In November 2010, my family, which was 16 total people, drove to New Orleans from Arkansas for a 7 day cruise. Many of us did not have passports so we used our birth certificates. When we were checking in it was discovered that my sister in law did not have her correct birth certificate (insert Arkansas joke here). They would not allow her on the ship, so my brother, sister in law, and nephew went home. We were all crying and upset because they didn’t get to go and this was our first time to cruise. When we finally got on the ship and started our cruise we were still very upset. Later that night there was a knock at our cabin door. It was my mother and other brother and they looked like someone had died. They both blurted out, “your house just burned to the ground and there is nothing left”. My brother who was on his way back to Arkansas got a call from our neighbor and he called my mother. We were in shock! Since we were already out of US waters, we could not get off the ship because we did not have passports, therefore, we had to spend our entire cruise knowing we had no home when we returned. We tried to make the trip fun for our 3 children, who were 2, 4 and 9, at the time, but we spent most of the time crying.

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