I chose the "topic of your choice" essay on Commonapp. Please edit for grammar, spelling, punctuation, or anything else that seems problematic.I know it is a long essay but I'm not likely to make it any shorter. Thank you for any help you can provide.
My cheek pressed against the vibrating truck window, I heard the stereo emit a faint beep and my father let out a snide chuckle. My sister Felicia, separated from me by a stack of suitcases, let out a protesting sigh. He was going to play it again. It's hard to imagine that my own father could subject his own family to what some might call "enhanced interrogation tactics." But alas, rumbling up the I-81 from Houston to New York City in our big, red truck my father forced us to listen to that song one more time.
The song itself, "That Lucky Old Sun", was perfectly good-Aretha Franklin sings, passionate as ever, over some piano, a few strings, and drums. I actually enjoyed the first few listens. But when you're forced to hear any song over and over again for close to fifty miles, it starts to drive you mad.
I'm still not entirely sure why my dad did it. He could see it annoyed us and he had never been a spiteful man. It probably had to do with distracting us from the real matter at hand. Our actual problems would've bothered us much more than a simple song ever could.
The night before, in a hotel room in Houston, my family and I ate Domino's Pizza in our beds watching CNN's coverage of Hurricane Katrina silently hoping that we wouldn't see Gentilly on the crawl of neighborhoods affected by levee failures. Eventually though, we watched it appear and then disappear at the bottom of the TV. Against expectations, the walls of The Industrial Canal breached and filled the streets on which I had played just days before with ten feet of foul water.
My parents sat Felicia and I down, told us to pack our things in the truck, and informed us that we would be staying in New York City with family while things were sorted out. Then we were off.
The drive north was like all of our other family road trips; we played I-Spy and Punch-Buggy, we ate at Cracker Barrel, and my sister and I watched movies on our portable DVD player. The only thing that set it apart from all those fun drives we had was the fact that, in all likelihood, it wouldn't be a round trip. It was a reality that loomed in the air and that we all understood, but it was no use talking about it. Whether we liked it or not, our situation had changed.
We spent the first few weeks of our new life in New York with my weeping extended family that couldn't wait to give us lingering hugs and extra kitchenware or an old bike for my sister and me. Even in school, typically the epicenter of normalcy in my life, I felt strange. I spent most of my time just keeping quiet and trying not to embarrass myself, which came with mixed results. I could do little to make myself feel better. I lacked something crucial: my home. And for all that time, I could do nothing to get it back.
Since those dark times after Katrina, things have started to look up. My father, with my help during the summers, restored the house in New Orleans and elevated it ten feet, well out of the reach of floodwaters. In addition, each year I head south for Jazz Fest to celebrate the culture and cuisine I have grown to love. I feel an immense sense of comfort and nostalgic bliss when I can sink my teeth into a fried catfish po-boy or crack open a crawfish, all while watching the rhythmic procession of the Mardi Gras Indians. While I recognize that I have grown apart from New Orleans physically, the love I feel for the city and the unique perspective I have gained from a childhood spent there will live on.
Even in 2012, my family once again coping with flood damage, this time in our current Rockaway Beach home, we remain devoted members of the wonderfully loyal New Orleans community. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a crew of New Orleans Firefighters made the same 1400-mile journey I had seven years prior to help gut our flooded home in Rockaway Beach.
While hauling soaked sheetrock and dragging heavy, waterlogged carpet onto the curb outside of my house my father and I swapped hurricane stories with them. In 2005 I only watched from Houston the maelstrom they experienced. This time, the same chaos came to life as my father and I fled the fires consuming my neighbors' already flooded homes. I felt oddly comfortable touching on such a fresh wound with these apparent strangers; we had become confidants through our unique history of disaster.
Sitting in the quiet blackness of my powerless home after a hard day of gutting, I thought back to those gloomy days after Katrina. On a hot, humid September night in 2005, laying on a futon in my uncle's spare room, trying to fall asleep, a ten-year-old me looked up at the whirling ceiling fan and listened to the purring AC. Sandwiched between my mother and my sister, I hummed a few bars from "That Lucky Old Sun" and drifted off to sleep.
Your essay is very nice and you seem exceptionally strong. Best of luck!
I feel an immense sense of comfort and nostalgic bliss when I can sink my teeth into a fried catfish po-boy or crack open a crawfish - all while watching the rhythmic procession of the Mardi Gras Indians. While I recognize that I have
grown apartbeen separated from New Orleans physically, the love I feel for the city and the unique perspective I have gained from a childhood spent there will live on.
Even in 2012, with my family once again coping with flood damage, this time in our current Rockaway Beach home, we remain devoted members of the wonderfully loyal New Orleans community. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a crew of New Orleans Firefighters made the same 1400-mile journey I had seven years prior to help gut our flooded home in Rockaway Beach.