By Eli Ruiz
CALLICOON September 6, 2005 Its just like a really bad dream, and no one can even help their own neighbors because no one has anything.
Those are the words of 30-year-old Monique Bosarge as she spoke with the Democrat via phone Friday from Crystal River, Florida, about eight hours from her house in DIberville, Mississippi.
Monique is the daughter of Deborah and Frank Young, Sullivan County natives who now live in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
Deborah is the daughter of Ed Lohr, who lives on River Road in Callicoon.
Deborah grew up in Callicoon and went to high school at Delaware Valley.
Her husband Frank grew up in Narrowsburg and went to Narrowsburg High School.
The pair met and married in New York before moving to Mississippi for employment reasons in 1977.
Monique, who says that the experience of Hurricane Katrina has been so surreal that she cant even remember what day of the week it is, said that last Saturday night she went to bed with Katrina only a category 3 storm.
Monique expected there to be some damage and possibly even a partial evacuation due to the impending storm.
But when she awoke at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Katrina had picked up steam and had become a massive category 5 storm.
All of the news agencies and the authorities said that we had to get out immediately, said Bosarge. They were saying that the storm was so massive that we might get caught in it as we fled.
So last Sunday morning, Monique, her husband and two children packed a few bags and headed east away from the gale force winds and rapidly rising sea level.
Nearby, though, her mother Deborah, who is the Hospital Administrator at Biloxi Select Specialty Hospital which sits directly on Highway 90 and across the street from Front Beach had a whole different set of circumstances on her hands.
Deborah, said Monique, had to aid in the evacuation of the hospitals patients to the larger and farther away Biloxi Regional Hospital before Katrina hit.
While I was headed to safety, my mom had to ride the storm out with her patients at Biloxi Regional, said Bosarge. She called me as the storm hit, and all you could hear was breaking glass, and she said the entire first floor was flooded.
She said it looked like hell on earth.
She wanted to say goodbye and let me know she was at peace with God, said Bosarge, She thought she was going to die.
Then the line went dead.
For the next three days, Monique had no contact with her mother.
I didn't know if she was even alive or where she was . . . I was just so scared.
Then, on Wednesday night, Monique said she received a few barely audible and extremely short calls from her mothers cell phone. The first, as she recalls, said simply, Monique, Im OK.
Now a week after the greatest natural disaster on American soil since the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, Monique has finally established a line of communication with her mother and has gained firsthand knowledge of the scenes of desperation.
In fact, two days after the storm, Monique said that the U.S. National Guard brought Deborah to see the damage done to Biloxi Specialty and to her home.
My mom says that the first two floors of Biloxi are completely gone . . . but from the third floor up everything is exactly as it was left untouched, said Bosarge.
My mom said that there are bodies floating everywhere, and cemetery plots have been up-rooted . . . when the National Guard brought her to see the damage at her house there was an open casket with the body of a baby lying in it.
She said it looks like a huge bomb went off in the city and left just debris and corpses everywhere. It smells like death.
All of this, coupled with the rampant crime and looting now taking place in these regions of Louisiana and Mississippi, have already been burned into the minds of people worldwide and have left the regions in states of emergency.
With crucial aid and the restoration of order slow in coming, Monique thought about all of those still back home where, as she said, My house is the only structure in my entire community still standing, but the water is eight inches from the ceiling.
But Im alive and safe because I had people who cared and a place to run to. . . . I just keep thinking about those people who didnt have anybody, or anyplace to go, said Bosarge.
Where are they?