Aug 30 Saturday
No sense denying it any
longer, it s not Déjà Vue; it's not
A major hurricane is nothing but death to a community, the wealth of our present generation will never allow a ravaged town to be cultivated, grown to maturation by normal human lives. The thing that replaces once vibrant neighborhoods and communities is heralded by its planners and social engineers, like mad scientist, they love their creation. However, no warmth or personality can exist in places where well meaning academics from out-of-town designed it for optimum efficiency.
Overall the madness has begun, the authorities are pushing
their flocks to leave, unlike the pied piper they do not lead the way. I
personally think it is the greatest of ivory tower errors to no longer have
local red cross shelters. This 15 year old, new concept of massive evacuations
cannot be maintained in light of increasing numbers of threatened populations.
Over the last two decades almost 90% of the
Everyplace has at least one strong safe building with a floor
above a major flood level, like in
This particular approaching storm offers me in two distinct frustrations; my friends know I have been working on bringing an "Amphibious Rescue vehicle" to the market. I have offered it to all the authorities now managing the on-coming Gustav disaster. All those plans relay on mobile logistics and a mobile law enforcement force, the amphibian can offer full mobility even if rapid flooding occurs. Not being ready to sell this to my closest and most at-risk parishes , that's my number one frustration.
The second frustration is the same as all of us living in the projected path; it is the uncertainty, of nature forcing us to decide with ever changing variables. We are forced into making demanding life and death decisions about those closest to us. It's a frustration rubbed raw and no one is confident in their own choices. It's like we are all balancing on a rickety narrow board placed over a deep pit of broken glass, concentrating hard on the news to keep us stabile, one wrong move and its curtains. One must keep busy securing, preparing or praying to pass the time, I write and may keep this updated just to release some tension.
I can almost write out the whole "Post Gustav"
story right now, one thing for certain, the authorities will correctly be
patting themselves on the backs for a well run disaster evacuation. However, If it floods, it will be similar to Katrina, the number of
people who stayed are more numerous in the suburban parishes of
The Amphibian Project will
move forward, full steam, with or without any funding assistance.
It's too important and it needs be shown finished, it works rolls and floats
mechanically so It should not take long. I will take it to all those community
leaders and first responders and ask the feds/FEMA to help them all purchase at
least one rescue vehicle and barge. If we can get all the coastal communities
to purchase at least one we can establish an association. It would be like
NATO, when one community is threatened by flood, everyone can send their
vehicle in support. Such an association would allow for a fleet of amphibious
vehicles for every policeman,
Aug 31 Sunday:
Preparation is an early dry run to Home Depot, opens for 7AM, its 7:15 and we arrive as the 60th person in a line forming outside the store waiting our turn. We had passed the haughty and pretentious DIY warehouse “Lowes” on the way to Home Depot and it was lineless. We decide at great risk to abandon or place in line to check out Lowes again and found it was being run like a Swiss clock. You simply pull up to the loading dock with your trailer, run in and pay for your plywood (required stuff at this stage of the event) they load your trailer and off you go. Home Depot ha …. suckers….
The Olympic exercise of covering your home windows with plywood never gets old; of course I have never done it the same way twice. Yes, there are about 387 ways to cover, cut, attach, screw and secure, not to mention the various ways to rope and rig some rope or cable arrangement lifting these panels to your high and precarious skylights. Someone will make a coffee table book of photographs of the imaginative ways and materials used in this esoteric gulf coast tradition one day. It seems such a senseless, death defying effort since my own “energy efficient” double pain! windows have long ago lost their clarity due to the entry of humid air into the once sterile gap now harboring the basic elements of new and multicolored life forms. I wish they would shatter to be replaced and here I am 40’ high on a rickety ladder protecting them. Allstate would be proud but I pulled something and cut myself twice, I really hate those windows.
Fight or Flight, is often a healthy and most basic of human instincts. However, Instead of self preservation it can create schizoids of all of us. A modern hurricane threat is like the slow, drowning terror reserved for 007 by his nemesis in almost every Bond movie, it is a drawn out drama. We now live the hurricane de jure’; we map, track and analyze it in exquisite, unrelenting detail for days prior to actually being in any actual danger from the many forms of death and destruction that come in this one size fits all doom slayer.
A personal “stay or run” analysis’ is simple, you take your previous life long experience with
hurricanes divide by the number of miles from the coast times the projected
path, sum that and add the net value of the lives and memories of good times in
the subject home. Multiply that by the potential to protect said property if a
window blows in by the distance of the nearest relatives’ home to stay at and
his disposition regarding the inside shelter of your dog. Square the root of
the indivisible factor of minimum distance your southern bred
and hours of pre-storm jitters is the norm, it makes the nervous banter usually
heard in the doctors waiting room seem tame by comparison. Countless arguments
and intense speculation, specific only during hurricane down time have been
caused by the most intimate of personality traits revealed by the local
politicos and weather-heads filling our TV screens. Little things are becoming
legend in front of your eyes. Things like General Honore’s
“Are you stuck on Stupid”, Brossard’s tear soaked drama about an imaginary
friends’ drowning mom and most recently the suspicious, mouth breathing panting
of a Parish leader “calling it in” to the grimacing TV reporter. That little audio display has made
me want to reconsider my 1-900 subscription. All of this exhausting dribble and
dread leading into post storm days of swelter while
The Home Team waits
Bullitt, at Threat Level,
The “Before” picture,
hopefully this will not be used for our adjusters files. I have tempted fate and
included a full frontal of our heavily wooded estate. The house is partially
hidden by a
Tonight the family beds down in the office the only slab based structure we have; generator is at the ready, Check! Drainage grates cleared, Check! Cell phones charged, Check! Journal updated, Check! Frozen daiquiri mix, Frozen!!
Sept 1 Monday:
Whew. All’s well, it should be evident that my mood has improved by the less edgy editing of my previous post. We settled in onto sleeping bags and pallets in the office early the previous evening. The electricity was still on but we knew it would not be for long and it seemed better to bed down there early instead of relocating in the dark and stormy night. The office has a generator which keeps us cool with AC, a fridge, TV and computer. My DSL line is out so no telling when I can get this uploaded. Gustav was felt here all day, the power went out around 8AM, lots of steady but light rain a few 40-50 mph gust it seemed but little else. Lots of naps and a little walk about was the sum total.
We took the plywood off the office windows and now wait for
power to come back on, it may take a few days.
The “After” image, we put the garage cover back up and a unexpected rain deluge took it down a few hours later, tooo soon to call it finished.
Little else to report, tired, board and looking forward to catching up with everyone soon, normal life is better appreciated when it’s interrupted occasionally.
Sept 2 Tuesday:
A rising tide continued
throughout yesterday evening, to this morning, the news revealed the flood
damage done to those along the lakefront and rivers. It may seem like a small
catastrophe in comparison to Katrina, unless it was your house that hosted a
few feet of flood water and debris. My heart goes out to my friends in
We are still on generator power, Donna is cooking some
steaks on the barbeque the kids are restless but we have picked-up all the tree
branches and debris. The local town of
We had a brief fright while under a tornado warning around noon; it hit about a mile away and took out two buildings. Still rainy, but we are happy to be home, many of those that evacuated are trying to return and being stopped, they are accumulating at the three major entries into new Orleans, Plaquemines and St Bernard, they may be stuck for a few days, I think it reveals another reason they should maintain local shelters. Those same shelters could offer a place for people to exist while they cleanout the refrigerators, fix roofs etc. while the power lines are being fixed.