9th Ward. “We were all the same family,” said Green. “We had family ties.” Green also remembers his granddaughters growing up in the area. They would walk and say hello to all the elders in the neighborhood.

In preparation for Hurricane Katrina, Green and his family, including his granddaughters and his elderly mother, planned to evacuate to Nashville, Tennessee. They ran into traffic, however, and turned back because his mother was ill. The family sought refuge at the Louisiana Superdome along with other New Orleanians but because his mother had Parkinson’s disease, the relief workers in the special needs section of the Superdome were not prepared to care for her. The family was told to return home and asked to come back the next day. Unfortunately, Green and his family were trapped in their home and could not return the following day for help.

That night, around four o’clock in the morning, Green’s brother woke him from his sleep to inform him that the water was rising. The family went to the attic and later had to break through the roof to escape the flooded home. “It was like we were looking at Lake Pontchartrain,” said Green of his view from the roof. The house floated from 1826 Tennessee Street to the 1600 block of Tennessee Street. “While we were on the roof, the house broke from underneath us,” said Green. They went from the roof of a house to the roof of a car. During the transition, Green’s four-year-old granddaughter was whisked away by the current and his mother died.