Gustav Putting a Damper on My Plans

Barbara Vey -- August 28th, 2008

Hurrican Gustav
I visited New Orleans for the first time last year and fell in love.  The city, the people, the history, the cemetaries, the voodoo shops and of course the beignets.  So I’m all psyched to leave on Friday for a long weekend with Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans Conference (baskets and raffles donated entirely to the New Orleans Library Foundation).  But what do I see while grazing the internet?  Gustav!  

The horrible storm that is eating up the Caribbean and is headed straight for New Orleans almost exactly 3 years from the date that Katrina laid it’s devastation over the land.  There’s a projection of the path, and we all know how fast that can change, but still, I’m leery.  Do I have any clue what to do if something castastrophic happened?  Will any of the writers who are attending the conferences?  Or will they be taking notes to use in an upcoming book?

"Everybody should be looking at their plans, just like we’re looking at our plans, and get ready," said Jerry Sneed, director of New Orleans’ Office of Emergency Preparedness. "If they don’t have a plan, you still have time. If you wait until the storm’s on top of you, that’s when panic’s going to set in and you don’t think wisely."

New Orleans estimated about 30,000 residents would need help evacuating, Sneed said. He said only 7,000 people have signed up so far to get that help.

He said buses and trains were ready to take evacuees to shelters in Shreveport, Alexandria, and Monroe, Louisiana, and in Jackson, Mississippi.

Anderson Cooper
What should I do?  Go or not go (I mean, I do need to consider the beignets)?  They still aren’t even sure it will hit New Orleans.  Carry a portable weather radio with me or maybe spray paint to write "Help" on a roof top (assuming I’m able to climb to the roof)? 

Now I realize how devasting and serious Katrina was and people are still feeling the effects.  My heart goes out to them.  But I was wondering if any of you live near the evacuation cities and if you’d consider taking in a slightly damp guest…just in case.

Bottom Line:  Ok, I don’t have an action plan except to keep my eyes open for Anderson Cooper.  Maybe I can get him to be in a Drive By Video.

64 thoughts on “Gustav Putting a Damper on My Plans

  1. Keena Kincaid

    I’ve been to New Orleans a handful of times over the past decade, and it is a fabulous city. Truly lives up to the hype. No advice on going or not (although I personally would be tempted to ride out a hurricane at Cafe Du Monde as long as the staff kept the coffee and beignets coming). If you do decide to go, enjoy and keep one eye on the weather channel.

  2. Gina

    I can’t tell you what to do, but if I were going I would call my hotel and find out their hurricane plan, pack some rain gear and a flash light, then enjoy the weekend. Eat beignets, go to Lafitte’s (sp) Black Smith Shop (if you have never been to this historic bar just outside the French Quarter it’s worth going just to hear it’s story), and dine at Muriels in Jackson Square (I recommend the muscles appetizer, it’s to die for). Whatever decision you make I’m sure it will be the right one for you. Either way I’m glad you posted this, it was just the nudge I needed to call my travel agent to plan my next New Orleans trip!

  3. Barbara Vey

    I did call the hotel and they said that they should know by Saturday and if there is an evacuation, the hotel will help get you to the buses, but they have no idea where you will end up. I already packed my yellow Mickey Mouse rain poncho.

  4. PJ

    I would imagine Heather and her conference organizers are watching Gustav very carefully as well. I hope the storm misses New Orleans. They’re just now getting back on their feet. They sure don’t need another Katrina. If you go, hope you have a terrific (and safe) time and, hey, if you do have to evacuate, just think of all the fascinating blogs you could get out the journey home! :)

  5. Monica Burns

    Katrina was such a heartbreak for so many. When I heard Gustav was headed in the direction there was this gut reaction that said Lord, haven’t these people suffered enough. Whatever decision you make as to your plans, stay safe.

  6. Jaci Burton

    We were in New Orleans last year and it broke my heart to see so many of the white trailers, so many people still displaced after Katrina. That city does not need another hurricane. They’re still rebuilding. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you all have a great time, and that the storm either fizzles out or heads in another direction!

  7. mary s

    Barb–I think the Cafe du Monde is a concrete structure that might withstand the effects of Gustav!! Either way, you will be enjoying beignets & chicory coffee! Have a great time!

  8. Mark

    Barbara, New Orleans REALLY needs your tourist dollars, so why not just wait and see what Gustav does? If the storm heads anywhere near to Louisiana, the airlines will allow you to change or cancel your ticket. I’m sorry it had to mess up your trip to give you a taste of what New Orleanians have gone through in the wake of Katrina, but we appreciate any attention you can bring to the fact that the federal government largely abandoned N.O. (when the Corps of Engineers’ negligence caused the flooding) and the city still desperately needs federal help. thanks.

  9. Geoff Schutt

    Hello Barbara, Everyone is offering great advice, and Yes, you should still plan to go to New Orleans. If Gustav is cranky and decides to visit the Big Easy, you can adjust accordingly. Kudos to Gina for suggesting Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which by the way, has the best Hurricanes in the city (have to respect the drink as much as the storm). Don’t miss Pirate’s Alley, and the Faulkner House, where Faulkner wrote his first novel. Nothing can crush the “spirit” of New Orleans, or its people. I plan on visiting later this Fall for my annual literary adventure. Crossing my fingers for you — and wishing safe travels. Geoff, at “This Side of Paradise,” where we follow Gatsby’s beacon of green light and hope. (


    I live in New Orleans and am here to tell you, it’s way too early to predict Gustav. I also agree with Mark, “New Orleans REALLY needs your tourist dollars, so why not just wait and see what Gustav does?”

  11. Liza

    As long as the hotel can get you out if Gustav looks like it’s going to make land, I would go. New Orleans needs all our help and tourist dollars are the best way for it to get back on it’s feet. Have a safe and fun trip if you get to go.

  12. Marie Pinschmidt

    I lived in New Orleans for eleven years and still miss the beignets and chicory coffee. Your picture had me salivating! I hope you enjoy your visit as much as I did living there. No other city like it. Best luck.

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