Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Evacuation Complete

The next time I meet someone named Gustav, I'm punching him in the face.

We didn't think Hurricane Gustav would hit Baton Rouge and Prairieville as hard as it did. Even as the hurricane pounded us, we didn't think it was doing much damage because there wasn't as much rain as past hurricanes. Sure, we watched the shingles fly off our neighbor's roof one by one and wondered how our roof was faring, but we just thought our neighbor's roof was a wuss. Little did we know that the wind was making Baton Rouge its bitch.

By the way, this is my roof. We lost a few shingles, but I think we made out pretty well. No leaks that I know of.
[Picture: My roof]

Our power went out about six hours into the hurricane, which is pretty good considering we usually lose power if it's just partly cloudy outside. Once the power went out I instantly tried to seduce Betty, because that's usually how we spend the nights during hurricanes: me trying to seduce her and her throwing the lifeless appliances at me. But this time Anne kept Betty entertained long enough that even my physical prowess was useless against her.

No appliances were harmed during the making of this hurricane.

Instead, we played cards to keep ourselves entertained. Not as much fun as hurricane lovin', but not a bad way to spend the evening.

[Picture: Anne and I consider our Casino hand]

Monday night was miserably hot and muggy. And poor Anne - her entire body was hot to the touch. Betty and I took turns taking cold baths in order to cool off, and we rinsed Anne off as well. Our house was so stuffy that we decided to open the windows, which was dumb - that just let in more humid air. But people in our state have had to deal with much worse than just a hot house, so we lit some candles as I once again failed to seduce Betty.

In typical Tanory fashion, Betty and I waited until after the storm to make our move and tried to evacuate on Tuesday. The radio said that I-10 Westbound was clear, so we packed up Betty's car and made our way out to I-10. Just as we approached the on ramp onto I-10 we noticed that the Check Engine light was on in Betty's car. Crap! We read the owner's manual to see if our car could make it to Lafayette, then decided to go back home and switch cars. We've been stuck on the Atchafalaya Basin for six hours before - we didn't want to break down on it if we could help it.

We went back to the house and moved all our junk from one car to another, then made our way back to I-10. But in the few minutes that it took us to change cars, the cops had blocked off all entrances to I-10 prior to Siegen Lane. Apparently workers were fixing power lines at Siegen Lane and the work was dangerously close to the Interstate.

The cops told us we could enter the Interstate after Siegen, so off we went to find another way onto I-10. We tried going around the work but every alternate route was blocked by downed power lines or fallen trees. We felt like we were in one of those mazes where there's only one correct way through the puzzle, and if you hit a road block you just turn around and try another path.

But not this time. We turned around in defeat.

Instead of heading to my parents' house in Lafayette we went to Betty's cousins' house in Prairieville, where they had a generator and a window A/C unit. If you ever want to know why air conditioning is the greatest human achievement in the history of mankind, just sit down in front of a window unit after a night in a 98 degree house with 100% humidity, and you will do like I did and kneel down in front of the A/C and kiss the cool, refreshing ground.

[Picture: Anne and her cousin Abigail chill out in front of the A/C]

We spent the night in my coworker's camper, where they had A/C and TV. Talk about a far cry from our previous night at my house! It made me seriously consider buying a camper.

Wednesday we made our way to Lafayette. Electricity, running water, A/C, Cajun food and free babysitters, it's like we're in Heaven!

It looks like we'll be here for a week or so, because I don't think our power is going to be restored any time sooner than that. There were too many downed power lines, trees resting on power lines, and blown transformers for the energy companies to have everything fixed faster than that. But we in the greater Baton Rouge area want to thank everyone who came down to help - all of the utility workers, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Here are some pictures we took of the area around our house during our evacuation.

[Picture: Fence blown down]
My neighbor's fence was blown down. They were lucky that it stayed intact, otherwise there could have been some serious lumber projectiles.

[Picture: Tree blown down]
Some of my neighbors have trees in their yard, but for the most part the trees were small and their houses are OK.

[Picture: Ugly stone house still standing]
If there was one good thing this storm could have done it would have been to destroy that ugly stone house. This huge tree came close.

[Picture: Church lost its steeple]
The Baptist church by my house lost its steeple.

[Picture: Broken tree]
This tree broke but mercifully left the power lines intact.

[Picture: Tree on power line]
Not so lucky with this power line. This tree fell and snapped a few power lines, and is holding this line hostage. Oh, and this particular power line provides power to my street. Screw you, tree!

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