Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Weary Wait

While millions of our fellow Americans watched Hillary whip the Democratic National Convention into a dither last night, all of New Orleans was chomping at the bit, wishing it were all over so they could see more of what really interested them...the weather report. As Gustav pounded Haiti, the entire populace of New Orleans kept a watchful eye on every update available, taking note of the barometric pressure of the storm, its forward momentum and top wind gusts. Gustav, like voodoo, is an export from Haiti that most New Orleanians would disdain. This dangerous storm looks like it will be the first to disrupt oil production since the twin threats of Katrina and Rita in 2005. To his credit Governor Bobby Jindal was broadcasting to the populace emergency plans he was putting into place and announcing that evacuations, voluntary at first, would begin by Friday. People who remember the mass exodus from New Orleans on the days prior to Katrina making landfall do so with pain etched on their faces. The 70-mile drive to Baton Rouge took some people as long as six hours and the town was booked solid for those who needed a hotel room or other suitable lodging for an extended stay. A drive to Houston took 12 hours, according to those that made the trip, and the trip to Mobile was also marked by bumper-to-bumper traffic that should have only been a few hours at most. The elderly and those dependent on care will need to leave the city very early so as to make as expeditious and safe an exit as possible. Then there are those stubborn fellows like me who are loath to leave home and hearth no matter what nightmarish scenarios might occur. The fact is no one can tell just where the storm will make landfall and the margin of error is too great to be overly concerned. So we wait and watch. And wait and watch. And wait and watch.

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