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Hurricane Gustav – update from NOLA

By August 30, 2008Uncategorized

Picture_1Mayor Ray Nagin just came on the TV and told us that Gustav is ‘the mother of all storms’ and that it is likely that there will be significant flooding on the Westbank of New Orleans. He says this storm will be worse than Katrina and there will be a mandatory evacuation in effect for the city starting at noon tomorrow. The storm is supposed to hit on Monday morning, which is exactly what happened with Katrina.

Today, as I rode around on my scooter, I was impressed by the visible presence of police and National Guard troops. The streets of New Orleans are mostly clear, and pretty much everyone I know who planned to evacuate is gone. By way of contrast, on the Saturday before Katrina hit there were many people still in the city.

As I rode around I saw buses picking up poor people who were evacuating. The process seems very orderly and my sense is that many, if not most, of the people who really need to be evacuated have been moved out. The hotels have shut down and told guests to leave, and most of them seem to have gone to the airport or left town. Tomorrow there will be one final convoy of shuttle pickups for people with airline tickets; the airport will shut down tomorrow night at 6 pm.

The National Guard has already started to question people who are downtown walking around. It is very clear that there will be no looting, or if there is then the looters will be shot or arrested. All in all, it’s clear that the government has dramatically improved its handling of the disaster situation. Hopefully, the storm will not cause major damage and we’ll be able to look at this as a successful evacuation drill.

Of course, I say this knowing that I won’t be evacuating. Believe me, if I lived in a low-lying house I would evacuate. I think the threat of flooding Uptown is not as significant as government officials are reporting. I’m not faulting them. It’s their job to report the worst case scenario. But, for me (living in a high rise condo with storm shutters and very thick concrete), the worst case scenario is more the inconvenience of being in the aftermath of another major storm. Fortunately, my kids are all safely evacuated.

So, Becky and I are staying, along with Buddy and Star (our dogs). I assume that power will be down starting sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning, and I assume that cellphone communications will be difficult. Last time text messaging worked pretty well, so I’m going to assume that’s the best bet for reporting conditions. I have a Twitter account, which is like a blog for text messaging. If you click here you’ll see my updates. I’ll use this to update if I can’t post to the blog, which is likely.

Thanks for all the nice emails everyone sent. Don’t worry, Becky and I will be fine. And so will Buddy and Star. We have plenty of food and water, and other essential supplies. I can’t believe that this is happening again to New Orleans, but there is no sense in agonizing about the challenges that life presents to you. The only choice is whether to meet them with full intention, or to waste energy complaining.

I’m not big into wasting energy. So let’s just see what we have to deal with when it comes along.

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  • MattR says:

    Ernie, good luck to you. It seems hard to believe that New Orleans is being hit again, those of us elsewhere in the world could be forgiven for feeling fortunate that we are not in the firing line this time. But, the reality is that Hurricane Gustav is just one element of a Global crisis that we are collectively facing. Floods, famine, war, poverty, disease, depression. Rather than being an isolated incident, this storm is yet another blow designed to wake us up and jolt us into action. The time has finally come for us to see the root cause of our dire problems, to find the way to harmonise with Nature, to develop ourselves to a higher degree and open our eyes to the full picture of reality. For more info see:

  • Sharon says:

    Well, if you can’t believe that it’s happening to NO again, and you also can’t believe that it’s going to be as bad as they are warning you, let’s take that to the logical end conclusion!! LOL! Some people are so FREAKING hardheaded that you just have to laugh and hope they haven’t passed on their genetics to their kids. Why get your kids out of town if its not going to be that bad? What message are you sending to your kids? Oh well. Good luck!

  • suzanne millen says:

    Hi Ernie, You are so brave and I can understand your reasoning in not wanting leave your dogs as I have one myself and I would never leave her behind.

    Good luck to you and Becky – my thoughts will be with you – I hope to God that Gustav will slow down or decrease in strength.

  • jim rubinger says:

    Hi Ernie,

    You’re sure about this? The news reports up north are making this look really bad. Still time to get out of Dodge…

    Being in DC, we’re hearing a lot about the irony of this happening during the Republican Convention. I’m guessing people down there are not particularly amused.

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