Sunday, September 7, 2008

Here Comes the Story of Hurricane (Gustav)

September 7, 5:45 p.m.  We got our power back last night at about 2 a.m.  I spent about an hour out of bed turning out all the lights that were left on and adjusting the temperature controls.

Sadly for Kallie the power came back in time for her to watch her hero Rafael Nadal lose in the US Open tennis semifinal this afternoon in the completion of Saturday's Hanna-interrupted match.  We watched part of the first half of the match at Acme Oyster House in Metairie as part of our go out of town program to dealing with no power and air conditioning.  The food at Acme was outstanding, especially the chargrilled oysters.  We look forward to the opening of the Baton Rouge Acme Oyster House, previously scheduled for September 5.  I don't know the new date.

Times Grill in Baton Rouge disappointed us at dinner as their network failed just a few minutes into our dinner visit.  Food was creative - BLTs on hamburger buns.

September 5, 5:30 p.m. Found a great place for lunch today. The food's just so-so, but they have A/C and a great network. About 2 hours after lunch, my daughter and I went back for a root beer and some Internet surfing. Not much change in our status. Now over 100 hours without power. Our utility is moving slowly. Still fewer than half of their customers have been restored. We did see some of their trucks in our neighborhood today, but I'm afraid our problems are deeper--in transmission lines that we can't see. Our subdivision has underground distribution lines, so I know they're not the problem. The reopening of Kallie's school has been postponed until Wednesday. It looks like our church will have power in time for Sunday services--good news. The curfew has been delayed until 10 p.m. tonight. Last night our first choice for dinner wouldn't let us in at 6 p.m. because the East Baton Rouge police were harasssing them about getting everyone out and off the roads by curfew time of 8 p.m. We drove down the street to DeAngelo's Italian Restaurant, which kept serving customers until 7 p.m, bless their hearts. As we left at 6:45 p.m. an East Baton Rouge sheriff walked in accompanied by a Border Patrol officer. We didn't know if they were there to eat or to harass the management. My theory is that Border Patrol officers in Louisiana probably don't have much to do. Everyone is trying to leave the state. Things are getting so bad that illegal immigrants may be going back to Mexico.

September 4, 11:30 a.m. Still no power at home, but I'm posting and enjoying the A/C at the Oschner Clinic. I was delighted to learn that the clinic would be open for business today, when I was scheduled for my first chemotherapy treatment. We came home from Jackson last night in a 6-hour car trip that included a last hour in East Baton Rouge Parish in violation of the 8 p.m. curfew. My daughter was disappointed that we didn't get pulled over. I was relieved, especially since we had four bags of ice melting in the trunk.

Check out my storm pictures at

September 3, 3:00 p.m. Did you miss me? We lost power at 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning, before we saw much of Gustav's fury. It's now mid-afternoon on Wednesday. Only about 6% of our utility's customers have their power restored, this out of 99% who lost power in the greater Baton Rouge area. Another local utility is talking about restoring power to "50% of their customers in one to eight days". We got dry ice to salvage our food and have used our gas grill to cook everything from pork chops to pancakes.

We drove from Baton Rouge to Jackson, MS this afternoon to deliver my stepson and his family to the airport. Their flights back to NYC out of both New Orleans and Baton Rouge were cancelled several times. They found a flight out of Jackson, about 180 miles from Baton Rouge, that would get them back to NYC late Wednesday night to avoid missing another day of work and school. We enjoyed the trip up here as it got us out of an increasingly clammy house. Both the temperature and humidity in Baton Rouge will be above 80 today. We've been fortunate that the temperature hasn't gone any higher. Gustav hung around after its initial impact to provide cloud cover and dump more rain, though our neighborhood was spared much of the latter.

We were very fortunate as the storm only covered our yard in a blanket of branches, twigs and leaves rather than covering our roof with a felled tree. Our neighbor across the street had two trees fall on his house. The first put a substantial hole in the roof. He was on the roof covering the hole with a tarp while the storm still raged. Another neighbor who was my daughter's 8th grade history teacher had three trees crash through the back of her house, taking out three rooms. A few houses down the street another house had one tree hit the front door and another large oak uprooted to fall through the entire left side of the house. Lost power and felled trees seem to be the main damage. I've heard about three fatalities, all people who were killed inside their homes by falling trees.

September 1, 8:30 a.m. - The eye of Gustav is about to make landfall near Port Fourchon, LA. In Baton Rouge all we've seen is some rain and wind up to about 20 mph. We had a tornado watch overnight, but fortunately no tornadoes. Tornadoes have been spotted in Mississippi and Florida. Gustav will be a strong Category 2 storm when it reaches land.

10:00 p.m. - Here's the latest radar map. The forecast map didn't change much, other than the hurricane moving closer along the predicted track.

9:30 p.m. - Here's the latest NOAA forecast map for Hurricane Gustav. We have everything inside and are hunkering down for a windy and rainy day in Baton Rouge tomorrow, with wind speeds up to 70 mph. The first rain band from the storm has already reached us, but without much wind. Mandatory evacuations are nearly complete in Lousiana's coastal parishes, with compliance estimated at 90-95%. Traffic arrangements were the best yet. Most people were evacuated to the east and north. Some came through Baton Rouge late last night, but by this morning there was no evacuation traffic moving through town. Locals have been buying up ice, water, plywood and generators. School has been cancelled through Wednesday.

No comments: