Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Long Goodbye

I am watching the last of my neighbors pack up his truck as he prepares to hit the road with his family headed for Texas. Our normally busy street is deserted. The stillness in the air is pierced by gusts of what is now a very pleasant breeze. In just a few more hours, however, it will be another story. Gustav is intent on making me a very unpleasant camper and I have horrible feelings about having to leave my humble abode, the home I had been forced to desert unintentionally after the levee breaches three years ago. It is the home that you see above and to the right of this blog with over five feet of water lapping at its base. It has only been 16 months since I returned to New Orleans, living 20-plus months in Cleveland, Ohio. The prospect of having to stay away for another undetermined period is frightening and heartbreaking. What effect this storm will have on the ongoing recovery effort from Katrina remains to be determined. Certainly, the effect on the psyche of the populace has been severe. From reports I have received and watched on my still functioning TV, the drive on the road has been sluggish, at times creeping at a snail's pace. At times the contraflow is moving at 70 m.p.h., while at other times and for no apparent reason, drivers slam on the brakes and everything backs up. I purchased a generator yesterday thinking that it might have been necessary. Now, because I cannot trust leaving it anywhere in or around my house, I will be driving up to wherever I go with it in tow. The only good news is that Gustav seems to be intensifying less than expected and that it still seems to be on a track headed away from New Orleans. It's just not far enough. Were I in Mobile, Alabama -- a two hour's drive under normal conditions -- I would still be in peril. So, the best thing to do is head north and hope that the levees hold. Authorities already have stated that the West Bank area including Algiers is at certain peril due to levees that are expected to breach or are not yet completed. This is ironic because the West Bank was the first area to rebound after Katrina. Gustav could very well finish the job that Katrina and Rita started three years ago. Only time and infinite patience will tell as well as the care and protection of the Lord. Bless us all and keep us in your prayers.

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