28 August 2005

Scary. This is Hurricane Katrina at 9 pm, Pacific Time, today, Sunday night.

Last September I was in Lousisiana when Hurricane Ivan passed by. We cut our work-week short and evacuated the day before, only to learn that it had veered north on its path across the Gulf of Mexico and wrought minimal harm on the state. Warnings that New Orleans could fill up with water like a soup bowl were taken seriously, as cars lined up on I-10 to the Texas border and on northbound highways nearly up to Tennessee. My coworker, Bill, and I had a simple 10-15 mile drive from our hotel to the Baton Rouge airport for our early morning flights. Seeing the interstate jammed all afternoon and evening, we left our hotel at 2:00 am to allow enough time for the drive. The interstate was still a virtual parking lot in the wee hours of the morning, so we took alternate roads as suggested by the hotel clerk and a couple of maps. These were crowded too, with restaurants full of people and many cars just stopped alongsid the road with kids running around for a break. The radio station was devoted to full-time call-in traffic reports, but it didn't make any difference, because most of the time we couldn't move an inch. We ended up getting to the airport a little after 5:00 am, after a 3-hour ten to fifteen mile drive, and just making it onto our flights back home.


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