So here's what will hopefully be the final update on my sister, this time directly from her (though I added paragraph breaks to make it easier to read):
We are fine. [Saturday] morning we tried, once again, to cross the
bridge on foot, and were told we could do so by an Army Sergent,
but were, once again, turned away by the officers on the bridge.
Beth and Jim
were able to get a ride into Algiers where her father lives. There
wasn't room for four, so I, very tearfully (for first time, real
tears pouring rather than moist being held back) gave her Gwen.
We ended up at the Convention Center at about 8:30am. Neal and I got in what seemed like it should have been a line but mobbed the further along it went toward the military copters flying
people out. Just as we were at the begining of the line, many
buses rolled in and we were directed to them (this was at about
We were told we were going to Baton Rouge, but it turned
out we were in for more than a ten hour drive to Fort Smith, AR.
I cried about being separated from Gwen for about an hour;
regarding getting our lives back to gether, I've never been too
worried because we're smart, willing to work, and have the best
network of family and friends anyone could ask for.
We stopped once
at about 10:30pm; I managed to get to the pay phone to call my mom
collect to let her know what was going on, as nobody had been at
the apartment we had been at since early that morning.
driver tried to let us off just outside of Baton Rouge since we had
money and people who could come get us, but the State Trooper very
assertively stopped that plan in its tracks. After we got to the
Army base at Fort Smith (3:15am), we were told to stay on the buses
so we could be processed. After about five more hours, the drivers
ignored that and let us off to stretch our legs, have a smoke (Neal
was very appreciative of that), &c.
Eventually, maybe at about
10am, food was made available, but the lines were too long; our
driver had some MRE packs, so Neal and I split a Thai Chicken
meal. ! I talked with a police officer on the base about our
situation and capability of taking care of ourselves because we had
funds and friends able to help us; he quietly said we would not be
stopped from leaving the base. Neal and I verified it with an MP,
then let our bus driver and a family we had been helping since
early that morning know we were leaving.
Some MPs gave us a lift
to the front gate, a lady from town was going to take us to the bus
station, but first took us to her apartment so we could shower and
have coffee (Neal got his first cup since Sunday morning at the
I called my mother, she got me in touch with her friend,
Eva, who lives in Tulsa, OK. Barbara, the kind AR lady drove us
most of the way, Eva and her husband picked us up, took us to Wal-
Mart to buy some clothes (our suitcase is in Texas, Austin (with
Karn's sister, I think). Eva talked with Beth, who is on her way
to Dallas; Gwen is fine. We will try to get her to meet us half
way so I can have my kitty back. I'm hoping our next stop will be
Las Vegas to see Trish, Chris, and Siggy, and then to Bakersfield.