Say hello to Stella (photo above). Like most everyone else, she I and kept a close eye on Katrina today while we were at work. That little inconvenience of a storm that passed through here a few days ago has now strengthened to a category 5 and is heading straight to my Dad in New Orleans.
I called my Dad this morning and got his answering machine, I let Stella listen in to his silly message that says "no one's home but Panda, she can't come to the phone because she's been drinking. Leave a message and I'll call you back, unless I've been drinking." Ummm ... It's not a new message.
My message to him was that I hoped that getting his machine was a sign that he had packed his bag and headed for the hills and to call me ASAP if he was still home. They tend to be pretty hard core about evacuating in New Orleans, they would prefer to gather together for a hurricane party instead. But not this time!
You've gotta respect a category 5 storm that's headed straight for you when you live in a town so far below sea level that you've gotta look up at the Mississippi River. If you've ever been there you know what I mean. New Orleans is a giant bowl just waiting for the levy of the river to give way so it can fill to the top with water, predictions are a possible 18 feet of water, for some the only way out will be up.
I did get a call back saying that his bags were packed and he and Panda were hitting the road ... umm, I mean parking lot. Yep ... as you can well imagine, all of those people trying to leave at the same time could present a nightmare of a traffic jam. Eeek!
I heard today that there were some hotels that were exempt from the mandatory evacuation so they could offer lateral evacuation for tourist and others that had no where else to go. (how scary is that)?
The Superdome was built just for this storm. Yep ... they have done their best to provide all of the proper precautions to protect thousands from this storm. They were to let the ill and the elderly in first (it's the right thing to do). This may very well be the "Big One" that they've been waiting for all of these years.
New Orleans has plenty of low income neighborhoods, people without transportation, people with no way out. Many of them will stay, some of them will not make it. Like everyone else, I am so dreading the headlines about tomorrow's storm. Unless some kind of miracle happens, this is going to be a catastrophic mess to say the least.
Two of my kids are in North Louisiana, (Love you Angie and Joey) there should not be as much danger there but still like much of the South, they will be bracing themselves to see what exactly Katrina has in mind. (awww ... how I wish they were home right now).
That silly look on Stella's face in the photo was taken as we kept saying to each other " Oh no ... where's Panda? ... where's George? ... Oh no, Panda can't swim!!! All joking aside, Dad where ever you and Panda are tonight, you are in my thoughts and prayers along with thousands of your neighbors. I love you Daddy!
My pick for J-link du jour is a Katrina entry written by Connie of Thought Salad. Connie is in Alabama and will certainly be affected by Katrina to some degree. Thoughts are with you Connie, be safe.
Oh, heres the link to the American Red Cross ... obviously there will be a great need for relief by the time this things over.