The time was rightThere's a slideshow here.
Among Louis' passengers is Fanise Jean, 24, who lives on the ground floor of a pastel-pink French Creole house a short walk from the water. Jean has twice attempted the journey, once a year ago and again in July. Those journeys depleted her resources, which she collected as a beautician, and her stamina.
"It's a lot of suffering," she said. "People throwing up on you, you can't take a shower, there's little food, and the boat is always shaking back and forth." One of her journeys lasted 14 days because the captain got lost, and three people became ill and died.
Until last month, Jean had been resigned to waiting longer before trying again. But she began reconsidering two weeks ago, when she got word that her boyfriend, who lived in Port-au-Prince, had been crushed to death in the earthquake. "We had just talked that morning on the phone," she said.
Then, she heard from a friend in Boston who had joined her on one of the earlier attempts to reach the United States. The friend, alone among those on the boat, had been allowed to stay because she was eight months pregnant. The baby was born and the friend was being held for deportation.
"She called to tell me that she got her papers," Jean said. "Just like that. All the Haitians in the United States are getting their papers."
So, Jean decided the time was right.[Haitians prepare for boat journey to Florida, By Scott Kraft, Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2010]