Major Hurricane Gustav heads for Louisiana
August 30, 2008 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Hurricane Gustav is headed for landfall in Louisiana in the next 48 hours, with currently around an equal chance of being a category 3 storm or a category 4 storm. Gustav has 150 mph winds at the moment as it begins to enter the gulf of Mexico and a million people evacuate. After failing in their response to Hurricane Katrina three years ago, Fema is trying to be more proactive. Of course, some people are staying in harm's way, live blogging, and once again, there's the cry "bring it on".

posted by cashman (235 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
coldchef--You sticking around town?
posted by zerobyproxy at 2:47 PM on August 30, 2008


And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
posted by plexi at 2:49 PM on August 30, 2008


I'm holed up in my office building on Poydras in the New Orleans CBD manning our computers. Downtown is like a ghost town, the streets are eerily empty. The National Guard is deployed down by the Convention Center and the Superdome carrying M16s. The Quarter still has quite a bit of activity but Nagin was urging tourists to make arangments to leave or take advantage of the busses that the city is providing for those w/o transportation.
posted by djeo at 2:52 PM on August 30, 2008


I live in Algiers (a suburb on the Westbank of New Orleans) and I am hitting the road to stay with my dad in Franklinton, LA. We are leaving at 2AM which what we did during Katrina. It was nice, no traffic, smooth sailing. I hope my luck holds like it did for Katrina with minimal damage.
posted by govtdrone at 2:59 PM on August 30, 2008


Please, bitch, feel free to not bring it.

I'm staying at home as well. My wife's entire family has evacuated here, so there's no way we can leave town.

For what it's worth, where I'm at is unlikely to flood, though we will have terrible wind, rain and tornadoes. We're busy stockpiling supplies and making sure elderly relatives are taken care of. Tonight, just like during Katrina, I'll be at a local nursing home, moving evacuees off of buses from New Orleans. We've got somewhat of a command center set up at our family's funeral home, with generators, supplies, food, water.

If this hurricane is as bad as it looks like it will be (currently, I'm directly in it's path), I will probably lose the ability to communicate with y'all, but I will do my best to give you updates from the eye.
posted by ColdChef at 3:09 PM on August 30, 2008 [45 favorites]


Late August. U.S. Gulf Coast. Hurricanes.

What's the news here?
posted by three blind mice at 3:10 PM on August 30, 2008


FFS. Vaya con dios Chef, seeya on the other side of it!
posted by cavalier at 3:10 PM on August 30, 2008


Good luck, dude.
posted by The Straightener at 3:10 PM on August 30, 2008


What's the news here?

It's hitting LA again. With a cat 5 storm. It's discussion worthy for it's "Oh, no, not again" aspect and its "Huh, Global Warming?" aspect and it's "Holy crap, a Cat 5 storm" aspect.
posted by cavalier at 3:11 PM on August 30, 2008


Got to Arkansas a few hours ago.

This is getting old.
posted by gordie at 3:12 PM on August 30, 2008


Stay safe, ColdChef.
posted by cashman at 3:17 PM on August 30, 2008


coldchef--Stay safe and drop a note when you can. If there's anything we can do in the Blue let us know. I may end up in your neck of the woods...drop you a mefi mail as soon as I know.
posted by zerobyproxy at 3:27 PM on August 30, 2008


Quick, get Dumbya his banjo!
posted by orthogonality at 3:28 PM on August 30, 2008


Me experiences drinking hurricanes at Pat O's in the French Quarter the night before Hurricane Katrina. I spent the next two weeks trying to figure out what to do with my life, as I would not be going back to New Orleans, and I am still paying off debts accumulated by having to restart life in another state with no warning at all.

This hurricane brings back some very bad memories.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:29 PM on August 30, 2008


Shit, now that I think about my history with natural and man-made disasters, maybe I should leave town during the RNC.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:30 PM on August 30, 2008


I guess W and McCain won't be sharing cake this time?
posted by birdherder at 3:32 PM on August 30, 2008


Wow, ColdChef, best of luck to you and everybody down there.
posted by LordSludge at 3:34 PM on August 30, 2008


Banner ad on that NYTimes artice is for Zipcar and says "Your Getaway Car Awaits." Bleh.

After rereading the Katrina thread, all I have to say, is where ever this thing lands, good luck to you all.
posted by salishsea at 3:35 PM on August 30, 2008


Ah. I thought I had commented in that thread, back when I was posting under my actual name.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:41 PM on August 30, 2008


For perspective, here are my photos from the aftermath of Katrina. We were on the "good" side of the storm that time. This time, we're on the "bad" side.
posted by ColdChef at 3:42 PM on August 30, 2008


Good luck and best wishes, ColdChef.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 3:49 PM on August 30, 2008


Thoughts and prayers are with ya, ColdChef.

May that storm stop and stall out and never hit land.
posted by konolia at 3:50 PM on August 30, 2008


Best of luck to all of you in the path of this thing. Stay dry and safe!
posted by darkstar at 3:51 PM on August 30, 2008


There is once again an open thread at The Oil Drum tracking the storm's path and which oil rigs/pipelines/offloading facilities/refineries have been evacuated and might be damaged by the storm.

My thoughts are with everyone in the path of this thing. It really seems unfair for Louisiana to have to go through this again, 3 years after Katrina.
posted by A dead Quaker at 3:54 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


MSNBC hurricane tracker map. (via kottke)
posted by Korou at 3:58 PM on August 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


W just couldn't leave office without crankin' up the ole' weather machine again.

Really, though, this is not good and I hope it loses most of it's intensity before landfall, though that doesn't seem likely as it heads into the middle of the Gulf. :(
posted by ninjew at 4:05 PM on August 30, 2008


FYI: The number of Metafilter front page posts tagged with the term "Katrina", as of this afternoon, stands at 186. Talk about having a lasting impact on our consciousness...
posted by Asparagirl at 4:10 PM on August 30, 2008


For those of us in the path of the storm, send hurricane reports to MSNBC here.
posted by ColdChef at 4:12 PM on August 30, 2008


Hurricane Gustav audiocast
posted by ColdChef at 4:16 PM on August 30, 2008


Send updates to CNN here.
posted by ColdChef at 4:19 PM on August 30, 2008


I'm not a prayin' man, ColdChef et alia, but I am thinking very strongly in your direction.
posted by mwhybark at 4:25 PM on August 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Hurricane chart overload
posted by ColdChef at 4:32 PM on August 30, 2008


I'm in Lafayette. I keep hoping it'll veer more to the west but we'll see.
posted by m0nm0n at 4:37 PM on August 30, 2008


Stay safe, ColdChef.
posted by spiderwire at 4:39 PM on August 30, 2008


Holy crap. So much for "100 year storms." (Which was always a bunch of crap anyway.) I'm glad to see the gvmt is taking this seriously at least, it remains to be seen how it all comes out the other side, though. I can't believe ANYONE would stay in downtown New Orleans unless they're part of the storm teams there. I mean, didn't they learn ANYTHING from last time???

I hope lives lost are minimal for eveyone down there. How awful.
posted by aacheson at 4:41 PM on August 30, 2008


Staying put? Here's some hurricane advice:

The evacuation articles and brochures are all based on the premise that local governments and agencies will be there to manage the aftermath. We all know "this ain't necessarily so." If you intend to stay, be fully prepared to protect and to fend for yourself for several weeks. The adventure is not unlike wilderness camping. If you cannot function without air conditioning and plumbing, leave.
posted by ColdChef at 4:44 PM on August 30, 2008


You cannot say we lack for drama this summer.

Godspeed!
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:49 PM on August 30, 2008


Two of the gas stations in my town have run out of fuel and the storm is still two days away.
posted by ColdChef at 5:02 PM on August 30, 2008


New Orleans Mefites, you're all in my thoughts. Be safe.
posted by thivaia at 5:14 PM on August 30, 2008


Stay safe ColdChef.
posted by sperose at 5:15 PM on August 30, 2008


I've been on vacation in Nashville for the past week so Gustav was completely off my radar until today when I got a call from my mom saying she was evacuating.

Having a hard time wrapping my mind around it right now.
posted by brundlefly at 5:22 PM on August 30, 2008


ColdChef, we love you and we're thinking of you and your beautiful family. Stay safe, let us know you're ok when you can.
posted by anastasiav at 5:26 PM on August 30, 2008


Stay safe, NOLA Mefites, and give us updates if you're able.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:31 PM on August 30, 2008


Wow, reading that original Katrina thread feels so eerie, especially the pre-landfall posts. Stay safe everyone!
posted by amyms at 5:49 PM on August 30, 2008


Here's an interesting little tidbit about how the really big ones, like Katrina, get their strength in the gulf. It depends on how they cross the "loop current". Wikipedia Entry.
posted by Eekacat at 5:54 PM on August 30, 2008


I'm in Baton Rouge, and we should escape a lot of the storm surge damage that NOLA is potentially facing. But some of the storm track models do come a little closer to the city than I would like, especially with the entire hurricane dissipating a lot of energy from landfall.

So, yeah, we're busy in Baton Rouge getting ready too. Lots of water, bread, and charcoal going out of the grocery stores all day. Lines forming and dissolving at the gas stations, random outages of gas here and there. And of course, the LSU football game. Can't delay the football game.

It is different this year though. Most of the hotels are blocked out for rescue workers. The LSU campus is open for triage only, and no emergency shelters open for NOLA residents.

To all my fellow Mefites to the south: stay safe.

I'll update or relay messages from my end if I'm able to.
posted by rand at 6:00 PM on August 30, 2008


New Orleans mayor orders mandatory evacuation.
posted by ericb at 6:40 PM on August 30, 2008


ColdChef and other folks in the path - stay safe. Will be thinking of you.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:41 PM on August 30, 2008


Late August. U.S. Gulf Coast. Hurricanes.

