Tuesday after the storm, Gervais got out of bed and stepped into water. She started hauling things upstairs to salvage, but before she knew it the water was chest high on the second floor.
Gervais somehow made space between the iron bars on the windows to be able to push her grandparents up on the roof. There, they waited to be rescued.
In Danville, Ragland was watching television.
"We'd been switching channels like mad," she said.
Then, in a moment, she was looking down at her lap and she heard the broadcaster say, "Edna and Allen Raimer."
She looked up. Unable to get through on the telephone, unable to reach anyone who knew anything, Ragland found peace on CNN as she watched her aunt and uncle talk to a reporter.
The three of them had been brought by boat to the local prison. Then they were taken to a hospital. Then to the airport.
Reunited at the airport
Somehow in the transit Edna and Allen had been separated. The pair were reunited at the airport, and that's why the CNN reporter was interviewing them.
The Raimers story, and that of many, many others who were evacuated in the panic before and after the storm, mirror an old Cajun legend of Evangeline.
Seeking religious freedom, a group of French settled in Novia Scotia during the 18th century. When war between Britain and France broke out in Canada, the settlers refused to swear allegiance to the British crown, and so they were evicted from the country. These people were known as Acadians. Cajun is a corrupted pronunciation of Acadian.
A legend about the Great Upheaval, as it is called, has been made famous by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
In his poem there was a woman, Evangeline Bellefontaine, who was separated from her love, Gabriel Lajeunesse.
In the confusion of the eviction, Bellefontaine ended up in New England, but Lajeunesse went to Louisiana. Bellefontaine becomes a nurse in Philadelphia, and one day Lajeunesse ends up as one of her patients. When they see each other they are in shock, and die together.
Ragland's story has a much happier ending. When she saw her aunt and uncle on TV, she ran to the other room to tell her family. The family started calling shelters, calling Baton Rouge, calling Lafayette, La., just calling anywhere.
Cousin found them
Finally, her cousin in Dallas found them. They had been flown to a shelter in San Antonio.
Ragland said her aunt, uncle and cousin are liking it so much in Texas that they may not return to the New Orleans area.
In one way, Ragland is happy because she believes it might be too dangerous to return, and she doesn't think that her relatives should put their lives on hold while New Orleans is rebuilt. In another sense, Ragland is sad that the hurricane seems to be spreading her family out further and further.
She and her husband, James, have mixed feelings about her old hometown, too. Crime and poverty have become rampant in the Big Easy since Ragland left.
"We have been watching New Orleans die for a long time," she said. "What a tremendous opportunity we have now, to rebuild a whole American city."