It took me a little over a week to write a post about living through Hurricane Isaac. I wanted to be sure that I had a proper perspective, because we have friends that lost everything and there is no way I ever want to compare what I went through to what they are still going through. My experience comes from the perspective of a woman almost 8 months pregnant. I decided not to post any pictures of the storm or it's aftermath. There have been enough of those posted online to get an idea of how that week was for those of us living in southern Louisiana. My thought was to post what we did to make the most of a long and tiring situation... here goes :)
I woke up Sunday morning to see that the path of Isaac changed from hitting the Mobile area to coming straight for us here in NOLA. I haven't been in the direct path of a hurricane - ever. I lived through one on Martha's Vineyard, but that swept past us in one day and only hit us indirectly. When my husband mentioned evacuating, I though that was silly. I have a business to run and besides, I didn't want to travel in slow moving traffic to Houston just to come back a day later. I declined. Mistake #1...
Monday was pretty uneventful. We got the store ready for the storm and bought supplies to last us if/when the power went out. We never planned for it to be out for DAYS and never bought a generator or battery powered fans. Mistake #2...
Tuesday the storm hit slowly. It rained a bit and the wind kicked up. Most stores were closed and of course this was about the time that I decided to have a serious craving for pizza. We didn't have pizza. And even if we did, the carbs alone would ruin this diabetic mama's BS so I had to get creative. I took some flatbread, an open can of spaghetti sauce, some string cheese and leftover chicken and bacon and made some pizzas for Jim and me. I have to say, they were quite delicious!! And best part was they were low carb :)
We woke up Wednesday morning and thought the storm had passed. We had power, but no internet, cable, or phone service, so we were unsure of what was happening. Jim got a hand crank radio/flashlight from work a few years ago so we powered it up and tuned in to find out what was going on outside. As it turned out, the storm was moving at a snail pace of 6MPH and wasn't even over us yet!! We hung out at the house and had friends over to play cards and pass the time. About an hour after they arrived, our power went out. I noticed it was starting to get warmer within hours of the setting sun. That night it was really hard to sleep. It was too hot to sleep and far too quiet. We should have had some pregnancy back-up plan. Mistake #3...
Jim's hand in UNO. My friend's hand in the lower corner shows just how many cards you SHOULD have versus how many he got stuck with :)
Thursday was just terrible. It was so hot, the storm was passing, and I was miserable. We left NOLA in search of food and cool air, as a friend told Jim they had both in Baton Rouge. We spent most of the day trying to get there, but getting turned back by the National Guard or State Police because every road leading to BR was washed away, including the I-10, which we later found out hasn't happened in over 30 years, not even during Hurricane Katrina.
When we got back, Jim spent some time talking with our neighbors. I spent time working on a blanket for baby girl on our porch. I was so hot and tired and just a wee bit cranky - I had no interest in being chatty! The thing about New Orleans that people don't really get is that even though it is a city, we are really a small town. Everyone knows everyone and their business. People will stop in the middle of the street to honk their horn and wave at you. In one ten minute conversation, Jim found out that power never went out in the French Quarter and that most hotels were open and had... air conditioning!! We made a few calls and found a place to stay for the night. I was so excited I thought I might just go into labor. We packed and headed to our new temporary home. The hotel was lovely and chilly cold. We stayed there two nights and then we had to find another room because ours was booked for Saturday. We were nervous because it was a holiday weekend and most hotels were booked or very expensive. As always, God is SO faithful and we got a whole suite (!) in a little boutique hotel for only $20 more than we were paying at the prior hotel. It was clean and quaint and right next door to our favorite Italian restaurant. God is so good to this sinner...
Saturday after dinner, we went by the store to see if the power was back on yet, only to find it was still out.. but glory to glory, it was back on at our house!! We cleaned out the freezer and most of the fridge and turned the A/C on. By Sunday we knew the house would be cool enough to come back to and clean. We were thankful for one final night in a hotel. On our way to the hotel, I saw that some folks will get pretty creative when trying to stay cool. I wish we had thought of something similar :)
On Sunday, I woke up early and drove by the store. I was in tears when I saw the faint glow of lights through the window. I walked into the cool air and instantly marveled at how frail we humans are. For all our claims to be so superior, we fall apart when our circumstances change. Well... I know I did!
There were many times when I completely neglected to thank God for what we had - there were many times when I did thank Him, but I would like to be the kind of person that remembers to thank Him in EVERY situation!!
There were things I learned about myself during the week of the "hurricane that wouldn't leave New Orleans". I am so thankful to the Lord for his mercy. When He teaches a lesson, He can be kind if you are still enough to attend to His voice. I learned that sometimes God will remove all other distractions (TV, phone, internet, even a noisy fan!) in order to be heard. He has that right. I pray that I learned my lesson well and will not have to take that class again :)
It's been over a week and the city still has the battered scars of Isaac, but we are moving on. Next time, we'll evacuate even if it is only a small hurricane. But, I am so glad we experienced this. I'll get to tell our daughter about the first hurricane she was in, the one that by her being in my belly, helped me grow closer to God.