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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Gustav vs Louisiana: Picking Up the Pieces

Radar screen of a hurricane-tracking plane, courtesy of NOAA archives.

The news crews are pulling out of Louisiana, now that Gustav is gone. They are labeling it a blow-over, but was it really?

Back in 2005 when Katrina hit, farrier Dick Fanguy was supposed to be at home in bed recovering from back surgery, but instead reported to work at the Louisiana State University horse triage station at the showgrounds...and stayed there for weeks, shoeing horses and treating wounds and helping the vets.

He checked in here on Sunday, saying he had been in touch with the vets, and was ready to hunker down until it passed. He'd report to work if they needed him. He ended up hunkering way down. His friend Danvers reported this afternoon that Dick exited his house near Baton Rouge with the help of a chainsaw, as all the trees surrounding his house had come crashing down. (Dick's advice: Bring the chainsaw into the house before the storm hits. You might need it to get out.)

It's not over for Dick.

Further south, Molly the (Amputee) Pony's barn is partially flooded, with plenty of roof damage. Her owner is still living in a FEMA trailer from Katrina, and you can imagine her concern as a tree almost toppled on the construction site of her unfinished replacement house.

It's not over for Kaye and Molly.

No doubt more stories will be heard as the power returns and people can communicate better. Just remember that a storm is a storm, even when CNN is disappointed that it wasn't a bigger story or when FEMA wants to take credit for an evacuation well-orchestrated. Maybe Hanna or Ike will be better for broadcast ratings, but any storm, anywhere, is a danger to people and animals.

The lights may be back on in New Orleans' French Quarter by tomorrow night. But the people out in the countryside may have to sit and wait a while (in the dark) before they can tell us what happened or send photos. It may not be over yet, for them.

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