Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Whew! The Big Easy Catches A Break

A big part of what's called "Acadiana" mightn't have been so lucky, this time. Erosion caused by oil development--mainly, channels dug to facilitate platform maintenance and supply--has decimated the shallows and marshes that once protected this fragile coast. Looking at the storm track Saturday and Sunday, I thought Morgan City might catch the brunt. It was apparently worse even east of there, in the so-called "Evangeline" region which, when he wrote the poem, Longfellow had never visited.

NEW ORLEANS - A still-largely deserted New Orleans was spared major damage from Hurricane Gustav, but other parts of Cajun country were not as lucky.

In low-lying parishes across Louisiana's southeastern and central coast, homes were destroyed and towns flooded.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said he has received reports of widespread damage across three parishes — Terrebonne, Lafourche and St. Mary — near where the eye of the storm hit. Helicopter crews were expected to search the area for anyone injured or killed.

I was really glad N'Awlins was mostly spared this time. I had the great good fortune to live close enough to the "Big Easy" to enjoy its pleasures regularly for about 10 years and I retain a great fondness for the place.

Hurricane Andrew relieved my house in Baton Rouge of about 60% of its shingles and about a third of its sheating about this time in '91. As soon as the winds died, every male in the neighborhood was out in the streets, organizing ourselves to attack quick patches as swiftly as possible. There were about 12 houses on my street/block and about half of them sustained damage. Storm damage in southeast Louisiana was not uncommon, and everybody had tools and some kinds of materials: tarps, visquine, plywood, nails, tar. We had every damaged roof in the neighborhood patched enough to keep out the rain by sunset.

Youtube had this international photomontage from all over the affected areas.

It seems always well to remember that these events are equivalent disasters to all their victims.

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