I am well, settin' on my haunches in Cajun country, and fattenin' up for the winter.
The Bobble and I left the Quarter at seven Sunday morning, a couple of hours before the mayor declared a mandatory evacuation. Rather than tackle the contraflow on I-10, we took Highway 90 West. This is an older route that passes through numerous towns on it's way to Texas and points beyond.
It took seven-and-half hours to travel 180 miles or so, but there was never any frustration with the other thousand-or-so drivers travelling with us. Strict patience and courtesy all the way from everyone. Local residents avoided the main route so we evacuees could make our way out.
En route we heard the various announcements from the different Mayors, Parish Presidents, and law-enforcement officials ordering/encouraging everyone to leave.
Aaron Broussard, Jefferson Parish President, was succinct in his advice to residents who insisted on staying (the "diehards" he called them): "Get yourself an axe, a pick, or a hammer. Get the flares out of your car and keep them with you. When the water starts rising in your house and eventually drives you up to your attic, you'll be able to know a hole in your roof so you can climb out, light your flares, and signal for help."
Sheriff Harry Lee said simply - as is his Zen fashion: "It's time to haul ass, people." We did. So many of us who were able to go.
After Katrina had moved out yesterday, and helicopters flew in and were able to reconnoiter the area, we began to see the devastation.
We saw Hyatt Regency Hotel and its shattered windows alongside the roof-ripped Superdome. We saw flooding and fires.
We saw the city of Kenner under water. The mayor says the damage there is 100%.
Chalmette is under water.
Although the rest of New Orleans was not as forunate, the French Quarter seems to have withstood the major brunt of the force.
As bad as it was, it is worse in Gulfport, Biloxi, and Mobile - from what I can piece together from the news reports, so much property has been destroyed and so many lives lost.
We still cannot go home yet. But soon.
There's a lot of work to do.
Thanks to all you guys who caught my last post and expressed your hopes for my safety. Your concerns mean the world to me.
But, hell, no blowhard ever got the best of this ole bear yet. See y'all soon.
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