Thursday, August 30, 2012

The first time I missed a hurricane

Being that I was born and raised in New Orleans, LA, I'm well acquainted with the hurricane/evacuation/flooding/no electricity/pirogue-paddling-down-the-street process. I have experienced these storms since birth, as all New Orleanians have, which is probably why no one got too worried when news of Isaac came and decided not to evacuate. Instead, they boarded up the windows, filled up their cars with gas, bought water, and "hunkered down." It's the way we do things.

I asked my folks a couple of days before hurricane Isaac if they were planning on evacuating, and they answered very seriously, "If it turns into a Cat 3, then we'll leave."

Well it never did turn into a Cat 3, and they never left.

Hurricanes have a way of bringing the worst and the best out of people. Communities band together in the days after the storm--helping rebuild fences, sharing materials and food. Hundreds of locals have been working through the storm and around the clock to bring relief and to rescue those in danger.
But on the flip side theres looting and hunger and anger and violence. Its dangerous and peaceful all at the same time.

Last bad hurricane to hit LA came in 2008. We were living in Baton Rouge at the time Hurricane Gustav came through. We didn't evacuate until a week after the storm-- having had no electricity and running very low on food. It took 2-3 weeks for the power to come back after Gustav. But eventually life went back to normal, if not better.

Trust me NOLA was rebuilt better after Katrina and Baton Rouge after Gustav. Each time something like this happens, you are really left with no option but to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and start over. And that's what LA will do after Isaac.

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