What's the news here?


three blind mice, there are Mefites there, such as coldchef, who we kinda think of as "friends", in that interwebby sort of way. Is that enough news for you?

Also, eponysterical.
posted by jokeefe at 7:11 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Landfall is supposed to be about 2pm Monday. The RNC is supposed to start at 3:30 pm.

Oh, and good luck, ColdChef.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 7:17 PM on August 30, 2008


Tonight, just like during Katrina, I'll be at a local nursing home, moving evacuees off of buses from New Orleans.

Isn't that sort of a conflict of interest for you?

Keep safe and thanks for your work.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:32 PM on August 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


*fingers crossed* Good luck Louisiana. You too ColdChef.
posted by saturnine at 7:34 PM on August 30, 2008


We moved to nola two months ago, and are the first tenants in our newly renovated place post-Katrina. The house got a foot and a half of water then. This whole thing is so odd--three days ago we hung our last artwork on the wall signaling that we were finally settled in. Yesterday, we put the utterly irreplaceable things in the back of our car, and the irreplaceable things up high on tables and shelves.

We're in Austin now, with the kid, the cats, and luazinha's grandpa's 1927 National tricone steel guitar. I'm so glad that we decided to leave yesterday instead of today.

So I probably won't post any songs for a while--I should have brought my microphones! It all happened so fast. A mansion on the hill would indeed be glorious, especially if the hill was high enough not to flood.

I hope gulf coast folks keep giving updates here so that everyone is accounted for.
posted by umbú at 7:36 PM on August 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Good luck, all of you in the path of the storm. Play it safe down there.
posted by EarBucket at 7:39 PM on August 30, 2008


A major hurricane maybe hitting New Orleans during the Republican National Convention? God has a cruel sense of humor.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:56 PM on August 30, 2008


My mom hauled ass for Mississippi late last night, she lives in Metarie with her husband, but still owns a house which barely survived Katrina near the ninth at the edge of the Bayou St. John neighborhood. I love New Orleans, it's one of my spiritual centers, was once my home and will always be a part of me. All of y'all stay frosty down there, you are in my heart.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:01 PM on August 30, 2008


I'm also in Lafayette.

The traffic has been bumper-to-bumper on US 90 going north out of Morgan City. There's a mandatory evacuation of St. Mary parish, and tomorrow one will start for Iberia parish.

I had a hard time getting gas today; most places were out. Yesterday it was impossible to find bottled water.

I'll post here also.
posted by atchafalaya at 8:16 PM on August 30, 2008


According to his Twitter, the guy from the "bring it on" link has decided to leave town.

Will people stay for this one? Does that make any sense? /brit
posted by bonaldi at 8:29 PM on August 30, 2008


From CNN: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour announced Friday that Hurricane Katrina victims living in government-issued trailers or mobile homes along his state's coast would begin evacuating Saturday.

The fact that people are still living in trailers three fucking years to the day after Katrina is enraging.
posted by the_bone at 8:54 PM on August 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Aaah, what's one cajun undertaker more or less.

I kid, of course. ColdChef and I exchanged cell phone #s earlier today, and although I didn't extract a promise from him in our conversation, I want to do so here - please text me if necessary, man. And please, please stay safe.
posted by yhbc at 8:56 PM on August 30, 2008


Folks, I've never met this man in my life.
posted by ColdChef at 9:16 PM on August 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Good luck, Coldchef, and indeed everyone else down there.

We'll see you on the flip side.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 9:17 PM on August 30, 2008


My fingers are crossed for everyone there and I'm sending anti-hurricane thoughts/prayers/vibes, and I'm sort of obsessively reloading various hurricane tracking sites. Please be safe, all of you in Gustav's path.
posted by rtha at 9:19 PM on August 30, 2008


I'm sort of surprised that nobody mentions the death toll from Katrina when discussing this stuff. Do people recognize how significant the loss of life was, or just think of it as abstract property damage?

Yeah it's not pertinent at the moment, but I still get pissed when thinking it.

Hopefully Gustav will putter out, but I wouldn't count on it. If that hot-water eddy kicks in, it'll get very big very fast. There's a colder patch of water that should counteract that slightly, but it's in line for some pretty serious shit.

Here's a projected path overlaid on water temperatures that I thought was interesting.

As always, I like Jeff Master's Blog as a beginning source of info.

Storm2k Forums are pretty good too.
posted by Lord_Pall at 9:37 PM on August 30, 2008


Stay safe, everyone.
posted by bettafish at 9:44 PM on August 30, 2008


Please get out while you can if you have any means possible. This storm ain't no joke.
posted by shockingbluamp at 9:45 PM on August 30, 2008


Godspeed and good luck to those of you in the path. Most likely we'll just get rain and a little wind here in Houston, but I-10 outbound was bumper-to-bumper this afternoon already.
posted by mrbill at 9:47 PM on August 30, 2008


My stomach is all in icy-feeling knots just thinking about another big storm hitting the same area again. Good luck to all in the path of the storm. Stay safe, and know the entire country is sending good vibes your way.
posted by gemmy at 10:44 PM on August 30, 2008


umbú, glad you made it to Austin with the fam.
coldchef, all the best to you and those weathering the storm at your place.
(for those interested fellow NOLA mefite radioamy is safe in San Antonio, TX)

I left the city early Friday morning, and have been in west Texas with my family since Friday night. (Sadly my girlfriend has been on I-10 to Mobile, AL since about 6pm -- she is now just past Biloxi, MS.)
posted by darainwa at 10:44 PM on August 30, 2008


Right now there are evacuees downstairs being loaded onto city buses, headed for the various shelters that have been set up around the Memphis area (I live right above the Amtrak station). It was very surreal to watch; some of these people didn't have very much with them at all, and most had just one medium-sized suitcase. I just can't imagine being asked to choose which things I want to pack in one bag so I can sit on a train for hours to go to another city and stay in a shelter for who knows how many days. It's a very forceful reminder of just how different conditions are in this country if you are poor.

Good luck to all of you still on the Gulf Coast.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 10:49 PM on August 30, 2008


I'm in NO for the storm and just got back from a great French Quarter bar full of crazy locals vowing to stay and arguing vociferously about jukebox abuse. I love these people. If the city survives, I'm seriously thinking of moving here.
I was going to be forced to weather the storm in my rental car, but a random drunk girl I met at the bar hooked me up with a place to stay thru Gustav. woo hoo!

Coldchef memail me.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:54 PM on August 30, 2008


(I know a lot of you have been in my cab and/or seen my show so let me just say quickly that I'm okay and long gone...in fact, I've been out of town all summer, living in a cabin in the mountains of NC. I was supposed to go back on Monday, in fact. Eh, time to come up with another plan...)
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:18 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


A lot of you have asked where exactly in Louisiana I am. Here's me.
posted by ColdChef at 11:19 PM on August 30, 2008


Louisiana residents can dial 211 if they need a shelter inside Louisiana. Residents who are looking for a shelter in another state should call the toll-free number 1-866-Get Info (1-866-438-4636) for the location of Red Cross shelters in another state.
posted by ColdChef at 11:28 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. Hard to know what to say, at a time like this.

Best of luck to everybody. Not just MeFites, but the whole region. Some of us haven't forgotten you, we just don't know what else to do to help.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:32 PM on August 30, 2008


The French Quarter tonight

Ominous shadow

"Run like a bitch" or "Stick it out like a jackass"?
posted by ColdChef at 11:42 PM on August 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Another "stay safe, good luck" to ColdChef and anyone else in the line of fire.

I remember thinking just before Katrina hit and thinking how frustrating it was to know that this was going to happen and yet be completely powerless to avert it. Whoever wrote this avisory clearly felt the same.
posted by Skorgu at 11:57 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


darainwa, thanks for the update. I'm glad you and radioamy are safe in Texas. Stay safe, all--especially CunningLinguist and ColdChef.
posted by umbú at 12:16 AM on August 31, 2008


Hoy shit, some of these quotes Nagin is putting out are terrifying. BBC article here:

"Anyone who decides to stay, I'll say it like I said it before Katrina: make sure you have an axe, because you will be carving your way, or busting your way out of your attic to get on your roof with waters that you will be surrounded with in this event."

He's aiming for 100% evacuation, with less than 50 city employees in the city when it's all over. Were these the same goals when Katrina hit? Or are they simply more on top of things this time around?
posted by schroedinger at 12:42 AM on August 31, 2008


Hope you guys who will be hit by Gustav will be OK. I'm getting flashbacks to following the Katrina coverage, and once again I'm relieved I live in a place with no hurricanes, mudslides, floods, brushfires, earthquakes or the like.
posted by Harald74 at 1:30 AM on August 31, 2008


Dance, dance like there's no one watching, Finis Shelnutt. You are beyond weather. Well, almost...
posted by maryh at 1:39 AM on August 31, 2008


A major hurricane maybe hitting New Orleans during the Republican National Convention? God has a cruel sense of humor.

True that. Am I the only one remembering this?

Sounds like a million silent prayers made a little scheduling boo-boo.
posted by rokusan at 3:25 AM on August 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


Please educate a poor man born in a flat land far from the sea... wasn't Katrina a Category 5 storm, while this is projected as "only" a 3 or worst-case 4?
posted by rokusan at 3:26 AM on August 31, 2008


Katrina hit at a category 3 strength.

It killed ~1800 people, the majority from secondary flooding.

A Cat 1 Hurricane is a big deal on it's own. A Cat 3 striking an area that hasn't reinforced or rebuilt it's infrastructure since an earlier strike.. And that's largely below sea level and expecting a 15-25 foot storm surge?

