The Louisiana Diaries

Sgt. Brad Staggs and Spc. Nicki Fellenzer of the 29th Infantry Division (L) Public Affairs office were attached to the 229th Military Police Company from Virginia Beach.  The 229th MP Company and the Air National Guard's 192nd Security Forces Squadron were sent to Lake Charles, La. to provide security and humanitarian aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina who had been evacuated there from New Orleans.

To read their impressions, click on the dates below.

September 6, 2005 -- "New Orleans looked like a ghost town.  Downed power lines, fallen trees and various debris from what once was a vibrant, busy city littered the pavements.  As our convoy turned corner after corner en route to our destination, Sgt. Brad Staggs and I couldn’t help but notice the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina just a few short days ago. ..."

September 7, 2005 -- "It’s amazing to see people come together under the worst of circumstances.  We’ve been in a holding pattern on the same deserted air strip where we slept last night.  It’s hot.  We haven’t had a shower since the night of September 5, when we stopped at England Air Field.  We’re sticky.  We’re dirty.  We’ve been eaten alive by bugs.  But for some reason it’s not bothering us."

September 8, 2005 -- "Last night, while we were fixing up our truck to sleep for the night… which meant placing the mosquito netting where it needed to be  and clearing enough space in the back for sleeping… the call finally came in. All of our Army Military Police and Air Force Security Police had a mission at last. It wasn’t what we expected, but it was a good mission."

September 9, 2005 -- "It was a hug I will remember for the rest of my life." 

September 9, 2005 (Part II) -- "What happens when military policemen and their support units get together and have some down time or are waiting on their next mission? ..."

September 10, 2005 -- "For most of those who sign the dotted line to become a National Guard Soldier or Airman, we sign up in a hope that we will be able to help those close to us right here in the United States.  In times of national emergency, such as the situation in the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we cannot be there quick enough for our tastes…"

September 12, 2005 -- "I’m always gratified to see the excitement in the faces of my fellow Soldiers when some of the members of the 229th MP Company were told they were going to run a humanitarian mission to deliver water and other much-needed supplies to evacuees in small towns around Lake Charles, La. "

September 13, 2005 -- "Funny thing about having a sense of security… "

September 17, 2005 -- "New Orleans smells like death.  We were here a little over a week ago, and it really didn’t seem too bad.  But a week ago, we didn’t drive through the center of town.  A week ago we drove to Belle Chasse on the outskirts of New Orleans.  A week ago, we didn’t drive through the middle of the destruction."

September 23 -- "It’s almost over.  As I am writing this, Nicki and I are in Eastern Tennessee getting ready to demobilize from our learning experience."