Evacuation preparations and you . . .

Hurricane Gustav is still in the Caribbean—over 800 miles from here. However, the hurricane gurus are predicting landfall just to the west of us, which puts us on the high-water side.

Now is the time that I can no longer turn my face and hope it will all go away. This is a force to be reckoned with. Now is the time I have to save all that I can save.

And inside, I am still clinging to the calm before the storm, my life ring of sanity that will give me clarity, hopefully.

We live in a mandatory evacuation zone. Evacuations are not new to us, and most of them are just exercises in leaving home and returning in a day or two after the storm has passed and power is restored, if it was interrupted.

But this is not an exercise. This is the real thing. Honestly, my body doesn’t want to go through the motions while my mind wants to wait patiently, stifling the impending anxiety another day, for this storm to take a big turn to Somewhere Else.

I’ve decided as long as this computer is hooked up (I don’t have a laptop yet) I will let you know step by step what I’m doing. I’ve had my coffee, and now I am going to pack a few boxes of inconsequential things that I would miss if they were gone and drive them 55 minutes north to a storage unit I rented the week before Rita flooded our home. That is where all my sentimental things have been for the past three years. And that is where these things are going. Does it make sense? Maybe not, but I have to do it.

If you are praying for peace, keep on, because I can feel it. If you are praying for strength, step it up please–I need a little more courage.

And here I go . . . . .

PHASE 2 1 p.m. We are back home and lifting up all the things we can to a higher spot in the house. The rest of our valuables will be loaded in to the vehicles in preparation to depart. This includes my computer, so this will be the last you will hear from me until I reach the Lake House. I have a few photos to share with you on Sunday, and I promise if we get there by then, it will be done. Thanks for hanging with me. Some of you in the Baton Rouge area are going to be my eyes via this blog as what is going on in Houma. Where I’m going will not get BR or NO news, only national, which does not usually cover the bayou area. I am having a hard time signing off and letting go of this connection, but I must. Until then, pray pray pray.

Here are the photos I promised.  This is what preparing for evacuation and flooding look like:

In every room, we put things up as high as possible.  These photos are not suitable for “Home Beautiful”! But they help you “get the picture”.

Not a pretty picture, is it?

You might notice in the photos that the floors are bare plywood with a couple rugs thrown down.  That’s because we never completely repaired after Hurricane Rita.  It’s complicated.  The parish requires a permit for every little repair you do and when the value of those repairs adds up to half of your home’s value, then you must come up with the $$$ to elevate to the required elevation to avoid future flooding.  In theory, it’s a great idea, but who has $30K hanging around?  If we had that much hanging around, we would have had complete flood insurance coverage and would have already elevated the required 10-12 feet.


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  1. I am putting you all on the prayer chain where I work at CBN/700 Club. Even now Operation Blessing is gearing up to help those in need. My family is praying for you all too…as a matter of fact they called and told me to pray for ya’ll.

  2. Im glad you have a place to go. Let me know if you get stuck there for more than a few days. You are going to be fine. Everyone is sending you their strength and pressence of mind to get through this. And you will. That is who you are, a strong, capable and resoursefull woman, mother, wife, captain, leader. When you get tired and weary, come here and we will fill your reserves. When you get stressed, come and share it with us, we will listen with all of our hearts. You have given so much to us, your family, your community and to your beloved south Louisiana, let us give back to you.
    Im an organization freak with a calmer mind since I dont have that storm breathing down my neck, so can I just jot down a check list?
    Your checkbook/bank records
    A copy of each monthly bill
    titles & insurance for each vehicle/boat, etc
    prescriptions for each med for each person or at least the name and phone# of your pharmacist.
    Name and addy of your Dr.
    your phone book from your home town/ & your personal phone addy book
    birth certificates/liscense/permits/school records/shot records for the kids: place in one sealable packet
    small tool box
    pillows for each member and minimal extra linens.
    family photos.
    photo records of all your valuables…you can group things together, but need a clear shot of each thing and its condition…if you have time..get the serial number..this is something termite can do while you pack..be the photographer…then get a shot of each room of each house, the room, the exterior and the floors. get a shot of each angle of your boats and boat houses.
    take pet food and leashes and feed/water bowls
    your computers/monitors/one of your phones
    a radio, flashlight/latern, first aide kit, utility knife/bar of soap/4/5 towels/toothbrushes/razors,/shampoo/deoderant/
    roll of trash bags/one roll of ppr towels/toilet ppr/can opener
    your camera to keep you busy while you wait out the storm…a pad of paper so you can write down your thoughts and experiences until you can get back to norm. and you will get back to norm.
    Sorry if you already have all this down, Im sure you do, Im just a list maker, and the more stressed I am, the more things I forget or waste time making mutiple trips for simple things.
    Im off today and tomorrow, if you need any help packing..yell and ill be there. I mean it,…I will be there as quick as my jeep can drive.

  3. I fully understand wanting to put your irreplaceable, “sentimentals” in storage.
    While typing this, Big Daddy turned on the weather channel,,,,,,mandatory evacuation in your area starts within the hour. “IF” the b@#^$*%@ Gustav puts y’all on “the bad side” and flooding occurs, how long does it usually take to recede? Y’all take care and update us when you’re able. I know y’all have a destination in mind, but our door will be open if needed.

  4. I’m not evacuating (yet) but I already know I’ll be without electricity for days or weeks. I sure will miss my computer! BW, you be safe.

