Thanks to everyone who has emailed to check on us! I have been trying to catch up on emails and appreciate the concern and good thoughts even though we are always safer in the north part of the state.
At least it wasn't another Katrina. I've tried to figure out how to post about the hurricane, and I find it difficult to assess all of my feelings.
Initially, we were all relieved that Gustav was downgraded before hitting the coast, that the levees held in New Orleans, and that the evacuation was so much more rapid and efficient. However, the damage is immense, overwhelming all attempts at aid. So many more people (approximately 2 million) evacuated this time. Shelters were quickly overwhelmed and supplies and services are still unable to keep up. FEMA's problems have still not been overcome, causing even more hardship.
Erin and the kids came up here, relieving my most immediate fears. A good thing, too, because Baton Rouge received a real pounding; a city of huge old trees, the 90+ mph winds wreaked terrible damage to homes, power lines, etc. No power, no water/sewage, no traffic lights, little if any gasoline available, supplies dwindling... Supplies that were supposed to be available were in the wrong place and not available where needed. People must stand in line for hours for food, bottled water, etc. I'm so thankful that Erin brought Mila and Max up here because most people in B.R. were not expecting the damage and did not evacuate in the numbers that occurred in other places.
There are many things to be grateful for - it wasn't Katrina, the evacuation process was much more successful (a result of many factors, including the willingness of people to heed the warnings), levees held for the most part, the torrential rains and high winds that were predicted for our area dissipated before they got this far north. That doesn't mean that human suffering is not immense as people realize they have lost their homes and possessions and can not yet go home from hotels and shelters.
My husband is on his way to south Louisiana now to check on his mother's house in Alexandria which received damage, his company's business interests, and Erin's house if he can. When I called to check on him a while ago, he said the traffic on I-49 going south is unbelievable. People who can (many have no transportation) are going home to begin repairs and re-building despite the lack of basic services.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered here and with those on the east coast who await Hannah.
Later today, I'm going to have a more cheerful post because I won a wonderful prize!