That's gonna be ugly.
posted by Lord_Pall at 3:35 AM on August 31, 2008


Useful information from Wikipedia about the Saffir-Simpson scales

Essentially, if you are in the area, leave now.
posted by Lord_Pall at 3:38 AM on August 31, 2008


I will be interested to see what Repubs do about this, I betcha they move the convention back a week or two. They couldn't stand splitting the media time and they sure don't want anyone remembering that OTHER time they sat on their thumbs in their suits while a city drowned.
posted by pomegranate at 3:39 AM on August 31, 2008


I hope Fema actually responds in a timely fashion this time.

No more toxic trailers, no more 1 week for water, food, ice. No more Fema heads trying to resign because people are mean to him.

This is hopefully a chance for the government to cowboy the fuck up and show that Katrina was a fluke.. A one time screwup..
posted by Lord_Pall at 3:43 AM on August 31, 2008


Reading this thread and watching the weather report on Gustav on the news. Holy Shit. This, my mefites, is a fucked up situation.
posted by josher71 at 6:12 AM on August 31, 2008


A) Cancel convention.
B) Pack up all the banquet food and water. Drive it to the gulf coast and donate it to the coming relief effort.
C) All delegates become volunteers mucking out houses and distributing supplies.

Follow the river. You'll know when you get there.
posted by hal9k at 6:59 AM on August 31, 2008 [5 favorites]


What saddens me the most about this is, realistically, there's going to be a fraction of a response to this one as there was for Katrina.

Government officials have likely been preparing for media spin more than they've been preparing for another hurricane, and pundits are going to probably show only a fraction of the coverage that Katrina got because there's the Republican convention going on at the same time too. Besides, in the media eyes this is a ho-hum story.

Most depressingly, that probably will apply to relief efforts as well. I'm not knocking anyone's generosity here but I simply don't believe there's going to be as much of a nationwide concern as there was with Katrina. In fact, I think the right-wing angle of "well what the fuck are those morons doing all living there to begin with" will probably sell better now that a second hurricane is arriving.

I will be interested to see what Repubs do about this, I betcha they move the convention back a week or two. They couldn't stand splitting the media time and they sure don't want anyone remembering that OTHER time they sat on their thumbs in their suits while a city drowned.

The media likes talking about this the way they liked talking about the "Hillary rebellion-" because it's a great pitch angle. It's also a silly notion. There are tens of millions of dollars invested in hotels, catering, facilities, and staff for several thousand people in the Twin Cities. It's four days of guaranteed media coverage for a political party. If anything, the GOP convention will be turned into a four-day spectacle of feigned compassion, but the idea that the convention was ever going to be "canceled" is ludicrous. At best, George Bush will miss the convention, which is what Republicans were DESPERATE for to begin with, and they'll probably lose Bobby Jindal as as speaker. McCain may do a speech remotely, which will also alleviate the issue of having no chance to compare to Obama's speech before 80,000 people.

The reality is that this week is going to be filled with flashbacks to the Republican incompetence of three years ago, whether they have a convention or not. So they might as well stay there and get the free media coverage, and maybe get a few shots of Sarah Palin hanging out with FEMA officials.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:02 AM on August 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is hopefully a chance for the government to cowboy the fuck up and show that Katrina was a fluke.. A one time screwup..

A chance to say "look how on the ball we are when it's a political necessity".
posted by Artw at 7:07 AM on August 31, 2008 [5 favorites]


*I should probably clarify that by saying the "ho-hum story" line is in context of the Katrina coverage from three years ago. CNN is doing extensive coverage on Gustav right now, but already half of the coverage is in the context of "are the Republicans canceling the convention?" Once the convention starts, that's going to be the bulk of the coverage, especially during the night hours when there are less-visible exterior shots.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:08 AM on August 31, 2008


From the BBC:
Eric Blake, from the US National Hurricane Center in Florida, told the BBC Mr Nagin may have overstated the size of the hurricane.
"I think that may be a bit of an exaggeration. I mean, they already had Hurricane Katrina, and right now this is no Hurricane Katrina. But we still think it will be a large and powerful hurricane and a significant threat."
posted by bonaldi at 7:14 AM on August 31, 2008


I think it is reasonable to ask if NOLA is really inhabitable going forwards. We can't take this every 3 years.

Global climate change is coming for the cities at or below sea level first. But the rest of us on or near coasts are getting a glimpse of a future in which we will have to be abandoning cities and moving inland, and I think it's closer than a lot of people want to believe.

I love New Orleans. One of my favorite places on planet earth, and some of the coolest people on the planet call it home. Greatest musical city in America. All that. But if it drowns under two or three megastorms in a row this year, after barely picking itself up off its knees from Katrina, I think the time has come to rebuild it further north.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:45 AM on August 31, 2008


This is making my stomach twist. I've never been anywhere near the Gulf Coast, but Katrina...that we screwed up our response so badly that Castro offered doctors, and we needed them, that people still don't have homes, that...

Fuck. Just fuck.
posted by QIbHom at 7:52 AM on August 31, 2008


I don't fault Nagin for "overstating" the threat. They have a lot of understating to make up for.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:11 AM on August 31, 2008


Anyone who needs a place to stay in Lafayette, MeMail me. I know we're certainly not clear of the storm here and you should go north if you can, but I have a sturdy home and we will be well supplied.

Good luck everyone!
posted by MotorNeuron at 8:18 AM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


pomegranate writes "I will be interested to see what Repubs do about this, I betcha they move the convention back a week or two"

Like XQUZYPHYR said, you can't "move back" the convention. At a minimum you need a year of lead time to block out hotel rooms for that many people. Plus all the vacation time (makes big assumption that most of the delegates don't actually work for the party) and airfare. It's either go ahead or cancel outright and hold a phone vote or something.
posted by Mitheral at 8:31 AM on August 31, 2008


Anyone know if DirectNIC is going to do a repeat of holing up in the office building, keeping a little bit of the internet going, and reporting the situation?

Gustav Wiki.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:01 AM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bush and Cheney are, according to CNN, going to skip the convention.
posted by HuronBob at 9:05 AM on August 31, 2008


Whee.

Gonna be riding it out in Prairieville (10 miles S/SE of BR). Should be OK here, as long as the models don't jog too much further to the east.
posted by kuperman at 9:12 AM on August 31, 2008


Anyone know if DirectNIC is going to

We are going to do exactly that but the details haven't been quite worked out yet. We've been too busy prepping everything else to get the blog details hammered out. But, rest assured, that as soon as I know the details I'll post them here.
posted by djeo at 9:12 AM on August 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


Holy shit, some of these quotes Nagin is putting out are terrifying.

That's his job, accuracy is not, at least at this point.

I'm hoping for the best. A slight turn could make all the difference in the world. People forget that New Orleans initially did pretty well with Katrina. It was the secondary flooding when the levees failed that created a catastrophe.

And no one loves new orleans more than me, but there was extreme damage all over the gulf coast, not just new orleans.

I love New Orleans. One of my favorite places on planet earth, and some of the coolest people on the planet call it home. Greatest musical city in America. All that. But if it drowns under two or three megastorms in a row this year, after barely picking itself up off its knees from Katrina, I think the time has come to rebuild it further north.

Then it wouldn't be new orleans. I can't think of a place more attached to it's location and all that entails than new orleans. To move it north and still use that name is as comical as Utah calling their basketball team the 'jazz'.
posted by justgary at 9:13 AM on August 31, 2008


Beats calling the present city "Atlantis."
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:29 AM on August 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


Call it whatever you want, just not new orleans.
posted by justgary at 9:33 AM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Italians aren't giving up on Venice and the Dutch aren't giving up on Amsterdam. We are not giving up on New Orleans.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:53 AM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


We could call it Newer Leans.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:59 AM on August 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


Anybody have a good site that has been / will be updated frequently with technical meteorological details / predictions?
posted by Perplexity at 10:20 AM on August 31, 2008


I think Amsterdam and Venice are not going to make it either, sadly--eventually they will have to give in to rising waters. Even now they're built on the ruins of lost buildings that have already sunk. Despite a rich culture, human life is more important than location, in the end. I understand the idea of N.O. forever, but if it's impossible to protect it--if people have to keep evacuating more and more and losing more and more that's valuable to them (and more of them die)--how can we keep it?

Restoring the wetlands would help, but would displace many people as effectively as moving the city would. And limit its size.

Cities are only semi-logical constructs anyway, but eventually they can become unworkable if circumstances become bad enough. Would it not make sense to find a middle ground between denial and eventual catastrophe, like moving as much of it as could be moved to safer ground? Is a culture that can survive hurricanes too weak to survive that change?

But anyway, good luck to all Louisianans out there, and I hope you all stay safe.
posted by emjaybee at 10:22 AM on August 31, 2008


Try Ham Weather, Perplexity.
posted by MotorNeuron at 10:25 AM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


You live in the Quarter. The shotgun you live in dates back to pre-Victorian time. The bar down the street from you dates even further back, to when the French actually had the Quarter, and its popular mythology is that it was owned by the pirate Jen Lafitte, who fought with the Americans against the British in the Battle of New Orleans, on the Chalmette battlefield, just a few miles away.

You head out to do your laundry, which you do in a laundromat on Rampart that was formerly J&M studios, where Fats Domino recorded what is arguably the first rock and roll song ever recorded, The Fat Man, in which he references standing on the corner of Rampart and Canal, just a few blocks away. Across the street is Congo Square, where slaves used to gather on Sundays, and sing, and was the place jazz was born. Next to it is the site of Storyville, the former red light district, in whose brothels jazz came of age, and where both Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton learned their craft. Next to that is Basin Street. That's where the Zulu parade goes every Mardi Gras, which once had Louis Armstrong as their king.

