Thanks to everyone who has checked on my safety and sent both kind words and a factual correction.
So the weekend trip I had planned to New York is looking like it will be my Hurrication, and potentially indefinite. To say that things do not look good seems like too massive of an understatement. Since we’ve been living in disaster for the last three years, the idea of a storm worse than Katrina kind of boggles the mind.
But there it is, less than 24 hours away. The good news is that nearly everyone I have been able to contact has evacuated, and is relatively safe.
I’m not sure how to feel about the 311 system the city put in place to deal with evacuating folks who don’t have cars. It worked for a friend of mine who is now in Birmingham, but it took him six hours to get through. But for that it worked at all I have to give the city credit. Other friends were not able to get through and found another way. There is still the question of how many people, if any, have been left behind.
So far I have heard from two people who are planning on riding this storm out. I personally do not think this is a good idea (and have said so), but since I can’t stop them, I will be reposting their accounts of what goes on in New Orleans.
I am personally hoping and praying that the Corps of Engineers is downplaying the repairs that have been made to the levees in the East Bank of Orleans Parish, and that they will hold. However there is a new concern; that the West Bank levees may not.
This puts a large number of people on the West Bank of the Mississippi (Algiers, Gretna and other municipalities and areas in Jefferson Parish) at great risk.
Southern Louisiana, including Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, are also in deep shit. I don’t know about their levee systems, but there is serious danger simply from the winds if Gustav continues at its current magnitude. New Orleans was actually spared the worst of Katrina’s winds; closer to the eye of the storm and particularly on the eastern side the damage, both from winds and a tsunami, was more intense. These places often didn’t receive the magnitude of damage or the press that New Orleans did largely because they were less populous.
Southern Louisiana may take decades to recover from this, if ever. Many in these areas were already struggling economically from the collapsed price of shrimp. The last time I was in Buras, about ten months ago, it looked like Katrina had just hit, but larger towns like Houma were doing better.