Hurricane Katrina Upends Carter's Life

You've seen the pictures ... the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf area ... now DeMond Carter is trying to locate his family ... reporter Russ Blake has the story

HONESDALE, Penn. -- Camp Bryn Mawr, host of the famed Five-Star Basketball Camp, is an isolated outpost nestled in the Pocono region of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Cell phone service can be erratic, and cable television seems to be a near luxury when you sleep each night in a wooden cabin on the camp grounds as the Five-Star campers do.

For DeMond Carter, one of several hundred campers at the Honesdale session, it made the week here that much more difficult. A high scoring 5-11 point guard bound for Baylor University in the fall of 2006, Carter wondered on Wednesday afternoon how his family in Reserve, La., was faring after Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast on Monday morning.

"I talked to my mom once on Sunday, before the hurricane hit," Carter said. "They told me they were staying home and that it was raining bad and that the wind was blowing real hard."

As of late Wednesday afternoon, Carter had been unable to reach any family members in Reserve, which is located 20 to 30 minutes outside of New Orleans, between that city and the capital of Baton Rouge.

He's made repeated attempts via cell phone. His didn't get service in Honesdale, so he borrowed another camper's cell.

"The message said that due to the hurricane, you can't get through," Carter said.

A huge swath of the Gulf Coast is without power, phone service and running water as a result of Katrina. "I haven't been able to get in touch with anyone," he explained. "That's why I need to get back there."

In many respects, Carter might be considered fortunate that he was in Honesdale, and not Reserve, when Katrina fell. With basketball occupying much of the day and no cable television at the camp, the only images he's seen thus far are those in newspapers.

"I saw pictures of the damage in Mississippi and what happened to the Super Dome," he said. "Something like 20 inches of rain fell in some areas."

When Carter left the New Orleans International Airport on Friday to attend the Five-Star Camp, Katrina was only a Category One hurricane. Few could have imagined or predicted it to become such a catastrophic and life altering event.

After spinning through South Florida, the storm gathered strength in the warm Gulf Coast waters, hitting land Monday as a lethal Category Four juggernaut. "I didn't really know anything about it on Friday," Carter admitted. "I didn't think it would come directly at us."

On Wednesday, Carter was simply worried about getting back to Louisiana, although he wasn't even sure if the airports in New Orleans and Baton Rouge were operational.

"I am hoping to fly out either today or tomorrow," he said. "I will try Baton Rouge if New Orleans isn't open."

According to an American Airlines employee, only Baton Rouge is operating at normal capacity for commercial flights. The few flights that are going into New Orleans are of the relief variety.

As for the basketball, Carter enjoyed a strong week at the Five-Star Camp. He was selected to the prestigious Orange/White Classic, one of 26 players accorded such honors. A back injury kept him out of the all-star game, but that was the least of his concerns on Wednesday.

"I'd rather be at home with my family," he said. "If I could take it back, I would be at home with my family right now, because if something happened, I would want to be there."


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