That's three blocks of New Orleans. And it's the most cursory look at it. I haven't even detailed the St. Louis Cemetery nearby, which contains the bodies of many of the city's founders, as well as that of voodoo queen Marie Laveau, and Easy Rider's LSD freakout scene was shot there. That's one more block. And we're just circling the Quarter now. We haven't headed along the Irish channel, or to the Garden District, or up towards the Lake, where there's the spectacular City Park.

You gonna move that?

No. You build a wall around it and protect it, because it's America, and you don't let an American city fall because you couldn't make it enough of a priority to divert a fraction of the money you're spending on a useless war abroad to shore up the levees enough -- in three years! -- to make sure it would survive another hurricane. Because it wasn't Katrina that flooded New Orleans last time. It was the levees. If the levees are sound, the city is sound.

It all depends on what we care about. And, for the last eight years, we haven't cared enough about one of America's most unique cities enough to protect it. The fact that the levees may not be strong enough to survive Gustav is an outrage, as in any talk of just giving up the city. Why would you throw away something that precious?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:29 AM on August 31, 2008 [91 favorites]


Word up AZ.
posted by djeo at 10:34 AM on August 31, 2008


Blackwater Gears Up For Gustav
posted by homunculus at 10:35 AM on August 31, 2008


CNN: McCain’s Plans To Make Natural Disaster Backdrop For His Convention
posted by homunculus at 10:38 AM on August 31, 2008


Blackwater Gears Up For Gustav

Wow. Just like the movies! Will there be a training montage where we see all these guys in black gear, loading magazines with rounds and racking the slides on their semi-automatic pistols?
posted by ninjew at 11:04 AM on August 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


Best of luck to all you Gulf Coast MeFites - keep us posted if you can.

Good grief, Hubby and I were planning a vacation in New Orleans in October, thinking that NOLA could use a few tourist dollars even this long after Katrina. I hope the city pulls through and I hope things aren't such a mess that a couple of tourists would just get in the way.

Yeah, it's selfish to be fretting about a vacation when lives and livelihoods are at stake, but I remember a few weeks/months after Katrina, business owners in New Orleans were begging visitors to come and pump some money into the devastated economy so they could rebuild. So I guess if there's anything left after Gustav, there's all the more reason for Hubby and me to go there and spend openhandedly. ColdChef, CunningLinguist, radioamy, umbú, rand, djeo et al, stay safe and let us buy you a beer in October!
posted by Quietgal at 11:18 AM on August 31, 2008


Menwhile in China, a major earthquake has hit the province of Sichuan.. This is the month of catastrophe re-runs apparently.
posted by Catfry at 11:58 AM on August 31, 2008


Just checking in to send all matter of heartfelt good thoughts to the Gulf. ColdChef, you and yours are on all our radar screens right now.
posted by scody at 12:08 PM on August 31, 2008


Astro Zombie's comment needs to go on the sidebar. Best of Metafilter.
posted by EarBucket at 12:10 PM on August 31, 2008



"Blackwater Gears Up For Gustav"

"Wow. Just like the movies! Will there be a training montage where we see all these guys in black gear, loading magazines with rounds and racking the slides on their semi-automatic pistols?"



This isn't going to be a bunch of saints carrying side arms while stacking sandbags and putting plywood over windows. We are talking about a reckless security organization that have shot many people in Iraq for less than looting the water from a big box store. Their only reason for being there is a security contract through the Department of Homeland Security, that is to say, money and lots of it. They have no obligation whatsoever to the needs of those people affected by the Hurricane. Oh, and they will likely be carrying assault rifles. I think the best analogy to this would be British Soldiers providing security in American cities in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War.


Blackwater Katrina response

Blackwater Preps for Hurricane Gustav

The Contract Length TBD part means that they haven't been given a contract yet, but are going in there on the assumption that they will eventually be paid for their "services." They are looking for associates with "arrest powers" and with "Armed or Semi-Auto" authorization.

The Third Amendment has long been fairly inapplicable, but now would be the time to give it a second look because even though they are not being quartered in the homes of citizens, they will certainly be heavily armed and patrolling the streets. The sentiments behind it are there.
posted by clearly at 12:19 PM on August 31, 2008


It's nice to see the commenters on the Houston Chronicle's website are welcoming the evacuees with open arms. Makes me fucking sick.
posted by birdherder at 12:20 PM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


McCain’s Plans To Make Natural Disaster Backdrop For His Convention
I don't see what's natural about the Bush presidency.
posted by Grangousier at 12:24 PM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


For the record, I agree with you AZ, and that was beautifully put. I just hope you're right that it's possible.
posted by emjaybee at 12:44 PM on August 31, 2008


For what it's worth I'm praying it does not hit and weakens dramatically before landfall.
I'm also praying for someone with some balls and some weight to re-build a functional levee and pump system, one on a par with any other historically and culturally important city, like say London or Venice or Amsterdam has.

The negligence in this case (the re-building of the levees) is baffling at best, deeply embarrassing (and criminally negligent) at best.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:59 PM on August 31, 2008


John McCain tore up the script for his Republican National Convention on Sunday, ordering the cancellation of all but essential opening-day activities as Hurricane Gustav churned toward New Orleans.

"This is a time when we have to do away with our party politics and we have to act as Americans," he said as fellow Republicans converged on their convention city to nominate him for the White House.


It seems McCain is going to attempt to make New Orleans, and the potential disaster there, the actual backdrop of his campaign. All right, McCain. Then answer me this: Why did you vote Against Emergency Funding Bill, including $28 Billion for Hurricane Relief and vote against passage of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations of 2006 which provided more than $28 billion for hurricane relief, approximately $2.3 billion for pandemic flu preparations and $1.9 billion for border security efforts?

Why did you vote against an amendment to provide emergency health care and other relief for survivors of Hurricane Katrina? Why did you TWICE vote against establishing a commission to study the response to hurricane Katrina. Why did you opposed granting financial relief to those affected by Hurricane Katrina?

Why did you say you weren't sure we should rebuild the 9th Ward?

And where were you when Katrina happened, you maverick, you champion of New Orleans? What about your response made you different from Bush?

This is not your game to play politics with.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:34 PM on August 31, 2008 [31 favorites]


I live in SW Ontario now, but for 24 years I lived in South Florida. We were 50 miles on the north side of Andrew, and we stayed; in a concrete house with a concrete roof with 3/4" of plywood over every window. And when you hear the sound of freight trains outside and you're miles from the tracks, you know there's an entire other planet happening out there.

When I hear the word hurricane, my fingers reflexively type www.nhc.noaa.gov -- and today I do that and I cringe.

Take care, folks.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:35 PM on August 31, 2008


Sadly, birdherder, the commenters in Memphis are not much better.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 1:37 PM on August 31, 2008


I like the instructions at the bottom of the Memphis page:
Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them.

The comments on commercialappeal.com are a part of our house.

In our house, we expect people to behave.

So here are our house rules: We don't allow comments that degrade others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or disability. Epithets, abusive language and obscene comments will not be tolerated... nor will defamation.

Robust, even heated debate we like. Straying off-topic or flaming, we don't.

In other words, act as if you have home training.

Break our rules, and we will ban you. No exceptions, no second chances.

If you feel a comment on this story violates our rules, please click "Suggest removal" and the comment will be reviewed.

posted by ColdChef at 2:18 PM on August 31, 2008


Doing something I haven't done in a long, long time. Going to Mass with my mama.
posted by ColdChef at 2:27 PM on August 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


I guess we all are looking forward hearing from you, ColdChef. A cat3 hurricane is nothing compared to all the hot agitated air we regularly produce over there, so you'll breeze throught it like it was a vacation. Stay safe and keep notes for us to comment on!
posted by elpapacito at 2:58 PM on August 31, 2008


Astro Zombie writes "You gonna move that?"

One might effectively have no choice. Even if sea levels weren't rising, New Orleans is subsisting a half metre per century. Much of the history you related occurred either while NO was above sea level or during the 45 (1916-1960) years when the city was lucky enough to miss any major hurricane action. We're currently on track to match the four cat 3+ storms in eight years in 1852,55,56,60.
posted by Mitheral at 4:35 PM on August 31, 2008


Man, there is nothing going on in the downtown streets of New Orleans. My office building overlooks Poydras and St. Charles and it's eerie how quiet and empty the streets are.
posted by djeo at 4:40 PM on August 31, 2008


clearly:

This isn't going to be a bunch of saints carrying side arms while stacking sandbags and putting plywood over windows. We are talking about a reckless security organization that have shot many people in Iraq for less than looting the water from a big box store.

Wooosh... I think you missed the irony of the original post... I'm sincerely hoping that Blackwater, the National Guard and any other agencies involved have some actual "fresh water" and assistance is their primary purpose, please, please prove my internal negativity wrong.

My best wishes to those in the area, my wife will be praying and we will be hoping that this is not another human disaster.
posted by jkaczor at 4:41 PM on August 31, 2008


A family member has chosen, for the second time (I will not even recount my personal Katrina nightmare), to "ride it out."
posted by liketitanic at 5:11 PM on August 31, 2008


Just got back from Mass. The Mass was dedicated to Our Lady of Prompt Succor and they prayed for deliverance from the storm. Then, we had a huge gumbo dinner to feed all the folks who will be doing relief effort over the next few days and weeks. Met a lot of evacuees from New Orleans, including two distant cousins.