  5. I cannot imagine living down one of the bayou’s and facing this for every hurricane that comes near. The little I know of you, I feel this is something you can handle even though it is stressful for you. You’ve been through it before and know what to expect. Yea …. I guess that’s what causes part of the stress., too.

    I wish you luck with your home and the cottage. My fingers are crosse and prayers are ascending for you and all of us.

    We are staying. Nearly left last night but the storm lessened some. I can handle a 2 or 3, but the 5 they predicted last night nearly did me in. We’re on Bayou Blue, a natural ridge and have never flooded. But given the condition of the barrier islands and our normally buffering marshlands, well, we just might have a first time. We are as prepared as we can be and hope and pray the storm comes in as only a 2 or 3 as predicted.

    Sorry this is so long. Like you, I feel I’m giving up a lifeline when the power goes out.

  6. Just an update to let all of you who read this know that BW and family made it up to a friend’s home, and remain there for now. She may make it up here in the next day or two, and if so, will definitely give y’all an update.

    We are definitely asking God to downgrade the severity of the storm so that less damage will be done, not only to BW’s homes, but also in New Orleans. And please keep Bayou Fabio in your prayers. He refused to leave as far as we know.

  7. PHASE 3 Sat. afternoon: After doing all we could to flood-proof our home, with vehicles loaded, we drove up to the cypress house to secure things there. At 4:40 p.m. we hopped in our vehicles and headed for the piney hills of central Louisiana, where I am now typing from a remote, dial-up connection. I took photos for you all the way up here, but this old computer cannot upload the photos, so that will have to wait. Thank you LilSis for letting folks know we made it—midnight Sat. night.

    PHASE 4 Sunday: Spent looking for ice up here where there are no corner quick stops. The local church was so nice to let us put all our frozen fish and shrimp we brought from home into their deep freezer. BigSis and all her crew plus my Danno arrived in the afternoon. I fried fish for everyone for supper, trying to keep busy so my mind would not consider the worst. I watched the Weather Channel intermittantly, and finally at 9 p.m. we four girls decided to make a trip to torture mart 30 miles away for air mattresses. That store looked like it had been pillaged before we got there! Back home to monitor storm coverage.

    PHASE 5 Monday: And here I am, having been up all night watching WDSU on Direct TV–they did it as a special service so we could see what was going on. All they talk about is New Orleans, and since I don’t live in New Orleans we switched back to Weather Channel where we got live news from the nearest town. 8:30 a.m. BAYOU FABIO called from his cell phone from his boat saying the wind and rain were blowing sideways. He said the power company turned off the electricity at 5 p.m. Sunday. At 10 a.m. he called again from a land line where he had to take shelter after the door of his boat flew off. The wind then took off half the roof right before he called. While he was relaying this information he said it was all of a sudden calm. You must realize that he does not see the radar images on TV that we see. He is just “in it”, so I told him the eye was passing over and that it was going to get rough again. As far as flooding, amazingly, there is none as of this writing. If he calls me again after the back side of the storm has passed, I will try to log on here and update you. Thank you all for your prayers. If my homes don’t flood, it will be a prayer miracle for sure!!!

  8. Thank you for the update BW…I have been glued to the tube watching for your area and continuing my prayers and heart felt wishes for you all. I wish BAYOU FABIO, Cynthia Daigle & the others would have taken your course and left. It’s so easy for us to sitting so far away to comment, but these storms are never predictable. I will keep on praying for everyone in and from the coastal area. Im so happy that so far so good with your home. Next time you talk to BF, tell him your friends said “grab that stuffed gar, tuck tail and DUCK!”
    Love and Prayers

  9. Looks like NO was spared the worst..I sure hope that means that ya’ll did too. Has BF called back? Did ya’ll get any flooding? Im glad ya’ll are safe and dry, I sure hope the boys are finding adventure in their “vacation”. Tell Termite we want to see some of his photo’s and ask him what the fishing is like up in central La.? Still keeping you all in our prayers until your safely back at home and all is restored.
    Love and Prayers
    btw, I’ve tied down everything down, but so far so good, just some good rain and steady wind gusts…will hope no tornados make it our way, but it looks like its running out of gas….

  10. Hey!

    We’ve been watching the news and Internet reports — and we will blog for updates when you get to it…

    Glad to know your seafood made it with you – nothing says “survive Gustov” like mounds of shrimp and crabs! 🙂

    You are loved!!!!

  11. Remembering the way we
    losing our first homes to Hurricane Juan 1985

    Hurricane Andrew 1992

    Tropical Storm Allison 2000

    Isidore and Hurricane Lily 2002

    Spending 2003 writing letters to President and Congress

    and making friends with Mike Tidwell
    Christopher Hallowell

    John Barry who was at NSU with Rising Tide

    In 2004 we were flooded by near miss of hurricane Ivan, son of ivan one week later caused evacuation of grand isle at 2 a.

    Then October 7, 2004 LUMCON

    state of the coast summitt

    National Geographic Cover Story

    Gone with the Water.

    By October 8th the water was lapping at the doors of Dillards and JC Penny’s

    October 9th and 10th

    Tropical Storm Matthew put Bayou Terrebonne out of its banks all the way to Thibodaux.

    So when Cindi and Dennis came ashore in Lafourche and Terrebonne July 2005, we were expecting three major hurricanes to make landfall west of iavn.

    Katrina-Rita (2005)


    Has anyone noticed that if south Louisana has snow and ice in december (2004 and 2007)

    the next August

    south Louisiana gets
    two hurricanes in less than a month!

    I guess if we are still alive, we should be grateful.

    Now we all need to learn to cook like Bayou Woman!