Watching the Gulf

It's already starting to feel like Gustav is an imminent threat. We had a mild, unrelated storm yesterday evening, but it had lots of wind and distant thunder and certainly felt like a sign of things to come. Here's hoping this guy dissipates or at least weakens before it makes landfall... though that hardly ever happens. I had a strong urge to listen to Aaron Neville's cover of Randy Newman's song "Louisiana, 1927" yesterday afternoon while I was walking around campus. It's about a huge flood that happened in 1927, though I heard it after Katrina when NPR did an interview with Randy Newman about writing the song. I listened to it so many times in the year after Katrina that hearing it now still brings back the memories and emotions I don't often recall on purpose. The chorus is this soulful, soaring melody with the simple lyrics, "Louisiana, Louisiana / They're trying to wash us away / They're trying to wash us away."

So as you can guess, hurricane preparations are underway here in Baton Rouge. We went to the grocery store last night to bulk up our hurricane box (that we made two summers ago and have been replenishing periodically), and they were already out of gallon and larger-than-a-gallon jugs of water. They were also out of a lot of kinds of bread, but since we like the whole-grain stuff, we had our pick of that. If we had wanted pasty, tasteless white bread (as my mom calls it), we would have been out of luck, though, and we saw several dismayed people enter the bread aisle and curse under their breath. We got several little propane tanks for our gas grill, which we didn't yet own during Katrina and which should make food options a lot better if we lose power. I think we'll be okay as far as stuff that goes in the hurricane box, though the worst part of losing power here in the summer/fall is always the lack of air conditioning, and unfortunately, extra A/C doesn't fit in a hurricane box. We'll navigate that one if it arises, I guess. We're going to wait until Sunday to make a decision about whether to hit the road toward Atlanta, depending on how things are looking as the storm approaches.

It's pretty ominous, though I do take comfort in the fact that our state seems to have learned a great deal from Katrina and Rita and the authorities are already mobilized, with water/food/law enforcement resources on hand to get to whatever part of the state might need them. As much as former Governor Blanco was criticized for her handling of the storm's aftermath, her administration made great strides in getting state agencies ready for another catastrophic event, but since she wasn't reelected last year (she didn't even try, largely because of her abysmal approval rating), Governor Jindal is getting most of the credit, I think. Ah, politics. Anyway, I just feel glad that we've collectively learned so much about how to handle disasters. So many things are already happening proactively, days before the hurricane hits, rather than days after, as the case was three years ago. Our church sprung into action immediately after Katrina as New Orleans evacuees were pouring into Baton Rouge, and we had an impromptu shelter set up for several months afterward. It all just kind of happened as the need arose, in a very inspirational way, actually. This year, there are already lists of volunteers for different jobs and plans in place for any kind of support we might need to lend our community. Also, Jack's office (the state Department of Insurance) even has employees driving pamphlets to evacuation shelters around the state, letting people know about how to contact their insurance companies in the event of property damage. Who in the world ever would have thought to do that before Katrina? Now, it's just one more check mark on that very long and very practical list of preparations. It's impressive to watch the state come together like this to mitigate whatever might befall us.

Keep your thoughts with the Haitians who've already been affected, and whomever else does get hit by Gustav. I'm trying not to be pessimistic, just realistic, as we've seen up-close exactly what a Gulf hurricane is capable of.

Labels: ,



We're thinking of you! I think if I were in a hurricane situation, I wouldn't really care what type of bread I came home with and just be happy that there was bread to begin with. Like you though, we are whole grain eaters over here!
Post a Comment

<< Home



what I read

where I go