By Bruce Campbell commentary

Scenes from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina hit a little too close to home for Enid High volleyball coach Lynn Miller, a New Orleans native.

Miller's parents and an older sister have chosen to stay in the hurricane-ravaged city rather than evacuate.

Miller's parents and two sisters live next door to each other and across the street from a Catholic church where they serve as caretakers.

"That (orders to evacuate) doesn't mean much to them,'' Miller said. "They feel they have to protect their turf, their neighborhood and everything else ... they must know more than what we're seeing. They're adults ... they're mature enough to make the right decisions."'

Miller's agony is heightened by the fact all she can do is watch the tragedy unfold on television.

She normally would talk to her mother every day. She hasn't talked to her family since the storm hit Monday. Miller learned her parents were staying put from a neighbor who left New Orleans.

The neighbor was unable to talk her parents into leaving. Neither was Miller's brother-in-law.

Miller's been told her parents have enough food on hand for two weeks.

"Not knowing at all is the hardest part,'' she said.

The neighbor told Miller while the neighborhood has received extensive tree damage, it hasn't received much water damage.

"They are the custodians of the church,'' Miller said. "By golly, they're going to save the world. My dad is a colonel in the marines ... by golly no one is going to make him leave ... that's his mentality ... I know I couldn't talk him out of it either."'

Miller's older brother, who lives in Birmingham, Ala., has tried to reassure her the "cops on are their way."

Miller has a brother who works in a Veterans Administration hospital which has been evacuated.

A sister who was locked down in a hospital for five days has evacuated.

"She said the hardest thing was leaving dying people knowing there was nothing else you could do,'' Miller said.

Miler has slept little, if any this week. She's been on the phone at 3:30 a.m.

Monday when the storm hit, she was at a junior varsity tournament in Oklahoma City, with one eye on the television and another on the court.

"That was real hard,'' Miller said. "There's nothing I can do now. I need to focus on this (coaching volleyball)."'

She has had calls from friends asking what they can do. Miller only asks they keep her family in their prayers.

"Prayer is powerful,'' she said. "I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason."'

Miller has kept her feelings to herself, not sharing her emotions with her team.

"They don't need to know,'' Miller said. "I didn't tell them anything. They have other things to worry about. It's out of their hands. There's nothing anybody can do for me, but pray."'

Growing up in New Orleans, she saw her share of hurricanes. The family summer home was destroyed by Hurricane Camille in 1969. But Miller has never seen anything like this.

Miller usually goes home three times a year. She has taken several friends there to let them see the "real New Orleans'' and not the tourist traps.

"It's just scaring me to no end,'' Miller said. "So far, things look promising. They (parents) haven't lost anything yet ..."'

She sheds a tear when she sees the looting. New Orleans, she said, was beginning to look like Iraq.

"I don't believe in killing people, but if they're going to be killing innocent people ..."'

Campbell is a News -- Eagle sports writer.

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