Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Guy Named Gustav

Here we go again!

It's a familiar refrain among the people in my family, in my town, in the bottom of my state.

With Hurricane Gustav bearing down on us, we're all saying, "Here we go again." Literally.

After much debate, much angst, much thought and many changes of plan, Marty, Lora Leigh and I, plus the two super poodles, are in Natchitoches, hunkering down with Courtney in her college town apartment.  It's the same thing we did three years ago when a bitch named Katrina headed our way -- only, that apartment was a lot more crowded and on the third floor.  Courtney only has one roomie now, and she has politely gotten herself out of our way.  I'm not sure if that's for our benefit or for hers.

This was our first plan all along, to come here. But then a lot of people started to plan to come here -- Courtney's mom and stepdad and stepbrother and sister-in-law and nephew and brother and his girlfriend, not to mention Marty's parents.  So, we started to rethink.

Then MY sister offered us the use of a big old vacant house in Baton Rouge. We jumped on that. We could just camp out for a couple of days on the floor.

Then Gustav headed right for Baton Rouge. And he started to weaken. So, for a fleeting moment, we decided to hunker down in Norco. I went to the grocery store and carbed up. Then Gustav got bigger and redder out in the Gulf of Mexico.

So, we thought we'd go to Lee and Regina's in Slidell.

But Gustav got bigger and redder.

So, here we are in Natchitoches.  We left Norco at 9:41 a.m. Me, with every outfit I've worn in the past 10 days, Lora's baby books, scrapbooks, school memory books, four boxes of old pictures, my wedding album, all of my sentimental jewelry, the French family silver, all of the family videos and my hard drive. WE also took the Wii and the Playstation2 so Lora and Courtney can challenge each other for as long as we have power.

It was a surprisingly smooth ride. We took Hwy 61 (Airline) through Gonzales and Prairieville, where it gota little sticky because Ascension Parish refused to put deputies on the intersections, and Baton Rouge, which had slightly higher than normal traffic. Then we turned on 71 north through Bunkie, to Alexandria. After a little more traffic at the Interstate, it was smooth sailing. We got here after 2 p.m.

Of course, the intersection at Natchitoches and I-49 was jam-packed with refugees, looking to fill their tummies and their tanks.

My mother, my sister-in-law, two nieces, a nephew-in-law, a grand niece, an ex-brother-in-law and his wife and, I believe, her daughter, son-in-law and child, are hunkered down with a nephew, his wife and child in Baton Rouge. Oh, there's a poodle and a chiuaua there too.

Marty's mother and father, meanwhile, the ones who evacuated Waveland, Mississippi for Kiln, Mississippi for Katrina, and lost everything they owned, are staying put in Kenner.

Daniel and Rebecca went to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It's raining where they are now.

So, here we are. High and dry. The sun is shining here at 6:55 p.m. There's a gentle breeze. The WEather Channel is locked and loaded and they're talking about my home town. In fact, Jim Cantore is in Houma. And there is a tornado warning at home.

All we can do is pray that we have a home to go home to when this is all over.

Stay tuned,

Lolo