Thursday, September 16, 2004

Hurricane hangover

Posting this a day late

This morning, much of my neighborhood was still boarded up. Many evacuees have not returned just yet so I imagine a lot of things will be closed today. Who ever heard of a hurricane without rain? We were unbelievably lucky this time. New Orleans is in a unique postition with respect to hurricanes due to the fact that we sit 6-9 feet below sea level and are surrouned by the Mississippi, Lake Pontchartrain and a vast swamp. The water that surrounds us is higher than we are. If a storm like Ivan were to hit us the way it hit coastal Alabama and Florida last night it would bring about an unimaginable disaster scenario. If you haven't done so yet, you should really read this article Oyster linked to. This spectre of complete annhilation is a contributing factor to the devil-may-care lifestyle for which our city is so famous. We grow up here with a fully developed healthy sense of the apocolyptic.
In this spirit, the locals who remained last night were out making the most of it. The 2PM curfew did little or nothing to deter sightseers. One common tactic was for folks to walk their dogs as a pretense for being outside. I live about five blocks uptown from Igor's so I walked down to find them open. There were more dogs there, some people had a beach ball, and one guy was wearing floaties. The police showed up, but it turned out they just wanted to order a hamburger.
This morning I went for a short walk. The wind had shaken loose some small branches, and on St. Charles Ave, also dislodged some of the beads left hanging in the trees from Mardi Gras. The beads and minor debris along the sidewalk left one with a sort of Ash Wednessday feeling. (The hangover also contributed much to this.) There was sun and a light breeze, a perfect day with which it seemed that God was promising to never again destroy the world via a moderate breeze and a light sprinkle or two. Again, we were really lucky this time, folks. Let's hope this is our last scare of the season.

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