- Abdularahman Zeitoun (mostly called Zeitoun) migrated to New Orleans where he met his wife Kathy, a Christian converted to Muslim. Zeitoun runs a construction company called Zeitoun A. Painting Contractor LLC.
- Zeitoun and Kathy have been married for 11 years. Kathy is originally from Baton Rouge. Their children include Nademah 10 years old, Aisha 5 years old, Safiya 7 years old, and Zachary is 15 years old, Kathy’s son form a previous marriage.
- Zeitoun’s mother and father passed away a couple years ago and he also lost his brother Mohammed at a very young age. The rest of his siblings are doing well in other countries such as Spain, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
- Mahmoud, Zeitoun’s father was was a sailor where he almost lost his life during a storm and tried protecting his children from these events by not allowing them to work on sea. Mohamed opened a hardware store where Zeitoun learned the skills that make him a great construction worker.
- It became even more difficult being a Muslim during this period because of the events of 9/11 and their affiliation with Muslims. Zeitoun, a very devoted Muslim would defend his religion no matter what. Not only did Zeitoun suffer, but his wife Kathy who wore a Jihab suffered discrimination although she was American.
- Throughout the day, a storm called Katrina and its potential in becoming dangerous continued to increase. Even Ahmad, Zeitoun’s brother from Spain, warned him of the strength of this storm; however, Zeitoun’s character did not allow him to be convinced.
Saturday August 27
- Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told all residents of New Orleans to evacuate.
- Kathy decided to go to her brother’s house in Baton Rouge where Kathy’s sisters where staying (Patty and Marry Ann). However, Zeitoun’s stubbornness caused him to stay in New Orleans.
- Kathy had a hard childhood so she found refuge in her friend’s house, Yuko. Kathy also had a difficult first marriage where she was left alone with her son Zachary. Because her friend Yuko converted to Islam, Kathy became intrigued with Islam because of how well it worked out for Yuko.
Sunday August 28
- Katrina become a category 5 hurricane with 150 mph winds. Mayor Nagin ordered the first ever mandatory evacuation. However, Zeitoun refused to leave.
- The storm hit Zeitoun’s house and caused the power to go out, leaks began in multiple places, and windows broke.
Monday August 29
- Zeitoun would use the canoe that he had bought from a client, which brought memories form his childhood. The water level lowered and Zeitoun thought that it was the end of the storm. However, Mayor Nagin told people not to return because the future was uncertain.
Tuesday August 30
- Zeitoun dreamt of Arwad during his childhood along with his brother Ahmad. However, the sound of the ocean was not the same in Zeitoun’s dream which caused him to awake.