Got back last night, around 7:00, to find my former hometown pulling up roots and heading for high ground. Freaky.
Eno asks if I would have tried to hang in there for "The Big One." It's a tough question. I have at least one friend who's there for it, keeping an eye on the company warehouse and planning to be miserable for the next few weeks. I'm pretty sure if I were still there I could have found a place to ride it out. Chance of survival very good, and lots of excitement for 36 hours or so. Pretty cool.
But the problem comes afterward. A category 3, which I partied through in 1998, leaves some power outages, a little flooding, and you're inconvenienced for a couple days. Certainly a lot of people lose property from flooding and lots of windows get broken, but if you make it through the storm, you'll be fine. This storm is going to make life miserable for anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months, with the first week being pretty much hell, literally. This is a city that buries its dead above ground, and this much water is going to open the tombs of many of them. I don't think I'd want to be in the city till the worst of that's cleaned up, assuming there's anything to come back to.
In all likelihood I would have headed to the Covington/Mandeville area, north of Lake Pontchartrain. Still close enough to action to be scared shitless, but with a place to stay for a few days out of the toxic cleanup site.
It looks right now like the storm has weakened, barely, and is making a slight turn to the east. That's good news for the Crescent City, though it will still be very bad, especially for the folks in Biloxi and the Gulf Coast. Here's wishing them safe passage through this storm, and as swift and thorough a recovery as possible. It will be very hard, but you will make it through.