Gustav’s First Gust

At about 7 pm cst tonight while my neighbor Lisa and I were chatting, Gustav came in with bluster.  We were watching hundreds of birds chatter and line up on the phone lines in what was a nice sunny evening.  I was headed for the hurricane party which I understand was broken up at about 6 pm by the National Guard.  The mighty mustang is on higher ground and it’s tailpipe is duct taped up …precaution against rising water. 

Here’s my first pictures:

Looking at the darkness coming in over the East
Looking at the darkness coming in over the East

Minutes later the first rain bands hit and it was quite dark.  The first gust was at least 50 mph.  I still have power and the TV stations say that Plaquemines Parish is under a tornado warning.  That cloud definitely had the feel of a wall cloud. 

UPDATE : we just have light rain now.  some of us have been sitting on the porch of the look out inn having cocktails and misc. libations.  only traffic we see is military and police. they just dropped a troop transport vehicle off at the back door of the hebert defense complex which is a few doors up from us.  i could go give some good key around the block but am staying put for the moment.  it’s quiet now. still not trusting the dog to NOT kill Em’s kitten… AC is here and down the  street in the FQ.  Seems like old times.  I’m trying to hone up on my third world living skills while praying the electricity stays on as long as possible.  have to tell you, found that i am much more motivated by gas service than electricity … gas service    = stove works and hot water works which = baths at the end of the day.  I’ll let you know if any of those cute national guard guys come by this way.  One of my favorite post katrina memories was offering hot coffee to the national guard of washington state ( a bunch of babes from tacoma, mostly) who wanted more southern hospitality than the hot coffee.  Ah, me,  and here I am just off the busline named Desire …

Peace out …

oh, and did i mention how much I’d like General Honore to be Hillary’s VP choice?

Pre Gustav Jitters: Live Blogging from the Upper 9

You can tell the powers that be don’t want to be caught looking as stunned and inept as they did during Katrina.  Senator Obama is talking on the phone to my favorite local TV station now.  President Bush and Vice President Cheney have said they will not be attending the Republican Convention.  Mayor Ray Nagin (in serious need of meds and obviously pissed that Governor Jindal upstaged him) panicked every friend and family member I had with his “Mother of All Storms” comment. I’ve been answering the phone about every two hours since about 10 pm last night once his usual histrionics got on CNN. 

Okay, so facts from the ground. Every one who is going, is going east into Mississippi and Alabama. (Read it’s a parking lot on every road eastbound)  Every one that evacuated earlier to Baton Rouge is no longer feeling smug.  It appears the brunt of the winds and rain may be worse there then here.  I’ve ordered the youngest to stay in her dorm and follow the orders of the campus.  I’ve come to respect the strength of buildings built pre-world war 2.  These things were built to last and be passed on.  Like i said, my little barge board house is built of side by side boards that are about 20 inches wide and 8 inches thick.   Trees are no longer available to produce that kind of wood.

City of New Orleans is moving all of its busses to high ground … the Poland Avenue wharf which is two blocks down the street for me … exactly where the mighty mustang is going.  I’m hoping that every one on the westbank and the other side of the canal from me are going elsewhere.  The story from this hurricane will be the surge which is expected to swamp the same areas Katrina did, plus the north shore and the west bank.  These were two areas spared during Katrina.

There is a very large national guard presence here in town.   They are REALLY serious about looters this time.  There are still some businesses that refuse to come back because their property was left to looters while the majority of the police force and national guard were watching folks in the super dome.  They have even sealed off the super dome completely.  Folks with out rides are being bussed out or put on trains to Memphis and are taking pets with them.  I’m sure this is making the elderly more willing to go.

Most of my neighbors are planning to stay at this point.  Again, we’re the highest ground in the area and if you’re hit by a tornado, you might as well be in a ditch.  The only wild card here, again, is the levees.  I know my house is on the lid of the bowl and won’t flood, but I also know that every one on the high ground becomes an island that the rats swim too.  (Ask me about the use of my office and classrooms for toilets during Katrina.)  Leather chairs went outside.  Everything inside our building became a public toilet. 

