Mandatory evacuation

There’s a mandatory evacuation ordered for the Westbank tomorrow beginning at 8am, extending to the Eastbank (i.e., the City of New Orleans) at noon. At least for now, projections call for landfall Monday afternoon somewhere around Morgan City, putting our city in the most dangerous northeast quadrant of a Category Four hurricane. We are under a 10pm curfew (a shame, since it’s a lovely evening, all the neighbors are out and it would be a great night for one of our periodic street parties).

This “mandatory” thing means, essentially, you’re on your own if you stay. No one is going to come drag you out of your house at gunpoint and throw you on a bus to Boise. What it means is, in the most serious parental tones, “don’t come crying to us when your walls collapse, your roof flies off to Alexandria and you’re climbing a phone pole to get away from the rapidly rising Gulf of Mexico. We warned you, you freaking idiot.” Some officials also back this up by telling people to leave the names of their next of kin with police so they can be contacted. It’s kinda the ultimate in constabulary cut-direct.

Four of our employees have already left town. A fifth might leave tonight. The worst I can accuse them of is having good sense. We know that tonight might well be our last “normal” night for, oh, God knows when. By “normal,” I mean a night in our own home, with air conditioning and full power, secure in the knowledge that we can sleep until we get up at a reasonable time tomorrow and go in to work and do what we do.

Read the last sentence again. Its operable words are “in our own home.” Everything else is pretty much expendable. We have spent much of today discussing this, in various forms or another, between the staff at work and our own family and close friends and good neighbors. No matter what the particulars for each individual, this is what it comes down to — that despite the uncertainty, the dangers, the hassles, the lack of personal comfort and the very real peril to our own very lives — we are staying because we fear that if we leave we will be prevented from completing our work. We came back after Katrina to rebuild — and we are seriously pissed off that despite all we have done, another storm and all its contingent officials, rules, bullshitters, Naginizers, FEMAtropes, post-storm looters, selfish thugs and other assorted trip-up devices are going to be thrown in our way.

A hell of a lot of us have managed to wrest a living and a life out of what was left at the end of 2005. We’ve managed to do it with the help of family, friends, neighbors and, in a lot of cases, mysterious folks who just seemed to want to help. Note that I didn’t mention “government” in there. We’ve done it despite our government(s). And it’s not done yet. It likely will never be “done.”

Now we have to deal with this latest threat. We have put too much into what we have (personally, professionally, physically) to simply sit in a motel room someplace and watch it all get washed away again. We wouldn’t be “in our own home.” I agree that to stay is a type of madness. But it’s preferable to the madness we felt in our Being Away the last time.

7 Comments so far

  1. stacymi on August 31st, 2008 @ 12:48 am

    Craig and Kim ~

    Although I think you’re crazy, I completely respect your reasons for staying.

    Just know that I will be thinking about you and praying for your safety as well as the safety of anyone else staying behind for reasons such as yours.

    Craig, I’m gonna go ahead and take this latest blog as a personal note to myself since I gave you such a hard time on the phone earlier about not updating me. LOL. So, thank you.

    As I told Kim earlier, sometimes my hot air does good and sometimes it doesn’t…and in this case, standing in my front yard blowing as hard as I can towards the south is useless. Gustov, the fucktard, is too strong for me.

    Like I said, I will continue to keep you both and the entire city in my thoughts and prayers over the coming days. I love you both.

    Blondee


  2. no_chris on August 31st, 2008 @ 1:13 am

    Craig, I really want to say I respect your decision, but would really urge you to reconsider.

    despite all the crazy nagin/media/everybody crazy fearmongering "mother of all storms" stuff, this is not looking good. a cat 4-5 storm coming directly up the mouth of the mississippi has long been the worst case scenario, much worse than Katrina, with water brimming to the top of the levees from lake to river. that means 5-10 feet of water on magazine street. yes, it’s likely that this won’t happen, but why chance it?

    I’m already sorry that I’m going to post this because I know you already know all this stuff., and it’s just added stress. but I like you and kimmie and on the off chance that this somehow influences you to change you mind, well, you might appreciate it someday.

    now if you’ll excuse me, those cartoon charmin toilet paper bears are on TV. nothing like bears subtly discussing wiping their asses to calm one’s nevers.


  3. stacymi on August 31st, 2008 @ 1:28 am

    Chris, I have to agree with you.

    I just didn’t want to say any of that and add the stress onto them.

    So, thanks for saying it.

    Even though I still "get it" why they want to stay.

    The more I watch and the more I learn, the more I wish I could just scoop you guys up and bring you here. I’d let Craig cook me up some tasteee BBQ, of course, while Kim and I sunbathe.

    But in all seriousness….even though, as Chris said, I know you know all of this…it’s quite frankly looking like worst case scenario.

    Gah!

    Now I’m rambling.

    I’m blaming it on Chris.

    Once again….be safe.


  4. rebyj on August 31st, 2008 @ 8:06 am

    Stay safe and PLEASE blog as much as possible as long as you can.
    Although I totally understand your reasons for staying, I wish you guys were far north away from the storm! Update as you can.

    Hi Stacy! Miss you!


  5. stacymi on August 31st, 2008 @ 10:18 am

    **waves to Rebyj!!**


  6. sbdc» Blog Archive » Craig in New Orleans (pingback) on August 31st, 2008 @ 9:45 pm

    […] the Mandatory Evacuation order and staying through it, and blogging the whole thing. From a post earlier today‚Ķ A hell of a lot of us have managed to wrest a living and a life out of what was left at the […]


  7. Pray for New Orleans | Kuala Lumpur Metblogs (pingback) on August 31st, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

    […] Metblogs New Orleans is on the ground covering Hurricane Gustav. […]



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