This post might interest family and friends more than the general public, but that’s O.K.–I offer no apologies to others who might have logged in expecting to find something else. This business four years ago is too grim to forget too soon, so blog it, I should. This narrative comes from the 2005 journal about this time of year during the Katrina/Rita aftermath: an account of a trip to Metairie to help Aunt Marion move back into her house after living away from home in storm exile for more than a month. This is what I wrote on that date:
The news of the day was traffic and complications. When we rolled up to the Miss. R. bridge eastbound a little before 8 a.m. the traffic started. After we got through the knot at I-10/110 it actually moved pretty good. In the country b/t BR and NO we actually went the speed limit unimpeded. But right at Hwy. 51 exit at LaPlace, the partking lot started. We dove off and went into town to catch Airline, which went pretty good until just before we got to the airport, where again, slow-moving parking lot. When we made it to WIlliams Blvd, I hooked a left and went up to Veterans where the traffic resembled a Saturday on the weekend before Christmas–It was a thick, but at least it moved. B/c the traffic delays had added 30 or so minutes to our trip, the Lowe’s staff already had the refrigerator loaded on Daddy’s truck. Aunt Marian tried to suggest to Daddy that Zach or I drive his truck with the refrigerator–I whispered to her that I didn’t think he’d go for it–we could tell she was nervous–predicatably he firmly insisted, “Nobody knows my truck like me.”
But that part of the trip was a success. The fridge was safely delivered and unloaded–Zach did a good job, bless his young heart, of kind of taking over and supervising the procedure, lending the muscle as well as the brain. Getting the huge box into the house was another ordeal. First, we didn’t have the tools we needed to undo the packing runner bolted to the underside, so Zach and Aunt Marian had to run to the hardware store to get a cheap socket set. To make a long story short, what should have taken 30-45 minutes ended up taking a couple of hours. We couldn’t hook up the ice maker b/c the old fitting on the copper tubing was bad, but at least she can go to the grocery store and stock up on perishables, put some ice trays to make ice until the plumber comes to finish the job, etc. Her FEMA guy came by while we were there, too, so she had a productive day.
We went back through Covington b/c Mama had cooked–and I mean cooked!–baby back ribs, boiled corn on the cob, baked sweet potatoes. We didn’t eat until 2, so we were pretty starving, which made the food even better. Traffic going into Covington on TYler was more than sticky, so we headed back west on 190 to Robert, where we got in I-12. More traffic–like a weekday during Thanksgving week–I can’t figure out where/why all this traffic is going on. AT least the traffic moved well until we got into Baton ROuge. We came up on the creeping slow-down right before the Acadian Thruway, so we ducked off and drove through the old parts of town to pick up 110 on the other side, leaving town on 190 across the old bridge. We were lucky we could get off when we did, I believe. No telling how long we’d have been on I-10.
We got home a couple of hours later than we had planned, but it was a fulfilling and interesting day. Evidence of the storm was abundant, but we really didn’t see a lot of spectacular damage. I’m sure much of that has already been cleaned up. The household throw-out piles a few houses down the street from Aunt Marian’s where homes had flooded were sad. I did notice gasoline lines at a station in Metairie, but everywhere else along the way, the supply seemed OK.
So that’s the report from the Cajun Prairie, across the Atchafalaya Basin to the Capitol City, through the River Parishes and across the Bonne Carre almost to New Orleans, across the Lake and the FLorida Parishes to retrace the morning’s eastbound journey on the westbound side. That was quite a bit of Louisiana to see in a day, and while I can’t say all is well along the way, one observation is certain: Louisiana is on the move!
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