Anyway, still trying to get the plywood on the north side of the house.  Got the front storm shutters up yesterday.  I’ll make a final go or stay decision after the 4 pm update.  It looks like it’s going farther west and experiencing shear.  If that trend continues, I’m safer here than just about any place else in Louisiana.

I’m powering up the cameras and such.  As long as the electricity and batteries hold, I’ll try to post some direct information.  I’ll only get really worried if Jim Cantrelle of the Weather Channel AND Anderson Cooper show up here at the same time AND Johnny White’s closes….  Most of Bourbon street is closed but of course, NEVER NEVER NEVER Johnny White’s.

Here’s a side pick of the kathouse a few days after Katrina.

kat house post katrina

kat house post katrina

Here he comes …

Well, I have my trusty drill out and I’m currently boarding up the little kathouse windows.  I’ll make the decision to leave some time tomorrow.  I’m thinking, hmmmm, Florida Beaches, drinks with umbrellas, and the dance of the cabana boys.  (And yes, that is Hanna right there coming in next!)  Hate to wish this on any one else, but have to say, any one hit by Rita and Katrina deserve a break from mother nature.  Unfortunately, I know there’s no cosmic teapot coming to the rescue … so, let’s hope the laws of nature and physics are working in manner that brings the least amount of harm to critters and people.

Remembering Katrina, Watching Gustav: Life in the Big Easy

Life here in New Orleans has been tipped up and down and sidewise since Hurricane Katrina showed us how little we can trust the government to build a better levee.  I can tell how many folks trust the upgrades by the amount of traffic I saw leaving town as I was coming back in from Hammond today.  Katrina was the first hurricane that got me to evacuate.  I was less afraid of the storm than the after storm chaos.  I was suprised the levees broke, however, the total human drama afterwards was no suprise to me.  I was kept pent up in my french quarter home for three days while the Morial adminstration was trying to figure out how to let the folks out of the superdome peacefully after Hurricane Georges.  They were upset they only had hotdogs to eat and were allowed to bring an aresenal inside. While they corrected some of that after Katrina, more huge mistakes were made.  They are really really anxious down here not to repeat either of these experiences.

I think that is why they are evacuating every one earlier than usual.  I just hope they are sending folks to places where they may not get torrential rain or tornadoes.  My little kathouse stood up to katrina and experienced superficial damage.  I’d rather be in a ditch than a motel built in the 80s if there’s tornadoes and flooding.   I was born in Oklahoma, raised in Iowa and Nebraska, and moved down here from Minnesota.  I know floods and tornadoes well.

So, the question is, do I stay or do I go?  Right now, I’m staying put.  Like I said, I don’t want to head to Florida and be creamed two days later by Hanna or head to Texas and then have Gustav go west and rain hail and tornadoes on me in some poorly built motel room.   So, stay tuned folks as the center of my life the next few days becomes getting my house and act together.  Emily insists she’s okay at LSU and wants to see the football game now scheduled at 10 am.  LSU has underground generators and very sturdy buildings so I have no doubt she’ll be safe there.  I have a kitten, a cat that think its a doberman, and an goofy old retriever mix.  That’s always a consideration too, however, after Katrina, I have to say the chances for animals actually being cared for is good this time.  They’re making arrangements to evacuate pets if people have to take buses and seek public shelters.  Hopefully, that will make the vulnerable and old more willing to go.

I just thought I’d post a few more Katrina pictures here for you so you could remember three years ago.  What I’m actually going to post is the pictures I took after we got home and shared our common love of our wonderful city. Just remember, we’re a resilient lot down here.

McCain makes Political and Puma Savvy VP Choice

If there were ever an indicator that McCain was going after PUMA voters his selection of Governor Sarah Palin sealed the deal.  A savvy selection, Palin will not irritate the social conservatives in the party while intriguing PUMAs and other disaffected Hillary backers.

Palin is a first-term governor credited with reforms of her out-of-the-way state. Newly minted Democratic nominee Barack Obama is making an aggressive play for the traditional GOP stronghold and its three electoral votes, and polls show the race close.

At 44, Palin is younger than Obama and, like McCain, she calls herself a maverick.

source: The Associated Press,  Friday August 29, 2008, 9:47 AM