I should go to bed early to night, but I have a feeling that I won't be able to sleep.
posted by ColdChef at 5:12 PM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


The first wave of rain just washed over us. For the first time since beginning to prep for this storm in the middle of last week it feels real.
posted by djeo at 5:17 PM on August 31, 2008


My thoughts are with you, New Orleans, and Louisiana, the the people of that city and state, who I miss and love.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:23 PM on August 31, 2008


Hang in there, all. We're thinking of you. Fingers crossed from up North.
posted by jokeefe at 5:26 PM on August 31, 2008


Please be okay, you guys.
posted by padraigin at 6:05 PM on August 31, 2008


djeo, are you gonna webcam it again?
posted by mwhybark at 6:14 PM on August 31, 2008


We have discussed it but I'm not sure who is supposed to be setting it up. We're all busy grinding out our respective tasks right now. I'll post about it when I know.
posted by djeo at 6:19 PM on August 31, 2008


And AZ, hang in there. Zombies don't have functioning tear ducts. I'm getting up at 8am to gather ingredients so I will have a hurricane in my hand by 10a PDT at the latest. Please join me (and that goes for all of MeFi).
posted by mwhybark at 6:20 PM on August 31, 2008


It's just starting to drizzle in Baton Rouge. And here come the outer rain bands on radar.

I second that, djeo. It's finally here. It's finally feels real. Now it needs to go the hell away, and quickly.

Basin bridge over Lake Pontchartrain is now (as of 7 pm) closed due to the winds.

Good luck to everyone south of here. Stay safe. We're going in...
posted by rand at 6:25 PM on August 31, 2008


The wind is starting to whip around outside. I went out into my backyard to take a leak and ended up pissing on my feet. I'm drinking a tad. Rain bands are starting. Going to be a long night.
posted by ColdChef at 6:37 PM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dr. John once talked about a hurricane he saw when he was a boy. He said he looked out his window and saw a massive tree walking down the street.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:39 PM on August 31, 2008


I'll be up all night watching...
posted by pjern at 6:41 PM on August 31, 2008


Good luck to all of you. Take care of yourselves, and those around you.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:59 PM on August 31, 2008


My thoughts and prayers to everyone in Gustav's path. Stay safe.
posted by lysistrata at 7:01 PM on August 31, 2008


Here's another account from a local author in New Orleans who will be riding out the storm and promises to post updates by phone in the event of power/Internet outages.

My thoughts and prayers are with those in the path of the storm as well as those who've fled to higher ground.
posted by KatlaDragon at 7:05 PM on August 31, 2008


Hey ColdChef.

Greetings from Key West. All I want to say is, whatever happens, if you love where you live (especially if your from where you live like I am), hurricanes can't take that away.

And the only reason I say this: Because I know you know what I am talking about.

Get clear and then drop some good news on us. For me, it's realer when it's over.

Shit, Gustav swept by our island like a banshee last night. But today? It's bright and sunny.

So now I'm on my way to an 80's-themed dance benefit for the Key West Library. 'Cause everything is cool and libraries rule.

And when Concrete Blonde's Bloodletting comes on? Ima get my pogo on for your entire city, man!

You can return the favor for us/Key West someday. On the flip side. Out.
posted by humannaire at 7:22 PM on August 31, 2008


Be safe, all of you.
I'm keeping all of NOLA in my thoughts tonight.
posted by Heretic at 8:07 PM on August 31, 2008


From a born-and-raised Mobile boy to ColdChef, djeo, and any other Gulf Coasters in the line of danger right now, you're in my thoughts and prayers.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 8:26 PM on August 31, 2008


(dammit, I've been out of the loop, so I'm reposting from the possibly dead thread here):

Man, I just want to say that everyone in the area should take care of themselves and those that need it most right now. I love that area.

Please, if there's a god*, let him or her look out for that area. Or at least provide axes to those who don't have one or a neighbor who has one.

*yeah, well, at least maybe it can move off the coast or something.
posted by sleepy pete at 8:48 PM on August 31, 2008


Entergy has a map that's supposed to show power outages. I don't know how accurate it's going to be once things get hopping.
posted by djeo at 9:05 PM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


It may not be the rain or the wind, but the lack of pumping capacity that will hurt New Orleans this time.
posted by Rafaelloello at 9:22 PM on August 31, 2008


Blackwater Gears Up For Gustav

Blackwater, FUCK YEAH!
Coming to save the motherfucking day yeah!
posted by Artw at 9:51 PM on August 31, 2008


Overlaying the Metafilter Google Earth file and the hurricane data, it looks like m0nm0n, Yorrick, puddsharp, coreb, MotorNeuron, and atchafalaya are near Lafayette, directly in Gustav's path; The Giant Squid, RicciHull, rentalkarma, grimcity, manguero, mblandi, lrkuperman and ColdChef are in nearby Baton Rouge; and raysmj, msconduct, The Radish, Mr. Gunn, ab3, mitzyjalapeno, govtdrone, ariana, superchris, Ian A.T., goneill, djeo, bookwo3107, pyjammy, siobhan, and sil3ntstatic are in NOLA. ivey, justgary, and zalary don't appear to be near the hurricane's path, but look like they're troublingly near the coast.

I'm glad to read some of you above are safe and sound. I'll be keeping all of you in my thoughts and hoping fervently that you all survive in good spirits and with as little damage to your persons, families, and property as possible.
posted by WCityMike at 10:41 PM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dina Mehta writes about the fact that meanwhile back in Bihar there are no such social or community communication networks, all the more reason for a wireless web to be built for even the most basic phones.

I’ve seen no such effort around the recent floods in India on the other hand, where many have died and many more homeless, but it’s very difficult to do when there is almost no connectivity in the regions affected. Here are a couple of useful blogs I found:

Bihar Flood Relief

Bihar Flood operation relief

posted by infini at 10:46 PM on August 31, 2008


Artw, hah.

ColdChef, my solidarity extends to symbolic drinks but I draw the line at peeing on my own feet!

WCM, Ian A.T. noted he has been outta town for a while now, fwiw.

Se y'all in the morning. Safe and sound, of course.
posted by mwhybark at 10:55 PM on August 31, 2008


Hm... maybe one more thought - the latest predictions put the track over Lafayette at 8p tomorrow, local. This actually means that Baton Rouge is closer to the center and has higher wind speed probabilities, does it not?
posted by mwhybark at 11:10 PM on August 31, 2008


from california, best wishes for good luck. we'll be swinging by in october.
posted by fishfucker at 11:55 PM on August 31, 2008


I'm late to this thread, but here is a list of streams of related radio chatter. The one at hwn.org is down, unfortunately.

Amateur radio had an important role during Katrina.
posted by vira at 2:19 AM on September 1, 2008


Thank god, praise buddha, hail eris, what have you, the overnight has seen the storm slow down (wind rotation) and speed up (movement). Now looks about a cat 3 sweeping through Nola at about 16mph. Not good, but certainly an improvement over a slow moving apolcapytic storm. A lot of rain (flooding) still, though.. :(
posted by cavalier at 4:04 AM on September 1, 2008


I can't believe ANYONE would stay in downtown New Orleans unless they're part of the storm teams there. I mean, didn't they learn ANYTHING from last time???

aacheson: consider the case of my friend, mike, who lives in slidell. he takes care of his 80+-year old parents; his father with alzheimers and his bedridden mother who is fed via a tube. a nurse was at their house last week and declared that they don't qualify as 'special needs' people, so they don't get any assistance with evacuation. his mother can't travel far by car--she has trouble breathing when she has to sit up for too long--and his sister is the primary care giver for the mother, so they work as a team. luckily he's employed at stennis, which in times gone by has been used as a shelter of last resort. they're not opening to the general population this time (and, indeed, there are NO shelters that i know of on the entire gulf coast region), but will allow employees & their familes to use the facilities. not an ideal situation, but ...

there really are many, MANY reasons that picking up and leaving is next-to-impossible, and a few excellent reasons that make it impossible. lots of the folks who stay are well aware of the potential danger, but some just can't make a more reasonable, responsible decision.
posted by msconduct at 5:00 AM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


(and, indeed, there are NO shelters that i know of on the entire gulf coast region)

What? You're kidding.

I lived for 2 years in Darwin, Australia. In that time, we had a category 5 storm bearing down on us (the US Navy's measurements put it as having the lowest central pressure ever recorded) - luckily it veered south over land and died out quickly. And we had a cat 3, which also went south of us, but was strong enough to knock down a hell of a lot of trees.

Anyway, Darwin is a city of about 100,000 people. And there were at least 5 shelters there, some intended for people, others were underground carparks where people with pets could come and stay with their pets in their cars.

The idea that a region like this in the US has no shelters is fucking mindboggling.
posted by Jimbob at 5:26 AM on September 1, 2008


Jimbob: I'm pretty sure msconduct means that there are no official, manned shelters at this time. As I understand it, the priority was to get people to evacuate, no to lull them into a false sense of security by manning local shelters and giving them an extra excuse to stick around.
posted by syzygy at 5:32 AM on September 1, 2008


syzygy's got it right. My understanding is that in order to get New Orleans evacuated they elected to not provide services for people who have stayed behind. It seems to have worked, as reports are coming in that 80-ish% of the city's population hs evacuated out of the city.

Incidentally, I've evacuated to baton rouge and we're just starting to get some rain (although the wind has been whipping around since last night) - I don't suppose the power's going to be on much longer here, lol...
posted by bookwo3107 at 6:02 AM on September 1, 2008


Aaah, fair enough. My understanding of how our shelters worked, is that they were for people in houses that were not cyclone-certified, or who were unable to leave town. Darwin was completely flattened in 1974, but it's amazing how quickly people can become complacent.
posted by Jimbob at 6:06 AM on September 1, 2008


So the remaining 20%, who would be disproportionately composed of the sick, elderly, and poor, are ok with having no shelters to go to?

