Truly, I meant to write this blog the last week in August--and then along came Hurricane Ida. At first, the storm appeared to be headed right for our small southwestern Louisiana town, the setting for most of my books. Gradually, it moved eastward and placed us on the western edge. For those of you who don't know much about hurricanes, that's the best side to be on. Even better for us, the storm continued to veer to the east targeting New Orleans and Baton Rouge and the smaller towns of Houma and LaPlace. By then, we'd carried in all the porch furniture and potted plants (many). checked the battery supply, went out to get milk and canned goods we could heat on the grill, and boarded up the windows. Usually we fill a bathtub for a water supply just in case and keep a pail nearby to recharge the toilet Not our first rodeo by far, the night of Andrew still vivid in our memories from many year ago.
My husband took the car out to top off the tank in case we had to evacuate and found all the stations closed. So many people in pickup trucks loaded up numerous gas cans, they drained the pumps dry. Late in the afternoon, he found a convenience store off the beaten track and managed to fill up. Our area is still low on gas due to people fleeing from New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The motels are full as well and will be for some time. We were prepared and now had to sit and wait watching the round the clock storm coverage on all channels, sometimes the worst part of the ordeal, that wait.
Even though we were out of the danger zone, we did expect some high wind gusts and lots of rain, probably a power outage, too. We placed flashlights in most of the rooms. I decided to work on the new Sinners title, Edie's Sinner, as long as I could since I'd missed hours of work to storm prep. Having a battery backup for the computer with sixty minutes of time on it, I figured I'd have plenty of time to save and close down when the lights went out. After two-thousand words, my most productive day in a long time, I quit with the lights still burning bright and went to bed hoping Ida hadn't changed her mind again and was coming to get us. In the end, all we got was some wind and a few sprinkles, never lost power.
Oh, but to see the devastation on the TV in the morning. Little frame houses blown over, large trees down everywhere in a tangle of wires. one man crushed in his home, another killed by an alligator as he waded in deep storm water (only in LA). They do tell us to stay inside and out of the flooded areas. Some folks with nowhere to go sat in half-destroyed homes waiting for help. The Cajun Navy, private citizens with small boats went to the worst areas and evacuated people, some from attics because their homes had filled with water. Thank heaven, in New Orleans the levees held this time in the below sea level city. But, they did lose the tower that generated electricity for the whole area when it fell into the river. Days and weeks ahead of steamy weather and no AC or lights. Baton Rouge, not as bad, but still hit hard.
We are prompted to charge cell phones in advance, but that doesn't do much good if the cell phone towers go down. I keep a land line as well just for these occasions even though the junk calls drive me nuts. I have many writer friends in both cities. I'm beginning to hear from some in Baton Rouge as the power there comes up, but only one message from New Orleans that all was well with that person. I lost a couple of days of writing and a little more time hauling stuff outside again. They, no doubt, will lose weeks while cleaning up from the storm. It takes several years for cities to get back to normal. Lake Charles is still recovering from Laura last year, another one that missed our area. Hurricanes, no fun at all. Just hoping we don't attract four like last year.