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Evacuating Gustav: Breaking It Down

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Okay guys, it looks like I will be able to stay with you, at least for a little while, as Gustav heads toward the Louisiana coast. I am glad to see CSC readers who live in the area have gotten out of the area and are okay. I wish the best for you and your families. As of now, it looks like the actual city of New Orleans (where I am) may be okay but the West Bank and other parts west will see some serious damage. It will all be predicated upon the levees. If the storm tracks even slightly east, then I, and the city of New Orleans, may be in some serious trouble. Unfortunately, someone has to get it.

Now that I am outside of the New Orleans area, I am relying on the national media, the same as all of you. In case anyone cares, I will give you my in depth breakdown of my personal evacuation. For those who had to do the same, feel free to share your stories. I am also going to make this the official news thread for Gustav news as the storm plans to make landfall tomorrow. I will also be checking in often tonight and tomorrow.

  • Saturday morning I boarded up my store, moved all merchandise off the floor, shut everything down, grabbed important files and documents and locked up tight.
  • Erin and I left uptown NOLA yesterday evening and made it to Destrahan (west of the city) without hitting any traffic.
  • We all (Erin's family and I) left their house at 4am and took I-55 North. There is a very good chance her family's house will get a lot of water. It's a weird feeling leaving your home completely in tact knowing there is a good chance everything will be gone when you return. Their house has flooded twice. 
  • Traffic wasn't too bad. Stop and go for a while. Completely stopped at certain points. Contraflow started after the I-12 merge and definitely helped flow. Having gone through Ivan and Katrina I can without a doubt say that this evacuation went incredibly smooth and I am glad to see our local officials have learned a lesson or two.
  • As soon as contraflow was merged back, we all stopped outside of Jackson, MS. So did the rest of southern Louisiana who decided to take I-55 North. If you're looking for an adventure, try getting breakfast at a roadside McDonald's filled with 75 stressed out hurricane evacuees and an unprepared, unmotivated McDonald's staff.
  • The soundtrack for the ride consisted of WWL 105.5FM and 870AM for continuous traffic and hurricane updates. These guys do a great job and I listen to them everyday. I was surprised how far we received their signal. After that it was Coldplay (Erin's choice) and Dane Cook (mine).
  • We made it all the way here on one single tank of gas. Gotta love Hybrid vehicles. If you don't have one, I highly recommend it. With gas prices at the level they are now, it makes financial sense.
  • Gas prices are about to rise. Plan on it. Because of the storms effect on the oil industry here in the Gulf, this is assured (see: Katrina).
  • After waking up from a nap, Erin informed me we had passed Deuce McAllister's Autos somewhere in central Mississippi. I am assuming it is THE Deuce McAllister. No picture. I'm angry.
  • We arrived at the Comfort Inn here in Olive Branch, MS, just outside of Memphis. The entire parking lot is filled with cars with Louisiana license plates.
  • Walking through the all you can hear everyone's television's tuned to CNN and Wolf Blitzer's voice from every room.
  • Wolf Blitzer is a moron and a drama queen whose only purpose is to scare and sensationalize news stories. I really, really, hate him. For those of you getting your Gustav info from him, please believe about 25% of what he say's.

Here are a few pictures for you guys.

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My store all boarded up. If you notice the writing, it actually says "Benson Sucks" which someone spray painted on there after Katrina. Thought you guys would like that.

 

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An empty uptown.

 

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Sitting in early morning traffic. Pre-contraflow.

 

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Erin catching some Z's before it's her turn to drive. She's not happy that I posted this.

 

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Me! I figured some of you might be interested to see what I actually look like after reading CSC for so long. What better time then now. Haven't had time to shave in a few days.

 

The following pictures were all taken at random points on the trip northward. These are meant to show you not only the love this city has for the Saints, but also the mass exodus that has taken place the last two days.

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I guess since this is a Saints blog I should mention a little about the team and what is in their future. The news seems to be pretty positive so far. The Times-Pic reports that the team is planning on being back in Metairie on Saturday and playing in the Dome on Sunday. You have no idea how much I am hoping I will be in that stadium to watch them play. Not sure how many people would actually make it to the game, but it certainly would be a great first step.