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Hurricane Gustav Blog, H + 1

September 6, 2008

As soon as I got up, I called my store’s FAX number. Amazingly it answered. That meant we had electricity and phone service. What a delightful surprise. The 24-mile bridge I had to use to get to my store was blockaded. Only people with credentials could get it. I tried to apply for the credentials over the Internet using my iPhone. What a lifesaver that iPhone was turning out to be. I applied for the credential, which were supposed to be emailed to me. I never got them.

I called a contact I have who is on the board of the bridge. I had to leave voice mail. Hopefully he will call me back today. Until then, I had no choice but to go home and start cleaning up the debris left by the storm. Still no electricity but the whole house generator was working like a champ.

Finally got the call from my contact who not only authorized me to cross the bridge to inspect my building but also told me he had passed by and there was no apparent damage. Things certainly looked hopeful. Got my neighbor who owns a business not far from mine. He husband has gotten me in after Katrina with his credentials. He no longer worked for the same company; so, she was stuck. I was happy to be able to pay her back.

Since my store is about 70’ back off of the street we approached it on, all I could see as we neared it was my sign. Both sides had blown out, but I was expecting that. When we got to my parking lot, there was little or no debris in it. No broken glass, no pieces of façade, and no pieces of roof. In fact, because the electricity was on, it looked like we were open for business as usual. So different than Katrina. My neighbor’s business was unhurt, too.

As we got home, the local television station weather people were in a frenzy. The Doppler radar had tornado signatures on it on the west bank of the city. As they were describing the storm, they were interrupted and were told that a tornado had been sighted touching ground on the west bank. They warned that the storm was moving very fast, 60 miles per hours, and would be in a residential area of New Orleans proper within 2 minutes. After that it would travel into Metairie where my store is located, and then across the lake into the parish where I lived. Had we survived the storm with no damage only to be destroyed by tornadoes?

This was the scariest part of the storm and ended up doing less harm than feared. The tornado was confined to a very small area and didn’t do widespread damage.

All I can say is I am glad I stocked up on Vodka.

Yours in confused retailing, Bruce