That's ok, it's all their own fault anyway. The market will sort it out.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 6:07 AM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


MeTa
posted by popechunk at 6:09 AM on September 1, 2008


I graduated college this Fall and after trying desperately to find a job in New Orleans, I decided it best to wait out and let the city get back on its feet a while. I grew up going to New Orleans about twice a year and dreamed of living there when I was old enough. Sometimes life just throws you insane curve-balls to any dreams, loves in your life (and the city has always been one of my loves)... the people, the architecture, the food, the music...

I had been three times since Katrina and it has changed a lot, understandably. However I found little pockets of artist communities, the great restaurants and bars in the Garden District and French Quarter were hit hard but still operating wonderfully.

Within the next few hours I'll watch on my toes... Good luck to you all. I'll hang on to my Lady of Prompt Succor necklace.
posted by hillabeans at 6:12 AM on September 1, 2008


Gustav has just been downgraded to Category 2, with the centre predicted to make landfall around midday.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:39 AM on September 1, 2008


Gustav has just been downgraded to Category 2

Oh... See, it was all just a ploy by the republicans to garner sympathy for their convention.

Damn you Neo-con weather making machine operated by Karl Rove!!
posted by Balisong at 7:08 AM on September 1, 2008


I can't believe ANYONE would stay in downtown New Orleans unless they're part of the storm teams there. I mean, didn't they learn ANYTHING from last time???

I've been hearing that the emergency transporation that the city brought in to evacuate people won't allow passengers to bring along their pets. And it may be folly, but I know I personally would have a very, very, VERY hard time abandoning my cat to a hurricane, and I am sure there are many other people that would also have a hard time abandoning their pets. And since I don't have a car to get me and my cat out ourselves, if I lived in New Orleans right now rather than New York, I'd be screwed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:10 AM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't believe ANYONE would stay in downtown New Orleans unless they're part of the storm teams there. I mean, didn't they learn ANYTHING from last time???

I read an interview in the NYT or CNN with a dishwasher who was not planning to leave; he said that if he evacuated because of the hurricane he wasn't sure if he would be able to keep his job, and I'm sure that must be true for others who choose to remain behind. The dishwasher also said that renting a hotel room for a week in a different city was beyond his means.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:32 AM on September 1, 2008


So far, so good. The wind is starting to pick up and I've lost a few big limbs off of my trees. Not a good sign this early. The rain is constant, but comes in drizzle and monsoon form. When my four-year old heard that we were under a tornado warning, she went and put on her ruby slippers, "In case we go to Oz." I had to leave the room so that she wouldn't see my tears of joy and fear.
posted by ColdChef at 8:11 AM on September 1, 2008 [19 favorites]


I'm a steal djeo's thunder: DirectNIC blogging from downtown New Orleans.

Creepy Blackwater hummers are creepy. You know they're just itching to transfer their Ay-rab shooting skills to the Nigras.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:19 AM on September 1, 2008


The Times-Picayune is reporting a "small river of water is rushing down North Robertson Street" from water apparently overtopping a recently repaired section of the Industrial Canal floodwall.
posted by ewagoner at 8:22 AM on September 1, 2008


Water coming over Industrial Canal floodwall
posted by grouse at 8:28 AM on September 1, 2008


Stay strong, nueva orleannianos. You're in the world's thoughts and prayers. We're all hoping and praying for your safety and the wellbeing of your fair city.

And this thread? Best of the web indeed.
posted by papafrita at 8:39 AM on September 1, 2008


Photos above taken by TP photographer John McCusker. We've discussed him before. Glad to see he's back on the job.
posted by ColdChef at 8:56 AM on September 1, 2008


Hurricane Gustav on the Web: A Reference Guide for Our Readers
posted by sveskemus at 8:59 AM on September 1, 2008


MAC HELP?

A transformer down the street blew up and we lost power for about five seconds. And now when I boot my 24in iMac, it goes from the apple start screen to a light blue screen and never goes further than that. Any ideas? I'm typing this from my iBook that is slow slow slow. Thanks.
posted by ColdChef at 9:08 AM on September 1, 2008


Youtube video I took from a couple hours ago.
posted by djeo at 9:14 AM on September 1, 2008


ColdChef, try booting in Safe Mode.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:21 AM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Success! Thanks, Happy Dave.
posted by ColdChef at 9:26 AM on September 1, 2008


Nice one - stay safe.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:27 AM on September 1, 2008


So far, so good. The wind is starting to pick up and I've lost a few big limbs off of my trees. Not a good sign this early. The rain is constant, but comes in drizzle and monsoon form. When my four-year old heard that we were under a tornado warning, she went and put on her ruby slippers, "In case we go to Oz." I had to leave the room so that she wouldn't see my tears of joy and fear.

That made me cry. Good luck to everyone affected.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 9:40 AM on September 1, 2008


Bush was on TV, y'know, "taking charge of the situation" - is anyone fooled by this shit?
posted by Artw at 10:05 AM on September 1, 2008


Man killed by falling limb.
A Zachary man helping his friend cut down a tree Sunday to remove it before Hurricane Gustav’s arrival was killed when a falling tree limb struck him in the head.
posted by ColdChef at 10:12 AM on September 1, 2008


Three die during evacuation.
posted by ColdChef at 10:13 AM on September 1, 2008


ColdChef- I'm hearing reports the storm is dieing down (or slowing down) are you seeing that in your neck of the woods?
posted by mrzarquon at 10:41 AM on September 1, 2008


mrzarquon - We're definitely seeing a reduction in wind & rain over here.
posted by djeo at 10:46 AM on September 1, 2008


That is good to hear. I guess if it continues that way, it becomes a waiting game to see if the levees and pumps will be able to handle the water levels for the next day or two.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:56 AM on September 1, 2008


Sure. That's what happens when the storm gets over land. It's still pretty damn powerful. We've heard at least four neighborhood transformers explode. My brother's neighbor had a tree crush part of his home. Another friend had a limb go through her kitchen.

And I'm fighting the urge to go stand out in the storm like Lt. Dan in "Forrest Gump."
posted by ColdChef at 10:57 AM on September 1, 2008


Also, keep in mind that by this time during Katrina, we thought that New Orleans had dodged a bullet. The waters didn't come in until the middle of the night. I'll relax in a few days.
posted by ColdChef at 11:00 AM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


ColdChef- exactly. It will be sad if the pumps and levees fail *again* after they had 3 years to rebuild them and upgrade them to deal with this level of storm. Especially one that hit land not as strongly as Katrina.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:03 AM on September 1, 2008


Coldchef and all other LA mefites, you are in my thoughts. Stay high and dry, and stay safe.

As far as Gustav... lady luck was with the people of the gulf coast. Dry air embedded in Gustavs core... keeping him from bombing out. I've been watching him for five days... and I've been impressed with the GFDL... that model had a beam on his track.

As far as the rest of the Atlantic Basin... the waters are hot... it's becoming a shooting gallery out there... with us downrange.

Fay drenched us here in NORFLA... and Hanna may get far too close for comfort. I don't like the NGFDL plot at all.

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Hanna advisories link.

Tropical Depression Nine ( Soon to be Ike) advisories link.

I fear that this season is only getting ramped up. To all mefites along the SECONUS coasts... get prepared... make a plan... and stay frosty.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 11:58 AM on September 1, 2008


Ah fuck. CC apparently just lost power. I dunno for how long, but I hope he has a full phone battery charge so he can update on Twitter via text message.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:01 PM on September 1, 2008


Gustav downgraded to Cat 1. Hopefully that won't push enough water around to do more than overtop the levees, which will cause some flooding. But a breach in the levee would put three years worth of work back to zero.

It's still too early to tell how this will play out, of course, but I have my fingers crossed.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:21 PM on September 1, 2008


Well, I still have power and internets, as the eyewall (or what's left of it) passes over us.

One word: YAWN.

May seem strange to those of you who've never been through a hurricane but it's just waiting out a big storm. If it's not exciting, it's just being stuck in your residence with no stores open and (usually) no power.

Hope everyone to the south of me is ok, though. They took the brunt of it all.
posted by m0nm0n at 1:40 PM on September 1, 2008


I was evacuated from St. Bernard Parish (SE of New Orleans) to Bastrop in north LA on Saturday. St. Bernard was one of the first to order mandatory evacuation.

I called in and registered for evacuation on Friday. On Saturday morning I went to the evacuation center and they were very well equipped. They had EMT staff for evacuation triage. For registration the staff had networked laptops with barcode scanners and magnetic scanners. They asked my name and checked me off of the list. They gave me a tyvek wristband with a pre-printed barcode which they scanned then scanned my drivers license magnetic strip which filled in all the data in my form on the database.

I went out and sat on the bus for a long time while they waited for it to fill. They had 10 buses at the evacuation site of which 3 eventually were filled. They had water, sandwiches, cookies, raisins, crackers, and other snacks for everyone. After 2 and 1/2 hours we left. Traffic on I-10 East was a nightmare from City Park to the Causeway, it took 2 hours to go 10 miles but after a 9 hour trip we made it to the shelter in Bastrop.

When I arrived at the shelter there was a very heavy police and military presense. They gave everyone the opportunity to throw out any type of contraband, legal or illegal outside the shelter while they would look the other way (Goodbye Vodka). We were passed through metal detectors and had our luggage searched much the same as at an airport. I was also given a pat-down search because I checked a multi-tool. You were allowed to check weapons, including if you had brought a gun. They scanned my barcode and that brought up my data confirming who I was and where I had come from. Then we all took a look around.

The shelter at Bastrop is a vacated Wal-Mart, one giant room with 2,000 cots on the floor. The former bathroom area was converted to a medical center, a small portion of the back storage area had tables and chairs in it to serve as a feeding area. A portion of the floorspace had been allocated for a day-care area, with day care providers on staff.

