It’s been fourteen years since Katrina, and almost everyone from the story’s still here, most thriving but none unscathed. Katrina left scars. The year or two after were tough on everyone, some settling into a new city, others left homeless or jobless, some just trying to cope with the enormity of watching an entire city drown. One way or another, just about everyone went a little nuts for a while. Mental health professionals did land office business, including Skip’s neighbor and former therapist Boo, whom she found herself consulting for the first time in years. Abasolo, on the other hand, relied on the other AA to get him through.
The crazy settled down, finally, and New Orleans is once again more or less The Big Easy, possibly even a better version of itself. To tell the truth, the first Mardi Gras after Katrina was probably as therapeutic as all the shrinks in town put together.
Here’s what happened to everyone in our story—human, canine, and feline alike:
Josie’s one of two who’re gone, sad to say. She died of complications from her injuries two years after the storm, but Destiny’s okay—in a manner of speaking. She still lives with relatives, working part-time as a clerk at a gas station store. “Doing real good,” her aunt says optimistically. She means Destiny’s been off drugs for six months. She’s never seemed her old self after Katrina, but there’s still hope.
The Reverend Paul is the other who’s passed on. He died in 2010, after five good years with his family in Houston, where he and Makayla were reunited with Maxine and Billy. Makayla is an art therapist who’s made quite a name for herself working with children displaced by Katrina. She still works and, in addition, does very well giving lectures about how to cope with PTSD caused by natural disasters.
Miss Maxine’s doing much better! She’s only gone off her meds once since the storm. Ended up in a hospital, and that time, she married her nurse—a funny, sweet bald guy who she said reminded her of the only man she ever loved. Sometimes, accidentally, she refers to him as “Norm.”
After two weeks, the 82nd Airborne finally pried Ollie out of New Orleans by luring her with transportation on a “pet bus”, which conveyed not only humans, but their animals as well, to Baton Rouge, where the mother of all animal shelters had been set up on the LSU campus.
She spent the exile in her home state of Maine, where Iggy was able to roam free and brush up his hunting skills, and then—to everyone’s surprise—she decided to stay. She later admitted the two weeks after the storm had taken more out of her than she realized, and she needed a change. In addition to a change, she sought therapy for PTSD.
They wouldn’t let Breesy on the bus without a kennel, so Skip said she’d take him for a while. That ended up being almost ten years. Breesy made it to October, 2014, when one day he decided not to wake up for breakfast. “Everybody,” Skip texted Ollie, “should go that peacefully.”
Serena and Nathan came back home! Serena works as a concierge at the Marriott and Nathan, a high school sophomore, wants to be a doctor. He still suffers bronchial issues as a result of his time underwater.
No charges were ever filed against Kirk and Elvis Baggs, since, among other reasons, there were no eyewitnesses to their crimes and, without the stolen drugs, not enough evidence. (The other reasons may have had something to do with a little improvised police procedure on the part of Skip and Abasolo.) But Cappello saw to it that they never returned to New Orleans. Kirk Baggs’ injuries prevented him from working, so the NOPD took the opportunity to say good-bye, good riddance, and keep your brother out of town. They fired Elvis, and so far, Kirk has kept his promise.
Kathy Bordelon and Norm both got fired almost immediately. The decision was made to close down Big Charity for the first time since 1736 and build a new University Medical Center. Norm was offered a job there, but he just couldn’t do it—it seemed too disloyal to Big Charity. So he’s at Ochsner Baptist, another hospital that went through hell after Katrina. He has nightmares, but the same sunny spirit.
Kathy’s still in Houston. She married a Cajun chef and had another baby, but they were divorced in 2017. She and Abasolo are still friends.
Conrad’s still active in the Cajun Navy and continues to find it the most meaningful thing in his life. Shortly after Katrina, shell-shocked and giddy with thoughts of what’s really important, he went back to his wife, the lovely Camille, from whom he’d been separated for nearly a year. But they needed a fresh start and both were too traumatized by the storm to start over. They were divorced with no children, but Conrad’s by no means given up hope for love. Meanwhile, hell froze over: he and Skip never lost their newfound appreciation for each other and remain close to this day. Although with an edge. Always an edge.
Billy went to Xavier and got a degree in pharmacy. He’s married to a lawyer and works at the Walgreen’s in the Lower Garden District. Every year at Christmas, he brings Skip a pan of his wife Tanisha’s stuffed mirlitons. Unlike Kenny, he actually does go fishing with Conrad and A.A.
Adam Abasolo moved out of Kathy’s Victorian and bought himself a little house of his own on a canal at Venetian Isles, right off the lake. It’s actually much nicer than the boathouse and he’s still got the lake. He and Crevette are still together, and he and Cindy Lou are still an off-and-on item. But he never forgot the brave, brilliant doctor who powered through the week after Katrina with a hundred patients and then teamed up with him to reunite Nathan and Serena.
As promised, Skip mopped the floor with Petey and Dalton, and enjoyed it thoroughly. She and Steve Steinman have been happily cohabiting for years in Steve’s Bywater cottage. They were devastated over losing Breesy, but are now the proud parents of a sweet spaniel named Rambla.
Oh, and she got promoted to Sergeant!
* * *
You can read about her latest adventures in
MURDER ON MAGAZINE (technically Book #10).
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