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Isaac: the intemperate bastard

The latest messages from our columnist and friend in New Orleans

Jim Gabour
29 August 2012

Sunday: 

Hurricane comin' right at us, again for the first week of university classes.  The intemperate bastard’s name is Isaac, and he is also messing with the Republican convention in Tampa.

Needless to say, I am staying.  Just filled my generator with gas, and started it, ran it a while to make sure we are ready for electricity backup.  Then went to the store for batteries, bottled water and about a gallon of bourbon.  There may be a need for serious medicine, you know.  

Off to watch the weather channel. 

                                                    ****

Monday:

Ah, my friends,

So strange that this Isaac fellow is due here exactly on Katrina day, 29 AUG.  He sounds a great deal weaker than that nasty wench, but he is headed unswervingly at us.  And if he fades just a tad to the west, we will get his all, his ever-so-slow-moving all, for a long while. 

So I just cranked up my generator and bloodied my knuckles – it is an annual ritual in any case.  All is good.  The engine fired on my second pull.  And I have a full five-gallon can of gas at the ready.  So that means I can keep the refrigerator plus a TV, one fan and a couple of lights going when the electricity fails.  It will fail. 

Plus I’ve stored two tanks of propane gas which will fire my grill, four oil-fed hurricane lamps, a box or two of candles, and lots of other lights that run off batteries.  The batteries on this desktop computer will only last an hour at most, though, and my laptop battery is a thing of the past.  I figure to keep my cellphone charged off the generator. 

I think we will get fairly serious neighborhood flooding here in the Faubourg Marigny if the rain is anywhere near what they predict, which is a foot of rain at first with up to sixteen inches and more after that burst.  The city drainage pumps can only handle getting three inches out of the city the first hour and then one inch per hour after that.   

But my own yard is the highest on the block, and the house is up on three-foot piers, so I don’t anticipate rising water damage.  Unless my roof blows off, and the water comes straight down. 

One positive note is that I get to close my new storm shutters.  No more ladder-climbing with sheets of plywood and a screw gun in high winds.  My neighbor a block away made the 26 sets of fitted shutters for my house by hand, with his carpentry crew.  I love handmade toys.

And, of course, I do have my little cypress Cajun pirogue stored behind the cottage.  It is only right to have a boat at the ready, though I think that I am being a tad overdramatic in this case. 

After Katrina, it is hard not to be blasé about this storm.  I actually still have to go in for this morning’s advising of students on classes.  It is sunny and cloudless and warm at the moment, and there is no reason to act anything other than normal.  Today is the first day of school, after all, but the administration is going to make an announcement at 11:30 this morn, probably shutting the University down until Thursday. 

Everything else in the city is already closed.  Though the garbage men did come by this morning, as did my newspaper deliveryman.

The storm will be here exactly, to the hour, when Katrina hit, on 29 AUG.  I find this too weirdly coincidental. 

We expect first landfall and big winds at 01:00 tomorrow morning, and then 100 mph winds early Wednesday morning.  The sound of winds that strong is rather like the roar of a freight train, passing outside in the middle of the night.  A really long really large freight train.  And right  on the other side of your door. 

At the moment it is quite spooky with everything already so quiet, except for intermittent sirens.  People are battening down, already inside watching the storm tracks on TV, hoping for a break.  I don’t think we will get one - a break - this time, and the ‘cane will come a’knocking as predicted.  

This will be nowhere near a killer storm, though, and hopefully Isaac won’t eat all my avocadoes.

That lightheartedly said, now the wait begins. 

                                                  ****

Wednesday:

Lost power and now water. 80mph gusts and storm not moving. Just spent half hour cutting fig and yes avocado trees off house. Very very bad, so can't get generator out. Land line gone. Cell batts will go soon.

Thursday:

Mayor says the police are catching all looters, but he has caught only four. 

Five cats, all Katrina veterans,  are under the front room couch. 

Have to turn off generator now as I have to ration gas. Could be many more days before we get power, and I have only five gallons of fuel left.

It is getting dark now.

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