The only bathroom facilities were 18 porta-potties, for 2,000 people, more than 100 people for each porta-potty. For breakfast they served us Raisin Bran, bananas, and granola bars. None of the porta-potties were handicapped accessable despite that handicapped people were being housed there. There were 4 handwash sinks with no soap and there were no showers. There were no rooms to change clothes. There was no segregation of floorspace for gender or for families. There were no televisions or radios. The food service area had seating for perhaps 150 with 3 servers.

On Sunday morning at 8 AM I decided it was time to GTFO and called my friend Pat Semansky and begged/demanded/cajoled him to drive 4 hours out of the way and rescue me from this impending disaster. It seemed as though they had moved the Convention Center from Katrina infamy north to Bastrop.

By the time I left at 3 PM on Sunday people were pouring in. There were 10 buses queued up with many more to come (I overheard the facility manager tell one of his staff members that FEMA was going to send more than they could handle). So many people were on their cell phones telling people they had arrived that the local towers were overwhelmed. They had added 10 porta-potties. Not nearly enough, but a start. They had purchased 2 large tv's and bucket trucks outside were in the process of getting the cable hooked up.

The emergency management here has made a quantum improvement here in some areas, most notably tracking (when I left I checked out and they asked where I was bound so they could enter it in the database in case anyone called). Where they are still terribly lacking is in base level, dignity-maintaining level, of comfort.

They are better at keeping you alive, but you willsuffer, unnecessarily I think, in the process.

p.s.
Safe having pizza and beer in a motel in Memphis :)
posted by vapidave at 1:54 PM on September 1, 2008 [22 favorites]


Wow, what a story vapidave.

Here I was concerned about possible flooding come thursday or friday as the remnants move this way. (the hills don't take too well to 12 inches of rain). I'm not going to find myself in that predicament...
posted by wierdo at 3:06 PM on September 1, 2008


I really hope that this close call is going to spotlight just how shit the repairs since Katrina have been, and that somebody is going to be demanding answers over why the levees weren't better. It's campaign time, too, so something might get done...
posted by bonaldi at 3:07 PM on September 1, 2008


> The emergency management here has made a quantum improvement here in some areas, most notably tracking (when I left I checked out and they asked where I was bound so they could enter it in the database in case anyone called). Where they are still terribly lacking is in base level, dignity-maintaining level, of comfort.

The logistics of implementing a tracking system (which is really some software, and laptops and barcode scanners) is a lot easier than putting together a setup to calculate how many toilets they need. Granted, now that they have a tracking system so they know how many people are en route to each evac shelter, they should be able to anticipate stress and loads in the system and adjust accordingly.

Ideally, they would be talking to red cross folks, us army and other agencies who do this a lot, and figure out the best way to setup temporary camps for a few thousand people for a week or two. Hey, maybe they can talk to the Burning Man folks.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:03 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bonaldi: I don't know if it has been linked upthread, but The Katrina Pain Index is doing its part.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:54 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Five days away from the ones you love is far too long. Hello, everyone from the wasteland that was, until recently, my beautiful home. Despite what you’re NOT reading in the news, Louisiana is far from “okay.” Yes, New Orleans dodged another cannonball, but tonight, over one million Louisiana residents are sleeping for a fifth night with no electricity.

Today, the smart ones cleaned out their fridge and threw away hundreds of dollars of unfrozen and room temperature foods. Help from around the country is starting to arrive, but lines are long, infrequent, and not many have the gas to get around. It’s ridonkulous.
Right now, I am typing this at my sister’s house. She got her power back this morning. Tonight, I took my first hot shower in five days. It was lovely.

A brief timeline since I last checked in:

Monday: the storm. Despite what you might hear in the media about a “light” storm, this was the worst Baton Rouge has been hit ever. Exxon is down. State government is hobbling. All schools and universities are closed until (at least) next week. The storm was terrifying. I had a neighbor’s tree come down in my yard and miss my house and children by a few feet (I caught it on video--youtube link once my home electricity is restored). My shed, my lawnmower, my tools, my hedgeclippers, my weedwacker...all crushed. Two tornadoes touched down within three blocks of my house. Lights went out a little after noon and it was brutal heat by that night. I’ll spare you the details of how we slept that night.

Tuesday: the storm is stubbornly still with us. Within 12 hours, we get 16 inches of rain. My yard floods. My girls are angry, hot, and stubbornly trying to turn on the television every five minutes. Phone service is erratic and unreliable. I talked to a few MetaFilter folks, and that boosted my mood, but I was getting really annoyed with no information about what was going on.

Wednesday: still raining. During the storm, I lost three pieces of tin off of my roof. Rain leaking down has caved in my ceiling. It’s too hot and dark for the girls to play in my house, so they strip down and play in the water of my front yard. Not the best idea, I admit, but I’m too tired to stop them. By mid-afternoon, the decision has been made for my wife to leave town and head to Mississippi to be with her family. Ironically, they stayed with me when their homes were destroyed in Katrina. We had an emotional goodbye and then I got to work putting our lives back together. I went to the grocery store and stocked up on canned goods. Officials are telling us that power is weeks, if not a month away. No one knows if this is true or whether they are trying to make us happy when it comes back in six days. I bought a generator that day so that the funeral home could get up and running. We currently have 13 funerals pending, but we can’t move forward until electricity is restored. At least with the generator, bodies can be embalmed so that they’ll keep for a while. Wednesday night, I slept at my mom’s house. She has a generator, so I watched a little TV (Palin at the RNC...I’d rather watch another hurricane report) and sweated myself to sleep again.

Thursday: getting more proactive. I take a body to Jackson, Mississippi to fly to Ohio. Jackson missed the storm, so after we dropped off the body at the airport, I sent a text message to friends asking what they needed. I hit a few BigBoxStores and came home with a suburban full of candles, water, fresh fruit, bread, ice, candy and toys for the kids, and “in the dark” activities. Everyone was happy for fresh supplies, and it lifted spirits...at least for a while. On the news, they promised that our entire town would be getting power back today. Didn’t happen. Maybe tomorrow. We’ll see.

I finally broke down for the first time tonight as I was cleaning out my fridge and freezer, throwing away all the foods that had thawed and spoiled. I sat down on my wet floor, with melted ice cream dripping on my feet and just wept, with sweat pouring down my brow.
Through all of this, I’ve been lucky to remain in contact with friends, mostly through text messages and Twitters. Ah, Twitter. I’d have never made it through so far without Twitter. Twitter has been my only contact with the outside world this week. Throughout the day, a few messages would make it through. At night, before I fell asleep, I’d read through the tweets of the day and try to piece together (in reverse chronological order) the events of the day. It really helped to keep me sane. Also, every single day, a few MetaFilter friends called me and encouraged me. Thank you all for that. It’s nice to know that folks are thinking about you, especially in your worst times.

So what now? It’ll be weeks and months before we can get things back together. I’m trying to remain upbeat through this. It’s hard, especially since the media and the rest of the country has moved on from HURRICANE to HER & McCAIN. It’s hard not to be a little bitter. Since New Orleans wasn’t destroyed, they saw no story and they left. But the story continues for the rest of us.

Despite the Republican aversion to “community service”, that’s exactly what we need right now in Louisiana. And that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to keep people positive and relieve those who need help the most. The plus side of all of this, is that I now know all of my neighbors. We bring extra food to each other and text each other as stores and services reopen.

Everyone waves and people hug each other and cry with each other in public. Today, my friend Dave broke down in tears as he thanked the garbagemen for going back to work today. As I saw a convoy of fifty ambulances from Pennsylvania roll into town, I pulled over and stood at the side of the road, thanking each of them for coming to Louisiana to help.

I feel that I’m starting to ramble, and I'm really, really tired, so let me just say again, thank you all for your calls, your prayers, your good thoughts, and your continued friendship. Knowing you are all out there means the world to me and I love you all.
posted by ColdChef at 8:30 PM on September 4, 2008 [124 favorites]


*hug hug hug*

I don't know what to say other than I know I'm far from alone in having been thinking of you (and our fellow gulf coast mefites) all week, hoping for the best, and trying to send thoughts of love and strength and peace.

Be well, my friend.
posted by scody at 8:42 PM on September 4, 2008


ColdChef, that's heart wrenching reading, I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

What can we out-of-towners do to help? Would donating to a national charity like the Red Cross be ideal, or are there any charities in your local area that could use the help? Or, can we send you some cash directly to help out your neighbors and your family? Just let us know.
posted by gemmy at 8:44 PM on September 4, 2008


Welcome back to semi-normality. And get a bigger freezer: when you're settled back in, you're gonna get about 73,000 quarts of ice cream from the assembled Metatude. Or 73,000 new sheds (we're all moving in with you). I love you too, dood.
posted by wendell at 8:46 PM on September 4, 2008


Glad to hear you're more or less OK, CC.

And when you have a chance, Chef, Gemmy's question is actually one that we'd love to have an answer for, if you have on, because our wee gaming Mefight Club has some donations we'd like to pass on, to you or via you or something.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:06 PM on September 4, 2008


This was my shed.

What can we out-of-towners do to help? Would donating to a national charity like the Red Cross be ideal, or are there any charities in your local area that could use the help? Or, can we send you some cash directly to help out your neighbors and your family?

Wow. I thought I was all cried out for the night. Apparently not.

It's never been easy for me to ask for help. I feel like I've been far luckier than most people. I know it's not the answer you'd wish for, but just knowing you're all out there is what I really need the most. Insurance will pay for the losses I've had, and since my family is spearheading the local recovery effort, resources are readily available. Federal resources are on the way, so I don't know that Red Cross or local donations may be necessary right now. It's so kind for you to ask, though. I really am touched. Thank you all, and I'm truly humbled by your generosity and your friendship.
posted by ColdChef at 9:20 PM on September 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Chef reading your story and knowing there are thousands of good people like you and your family going through this breaks my heart. I really can't offer anything other than these few words on a screen, for that I'm sorry, I really don't have anything useful to offer. But for what ever it is worth I am truely sorry for your troubles and hope things start getting easier for you and everyone down there real soon. Best wishes.
posted by nola at 9:46 PM on September 4, 2008


Understatements: Very glad to see you around here, Chef. Glad that you and family got through the first phase okay. Those pics of your kids are adorable.

Thinking cold-air thoughts your way.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:19 PM on September 4, 2008


So glad to hear you're as okay as you can be. You've been in my thoughts through all of this.

I'm sending metaphorical (maybe metaphysical?) ice cream your way. And lots of ice for g&ts or beer or whatever sounds good to you.

(I still think we should have the giant mefi anniversary meetup in New Orleans. Or we can start it in Baton Rouge, and party down to N.O., all 73K of us.)
posted by rtha at 11:03 PM on September 4, 2008


Sending all of you who were in the storm's path lots of good thoughts. I am really shocked about how little the media has reported on this, even given how cynical I've become about the news.

I am glad to hear you are getting through it safely, ColdChef, and that your family is safe and sound.
posted by ugf at 11:41 PM on September 4, 2008


We've all been thinking about you. Glad you're ok, even if everything else isn't. I, too, am a shocked and disappointed at how fast this is off the media radar.
posted by absalom at 5:14 AM on September 5, 2008


Good to hear from you, ColdChef. I hope you get your power (and old life) back soon.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:42 AM on September 5, 2008


Good to hear from you indeed. I guess it's up to us to round up the donation linkys, innit?
posted by mwhybark at 8:32 AM on September 5, 2008


Glad to hear from you-glad your family is okay!

*hugs and whuffles to the lot of you*
posted by konolia at 10:24 AM on September 5, 2008


Since there's a question as to where money's needed, an article in today's Washington Post indicates a lot of charities went into debt in order to fund their relief efforts for Gustav.

American Red Cross: spent $70 million, raised $5 million
The Salvation Army: spent $1 million, raised $30,000
Save the Children: spent $100,000, raised $35,000
Catholic Charities: spent $200,000, raised $10,000
posted by WCityMike at 10:28 AM on September 5, 2008


(Each of the above should be donation links.)
posted by WCityMike at 10:28 AM on September 5, 2008


For the record, I did indeed get my pogo on for New Oreans and ColdChef and all New Orleans mefites. And I mean it! My neck and shoulders have been crazy sore from, bouncing up and down ALL WEEK! (By the way, the event raised $1500 for the Key West library. Not a bad haul for one night of dancing.) In fact, I was so sore from putting my heart into for you all, I'm headed to bikram yoga right now! But as sucky as it was, overall it looks like it worked.

But remember that last bit at the end, CC, about you returning the favor for us here in Key West, fellow mefite comrade friend and associate?

Well, I may have to call in that favor sooner than later.

So get ready to get your boogie on, will ya', CC?
posted by humannaire at 1:12 PM on September 5, 2008


We are indeed here for you, ColdChef. We're glad you and yours are okay.

My folks did okay in that they were on the east side of the storm this time. But as I watched the maps I thought of you and Baton Rouge. And I worried. Ouch.

Tears are funny in there's always more where that came from. Generosity is the same. I know you don't need our tears but anything you might need, please let us know.

I'll never forget the folks who helped my family after Katrina. If I can do something to help your folks, I ought to. Just let us know.
posted by Toekneesan at 4:07 PM on September 5, 2008


ColdChef, seriously, if you need anything, drop me something, email memail, etc. Same goes for anyone else in the area.

I'm in Baton Rouge and just got my power restored last night. My dog became temporarily confused when the fan started to spin that he started to bark at it -- he hasn't seen it move since Monday afternoon. And I'm quite frankly shocked that there is nothing in the national news media about this entire area. We got hit hard. There are still sections of just Baton Rouge that are not expected to have power 7-10 days from now. All public schools are closed through next week, with many of the schools damaged, and of course, without power. And Baton Rouge was lucky. Move north of the city, and it's even worse. Estimates to when power will be restored goes up to 20 days in some areas.

My wife and I were damn lucky. Our house received very minor damage, but many of the other houses in the neighborhood have begun sporting the blue tarps on the roofs. Many of the roads through the city were impassable due to downed trees tangled up with power lines. Most of the traffic lights are not working. We are still under a mandatory curfew, from 10 pm to 6 am (revised just today from 8 pm to 6 am).

I spent yesterday helping friends clear trees from their property. By the end of the day, we had a fortress of tree limbs stacked up around the driveway and there was still another full day of work left.

We went shopping for the first time this morning, just to replenish our supply of non-perishable items, as we're not sure how long our power will be on. The Wal-Mart we went to is what I expect the end of the world to look like: barren and empty shelves. Thankfully, they were keeping the non-perishable isles stocked, but all the refrigerated and frozen items were a total loss -- completely empty.

Federal response has been...very Katrina-like. There are areas that people seem to have forgotten about or misjudged the need. The smaller towns are not getting the resources they need in a timely manner. It took until today for some agencies to finally realize this and begin redistributing their aid, but it's almost been absurd. And there is almost no news, even here, of the coastal regions, especially Homa, which I know was hit hard.

And now I'm sitting here, looking at Ike, and some of the forecasts calling for it to meander into the Gulf...
posted by rand at 5:19 PM on September 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


Following up other Louisiana MeFites here... my wife and infant son and I weathered the storm like everybody else in the capital area, assuming that we'd have juice back by Tuesday at noon (because, heck, we did after Katrina and Rita).

Tuesday, we tried to get out of our neighborhood and every major thoroughfare had so many downed trees that we were effectively prisoners in an 8 block radius.

Wednesday, after quite a bit more waiting, and stir-craziness, we navigated a path out of Baton Rouge around 5:30 AM, and were amazed that basically, of the thousand or so people we know in the capital region, only 2 households (four total people) actually had power.

Around 9:30 AM, on Wednesday, a radio station finally fired up and let us know that Entergy (our de facto power monopoly) had 800k households yet to bring power to, and they were only committing to 60k a day. Worst case scenario, two weeks with no power.

By noon, enough major roads had been cleared (mind you, nobody except for half of downtown, had power), and we worked our way up and out of the city. It took us two hours to leave town... and we drove north east to stay with family in Murfreesboro, TN.

We've been calling friends back home every 4 hours, trying to determine their status, and, at noon today, we found out that our home was powered (it helps to be in between two major state roads). We'll be sneaking back tomorrow, I suppose...

Honestly, we were taken by surprise by the storm, and are frankly amazed that 2 million citizens without power (Entergy is saying that my city will only FULLy regain power on September 24th) barely merit a mention anywhere....
posted by The Giant Squid at 7:07 PM on September 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


Glad to hear y'all are ok; keep posting, because we are all reading.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:57 PM on September 5, 2008


Very glad to hear from you all and that you're okay!
posted by goo at 4:33 AM on September 6, 2008


The only reason Im here is that coldchef had his comment sidebarred. I'm gobsmacked. I can't relate. OK I'm in Europe and its all thousands of miles away and 800 people have died in Haiti but WTF America. How many billions wasted in Iraq? How many lessons learnt / not learnt from Katrina? and you can't even turn the light on for your own people in a predicted rerun of last time. Baton Rouge is your state capital and the emergency services can't cope. WTF. I spit on your politicians and I hope you do too. Un abrazo coldchef and you others out there. I think it would be very cool if someone over there (USA) could just check out if all Mefites in the area (I think someone made a list) were OK and if not bring it to our attention as an awful lot of folks here are prepared to help in their own little ways.
posted by adamvasco at 5:15 AM on September 6, 2008


Hurricane Gustav takes my shed.
posted by ColdChef at 10:45 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for your story, Coldchef!
posted by elpapacito at 3:34 PM on September 7, 2008


Yikes, ColdChef - "Alright girls, let's go back inside!" You are a calm, calm person.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:45 PM on September 7, 2008


You mistake my stupidity for my calmness. But thanks.

Gustav Leaves a Mess in Baton Rouge, Media Move On
posted by ColdChef at 4:35 PM on September 7, 2008


Years ago, I lived on Ivanhoe Street, a grad-student-cum-hippie area at the north gates of Louisiana State University. I fell in love with the neighborhood, and eventually bought the house I lived in. Family pressures pushed me to BR's Garden District, but I digress.

Downtown Baton Rouge is powered, LSU is powered, but the 1.5 mile long x 3 mile wide neighborhood between the two is still conspicuously without. I talked to my renters and just about nobody has any idea when power will return.

Ivanhoe's always been a pretty dense street (by suburban American standards, at least), but what's got me is how claustrophobic the walls of debris on either side of the street make things feel.

Right in front of my place, looking down the street (yes, there are about a half dozen electrical, phone, and cable lines strewn across the street), via my phone:
http://picasaweb.google.com/mattdiez/Gustav#5243614352276101906

Another view:
http://picasaweb.google.com/mattdiez/Gustav#5243617872206120402

And, closer to my home, the venerable neighborhood, Hundred Oaks, has been renamed:
http://picasaweb.google.com/mattdiez/Gustav#5243614773350398674

And, there's still a 10 PM to 6 AM curfew in effect.

I'll try to take some better shots when the drugstore in my neighborhood opens and I can buy batteries. I am not going to go stand in line for an hour at a hardware store for that.
posted by The Giant Squid at 4:56 AM on September 8, 2008


Hoo-ah! Ike bypasses Key West. That was a whole bunch of work for naught, and it's like an enforced vacation with the visitors gone and everything shut-down.

But, gosh, am I happy!
posted by humannaire at 2:43 PM on September 9, 2008


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