Friday, August 26. We’ve been hearing all week about Katrina. The ZP was close enough to ready that, if Katrina had been smaller, I’d’ve been tempted to run. But watching the weather reports and radar, she was enormous, practically filling the Gulf. There was no direction or angle that would be safe to try to use to run. We began stripping the ZP of valuables and prepping her for a BFH – Big Fucking Hurricane.
Side note. Many people have many opinions about the politicians involved in the lead-up to Katrina. All I can say is that we heard Mayor Nagin on the radio as early as Monday telling people to leave if they possibly could. As we got closer to today (Friday), he demurred that he had no authority to demand an evacuation but he strongly recommended it. I have no comments about him other than that.
Anyway, it definitely looked like a big one was gonna hit New Orleans and probably head on. We spent the day prepping the boat and discussing what to do.
Saturday, the 27th, the news just sounded worse and worse. We decided to tie up the ZP as best we could and go to my sister Chrissy’s house. Chrissy lived (still does) in River Ridge, which is high ground near the river (all the high ground is near the river). I figured we’d hunker down at Chrissy’s and ride out the storm there. I’d been through Betsy in 65 and Camille in 69 and we never evacuated. Actually, my dad was an Electrical Engineer for the public utility (NOPSI) and, despite the fact that his job was designing substations, he got called up after Betsy to go out with repair crews. I drove him into a meeting place every morning for many days after Betsy, returning home for the day, then back to retrieve him at the end of the day. Late. Those guys worked their asses off in that heat and humidity.
I was not interested in evacuating. We’d be good at Chrissy’s, I thought, at least as good as we’d been for Betsy. Not wonderful, but safe and just biding our time until the power came back and we could have airconditioning again.
We have a fun dinner and evening, then I went to bed.
Sunday, the 28th, Ronnie woke me. She and Chrissy had been watching reports all night and they declared it time to evacuate. I didn’t argue. We loaded ourselves in our Odyssey and Chrissy got my dad in her car and we headed out the I-10. In bumper-to-bumper traffic. With no destination decided. As we rolled, somebody talked to brother Chuck, who lives in Spring, just outside Houston. He and his family were in Chicago but he said a neighbor had a key and we were welcome to crash there. So that became our plan. Stay on the I-10 to Houston and invade Chuck’s life.
Normally about a 6ish-hour drive, we were instead bumper-to-bumper all the way from N.O. to Houston. Like many others, we occasionally left the line of traffic to get in line for a gas station bathroom, then crept back in to continue our pilgrimage. In the mid-teens of hours, we finally arrived at Maier Manor – Spring, TX. Phew! What a welcome relief.
We made ourselves at home as best we could without a host and hostess to guide us. The four of us, plus Chrissy and my dad but we were expecting sister Judy and Gary at some later hour. A mini family reunion at my brother’s house, without my brother. Ironic.
We settled in, watching the weather channel into the wee hours before crashing from exhaustion. There was a storm coming.