New Orleans Pump Station workers Rufus Burkhalter (right) and Bobby Brown remember the night Hurricane Katrina hit.
BB: My name is Bobby Brown, I’m 58-years-old.
RB: My name is Rufus Burkhalter, and Bobby and I is co-workers together for over twenty years. During the night of the storm, I was the operator that was pumping. He was kind of my back-up when the storm hit that night, you know.
BB: Yeah. Do you remember when we was inside and we was looking out the window?
RB: And there was half of our roof…
BB: …off the station, yeah.
RB: And it was raining just as hard in the station as it was outside and we had to scufflebag that to try to cover some of that electrical switch gear. We’d a been blown up if that water would have hit those transformers. I do remember, even after we couldn’t pump no more, I thought I was dreaming for awhile. I thought I saw bodies, dead bodies, in the water…
RB: …and floatin.
BB: I don’t think that was no dream.
RB: And you know what? It’s gonna linger with us, it’s gonna be with us until the rest of my life, it gonna, I know it gonna linger, it gonna be there with me.
BB: Yeah, well I know it had an effect on you cause I was there with ya. And ya know, even at that, we still maintain our composure, and we stayed together and we did what we had to do to try to protect the city.
RB: If this city ever would go under, we would be the last people here, cause that’s what our jobs demand.
BB: Do you feel like we risked our lives?
RB: Yeah. Would you do it again?
BB: To an extent, not to the extent I did it the last time.
RB: Well, I’m gonna be honest with you old friend, I’m gonna say, I just can’t walk away from this city, I love, and the people, I can’t walk away from that. Even though our pay is not that great, but I’m gonna stay.