Rita: A Baton Rouge Diary, Part 6

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09/29/2005

New Orleans, LA

Neighborhood: Letter From Abroad

September 23, 2005: déjà vu?

Here we go again, first from the East, now from the West. What a mess!

While in Jefferson Parish, Wednesday, I noticed utilities crews leaving in droves. The US Army was on the move as well. It was a strange day, very hazy. Haze and cloudy skies are a good sign with a Hurricane approaching the coast. At least that is what I thought. There was none of the atmosphere of a calm before the storm, just a lot of flies — and hence, I believed that we were out of danger. Another theory shot to hell.

I considered writing an email entitled “Exodus 8:21,” for it was the mass exodus on twenty-first day of the eighth month. Not being overly religious, I could not quote the Bible, so I decided to check the verse. It was Moses telling the Pharaoh to let His people go or face the plague of the flies. Something about this in conjunction with the flies in Jefferson Parish just did not sit well with me. I chose to forego my writing.

On my way back to Baton Rouge I stopped in a remote town (Donaldsonville, LA) and purchased 17 gallons of bleach, a sprayer, tarps, gloves, wading suit and other provisions that I believed would be necessary in my war against the mold in the house in New Orleans. At that time I was ready to execute my “shock and awe” battle plan made for Sunday. My plans, however, have been dashed by what appears to be the second coming of destruction.

Thursday morning I discovered myself back in the grocery store lines buying more canned goods and water. You would think that I still had that stuff from the previous Hurricane still in my stockpile. Most of the water I either bathed in or drank in New Orleans. The Spaghetti-Os, Chef Boyardee ravioli and canned Blue Runner Gumbo I killed off with the chips and the dips. ‘Cause I like ’em. What a diet! You would think I would weigh a ton eating all this crap — perhaps it is the danged gas station exercises that have kept me on the lean side.

And yes, guess who called at ten? The gas station, who else. “Need you here, NOW!” This place is like a plague; I keep running from it and it keeps haunting me.

When I arrived it was a zoo. People lined up and trying to beat each other to the gas pumps. It was deja vu, the same thing over again.

It was ten after four in the morning before I got a reprieve.

Here in BR the winds are steadily picking up. This time will be worse than the last. We are on the eastern side of this oceanic spinning saw-blade. People are concerned about New Orleans flooding again. Who cares? Down at the house, the only thing that flooding could possibly do is clean things — it cannot get any worse.

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