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Hurricane Gustav Blog, H (Hurricane) Day

September 6, 2008

Last night at about 6:30 a squall suddenly started up. High winds, horizontal rain, trees flailing. It was scary and I knew I wouldn’t be able to cope if I stayed awake while the storm hit. I went to be and slept till 7 in the morning, dreaming that the hurricane had skipped us completely. It hadn’t. In fact, it was just starting to make landfall. It looked like it was going to skirt our entire coast from one end to the other rather than come right on land. That would have destroyed the city of Fouchon, which houses the largest oil port in the country. If this happened, the country would have been cut of from its largest source of oil for days, if not weeks. It took an hour before the storm came onshore and the threat to Fouchon was over.

Lost electricity for good about 9:30 in the morning but the storm stayed at tropical storm strength for the area where I lived. Turned on the whole house generator which was a post Katrina purchase and immediately had a/c, refrigerators, satellite television, and household lighting. For the rest of the day, the entire household including people who had fled their homes for fear of trees falling in the watched the storms progress on our local news station.

It looked like the storm was going to hit New Orleans as a strong tropical storm or a very low Cat 1 Hurricane. If the levees would hold, we could be all right. The levees gave us several frights. The storm wall along the Industrial Canal was being overtopped. That means the water had gotten to the top of the wall and was being blown over by the easterly winds. The opposite side of the Industrial Canal had collapsed during Katrina flooding the Lower 9th Ward. If the wall didn’t hold this time, the Upper 9th was going to get it. But the wall did hold.

A commercial levee, one that is built and maintained by a company rather than the government started leaking at its base. That is worse than over topping. Within 30 minutes over 100 people with sand bags, equipment, and communications gear were then plugging the leak. During Katrina that leak would have turned into a failed levee and the 250 homes that it was protecting would have flooded. We learned our lesson after Katrina!!

By 4 or 5 in the afternoon, it looked like the worst had passed. I was even able to drive one of our friends who stayed with us to her house to see if trees had indeed fallen into it. They hadn’t and the only effect the storm had on her was to drop a lot of leaves and branches into her yard. So far so good.

Time to go home and cook something on the barbecue. The only thing left to do was worry about my store.

Yours in confused retailing, Bruce