|October 10, 2012 | Recent Events Dictate, Travels
Here’s a letter I sent today.
I was on an out-of-the-country trip for two weeks with some friends from New Orleans, and we got back on August 29th, which was exactly when Hurricane Isaac was hitting our town. We flew into Tampa, and on landing there were informed that all flights to New Orleans were canceled and that there was nothing anyone could do about it.
The guys I was with had wives or girlfriends in the city and were anxious to get back to make sure they were safe, so when I suggested that we should maybe sit tight in Florida for a day or two to see what would happen, they were all heavily resistant to the idea. We ended up renting a couple of cars and driving directly into the storm at the exact same time many people were evacuating.
I’m sure you remember how bad the weather got. By the time we hit Mississippi, it was pitch-black and the rain made it nearly impossible to see anything. We were in a big, heavy American car ( a Crown Victoria, so at least the ride was nice and smooth, at first, anyway ), but the fierce wind was making us sway all over the road. We stopped at the welcome center for about an hour and finally decided that since there were hardly any other cars on the road, we might stand a chance of making it if we were very careful and went slowly. I guess my wallet got mixed up with the trash we threw out before we left.
We made it home in the middle of the night. There was a curfew, and the only vehicles on the road were police cars and power company cherry-pickers, but we never got stopped – I guess because of the Crown Vic, everybody assumed we were cops. We couldn’t go into the city, where we live, so we stopped at one of the guys’ parents’ house in the suburbs. It was a crazy scene there, with blown-down trees in the street and roof shingles everywhere, and when we started unloading the car in the darkness ( nobody had power ), I realized my wallet was gone.
I went through Hurricane Katrina, and some lesser storms as well, and most people I know have too, so, to us, the next couple of days after Isaac were more inconvenient than dangerous or scary. There was some property damage, and a lot of people had no power for days, but I don’t know anyone who got hurt or lost their home or anything like that. Some restaurants were even open, so people did what they always do in New Orleans, which is eat, drink, and celebrate. In fact, since the only thing to do was hang out, I probably would have had fun during that time – but I was too busy being angry at myself for losing my wallet, and I had no way of getting any cash beyond the little I still had in my suitcase from the trip.