Saturday, September 6, 2008

gustav est mort

Okay, time for the post-Gustav wrap-up!
(just in time for Ike! >)

Darren and I spent Tuesday in Alexandria, in our meandering effort to get back as close to home as we could as soon as we could. Driving south through the state, from Alexandria to Baton Rouge and beyond, we encountered a lot of heavy weather, flooding, wind damage, power outages and traffic. We drove through Evangeline Parish just a few hours after a couple of unlucky folks were killed by a tornado, and the scene was pretty dismal all the way along. As we were coming into the city on 61 East on Wednesday, most of the traffic lights were out, but traffic was light by the time we got that far, despite the fact that Jefferson Parish had already given the “come home” order, and Orleans Parish was still under evacuation until midnight that night.

But, despite that, we managed to weave our way back into the city and made it to the Lower Nine around 2 p.m. that afternoon. After taking a quick look around our property and assessing the damage (a couple of roof shingles missing, lots of leaves and small branches in the yard, no power) then unloading the supplies from the cars, we went on a driving tour of the neighborhood to check on damage to any of our residents’ houses. I’m happy to say that, with one major exception, our houses stood up to the storm just fine. A few missing roof shingles (none on any of the roofs we’ve done), trees and branches down near, but not on, the houses. So, we’re pretty happy, ‘cause things could have sure been worse.

The one exception I mentioned was, I’m sad to say, the carport we helped Darren build for Howard (Junior) Foster. The wind got under it and lifted the roof up, or so it looks, and set it back down with enough force to buckle the walls. I was personally sorry to see that, as we’ve had some pretty good crawfish boils, domino games and lazy afternoons sitting talking to Junior since we built it, and now Junior’s got no place out of the sun to sit when he’s outside.

We spent the day Thursday picking up around the place and getting some of the mess in the house left from the hasty retreat shoveled out. Without power, and hence, air conditioning, we were pretty miserable, but we managed to find ice to keep water cold and, thanks to Laura Paul and the fact that her house still had power, we were able to duck into the air conditioning from time to time, so let’s have a big round of applause for Laura (who evacuated to Florida and may now be stuck waiting out the next two Hurricanes before she can get back)!

As a sign that things were, indeed, getting back to normal, we had two volunteers arrive Thursday evening, eager to help us clean up and get back to work. The rest of our crew made it back from Shreveport late Thursday, as well, so by the first of the week we should be back in business.

Now, of course, we just need to hope that Ike misses us and we make it through the rest of hurricane season unscathed…

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