Will Tropical Storm Isaac Hit New Orleans on Katrina's Anniversary?
As I awoke this morning to the sun shining in Central Louisiana, it was difficult to believe that a hurricane was slowly making its way toward our Gulf Coast...toward New Orleans, where two of my children now live.
We, here in Louisiana, are not unaccustomed to the threat of hurricanes. During this time of year, our eye turns more frequently to the Weather Channel, checking for those threats. With all of my traveling lately, I haven't kept up much with the tracking of these tropical storms -- and now it appears that Isaac has sneaked upon us eerily, reminiscent of Katrina -- and this Wednesday is the seven-year anniversary of Katrina's devastation.
I realize that Isaac does not appear to be capable of packing the punch that Katrina did, however, that will be where our minds always wander when a hurricane threatens our coast or state. What I recall about Katrina was how we were just going about our business, and then suddenly it was upon us. It was a serious threat that had us scrambling. My own sister was out on a cruise ship that had left the Port of New Orleans and had to be rerouted to Galveston. Her son, working Search and Rescue, was able to retrieve it before it was destroyed. I remember the lines of traffic rolling into our city and at the gas pumps. I remember the setting up of shelters in our area and driving past each day to see the uprooted individuals standing around outside...waiting to see what would remain of their homes.
And so Katina will always be in our minds in Louisiana. Rita hit within a few weeks of Katrina, and actually affected us here in Central Louisiana, causing flooding and power outages, along with all of the hundreds of ousted New Orleans residents living in shelters. It was a bad hurricane season that year for us. Gustav was the last big hurricane disaster we had here. The road I live on was without electricity for over a week.
I'm not sure if folks who do not live under the threat of hurricanes realize what happens before, during and after this threat. First, there is the preparation for the threat. Once we understand that there is the possibility of the high wind gusts, it is necessary to take precautions for all items that can move. In other words, all patio furniture, umbrellas, plant stands, lawn ornaments and the like must be moved to a safe place. Next, people who live in an outlying area (like I do...) begin examining all trees that look as though they could be brought down by the winds and damage buildings, and cut them down. We make a trip to the grocery store to purchase batteries and water and food that does not have to be cooked. Water is a big deal for my family, since the water supply is run on an electric pump and, although we have a generator that will run electricity, all water is immediately shut down. One does not realize how much thy depend on water until they have none. We also fuel up our vehicles and get extra gas to run generators. Those who do not have generators and lose electricity for a week risk losing food in their refrigerators and freezers. Once all of the preparations have been made we sit...and wait...and watch. When the storm passes, the clean up begins; trees, limbs and debris must be cleaned up...and it is usually very hot and humid. For those who lose electricity, the heat is quite unbearable.