Truckers Kenneth Moody Sr. and his wife, Glenda, were delivering a load of shrimp when Hurricane Katrina leveled their 104-year-old home and took all their possessions in Biloxi, MS.
Five years later, Kenneth has faced obstacles that make the hurricane look like an April shower.
“This is the worst year I’ve ever been through. Katrina wasn’t nothing but a toy,” Kenneth said.
A few days after Katrina hit, Kenneth Moody was hospitalized after suffering a near heart attack. Glenda and their then 23-year-old daughter lived in the sleeper berth of the truck for several weeks while Kenneth underwent six bypasses.
For a few hot nights, Glenda and her daughter slept in the trailer and were kept cool by the reefer.
In the months following Katrina, the family gutted, rewired and rebuilt their home, which had been ruined by 15 feet of water. Kenneth said he’s noticed that it’s one of very few that has been rebuilt in Biloxi.
Two years ago, Glenda was misdiagnosed with pneumonia, which doctors later discovered was cancer. Kenneth stopped operating a truck stop restaurant they had invested in, and stopped driving to take care of Glenda full-time.
“She just kept getting weaker and weaker. It was one bullshit after another,” said Kenneth, who admits to not knowing what to do since his wife’s passing.
“She was my backbone,” he said. “We did everything together for 35 years. I’m lost. I told the shop to stop working on my one truck, and the other one is just parked. I just haven’t got the heart to get back in it.”
Kenneth got Glenda a black OOIDA life member jacket in the spring, but she was too sick to pull it on.
“She never got to wear it,” he said.
Business hasn’t been much better for the Moodys.
After this spring’s oil spill in the Gulf, Moody’s nine-year business of hauling shrimp dried up.
“I talked to some shrimp people today. They have shrimp coming in, but they don’t have any buyers,” he said. “People are afraid to buy them. It’s the same way with oysters.”
In mid-June, the Moody family welcomed granddaughter Zoe into the world. She was named by Glenda, who died just three weeks earlier.
Despite everything, Kenneth said he’ll remain in trucking. After five decades in the business, he’s held on through enough ups and downs to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and that he’ll make it.
“After 51 years, I might as well,” Kenneth said. “I’ve never hauled dirt before, but they’ve got some federal jobs around here for that.”
“Tell everybody to pray for us,” he said. “It’s all we’ve got left.”
– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer