Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best.

And I have been hoping for the best and not preparing at all. The latest email hurricane alert I received today places the storm at a direct hit for where I live. No kidding. I just read that email, and my head is spinning.

My heart is skipping beats. My breath is coming in irregular spurts. My eyes are twitching. My stomach is twisting up. Sounds like a good case of panic.

And I was the one who has been avoiding panic. I hate panic.

My husband is out on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t know if they will let him off in time to come help me secure things. How much can you secure for a direct hit?

Readers, the only time I wish I had a safehouse somewhere else is when a hurricane gets into the Gulf of Mexico and they say it’s headed for Louisiana.

We live about 70 miles southwest of New Orleans, where they are already in a panic due to fresh memories of Katrina. Many of them still have not recovered. It’s too early to panic. I don’t want to panic.

I look around my Rita-damaged home at the few things still here that hold sentimental value. Should I take photos of them and let it all go easily? What do things matter if we have our lives?

Mandatory evacuation is the norm here. Whenever a hurricane of any size threatens us within 150 miles, we have to lock up our homes and leave. If the storm makes landfall close to our coastal zone, we worry about what we will come home to–depending on whether we are on the high wind side or the high water side determines the damage we might suffer.

We were on the high wind side for Katrina, suffering minor roof damage.

We were on the high water side for Rita, and suffered flooding in our home, which is four feet off the ground; and our home was looted. We had no idea that a Category 3 hurricane that made landfall 180 west of our home would shove that much water up into our houses. We only evacuated to a town about 30 miles north of here, taking only necessities, never thinking I needed to take my old jewelry box–thinking we’d be home the next day.

That was not the case. We weren’t allowed to come back for three days, and then the water was still so high only those with trucks or SUV’s with large tires could make it down. That is a story for another time. I only relate this little bit here so you can understand the uncertainties that “mandatory evacuation” brings.

Once we leave, we have no idea what we will be coming home to. Hurricanes can stall out, they can slow down, or they can gain strength and speed, and change direction.

My heart goes out to the brave people who have gone back to the New Orleans area to repair and rebuild. My heart also goes out to the people all along the Mississippi Gulf coast who lost everything and went back. My heart goes out to the bayou people, my neighbors, who are so tenacious they always come back in their boots with their mops and buckets of bleach, not waiting on any help from the government.

Yes, we choose to come back and live here, but you must realize something: we have not always been so vulnerable to storm surge. The coastline that has protected us for years has now eroded so terribly, that there is no healthy marsh between us and the now non-existent barrier islands that used to protect us.

Again, America, I ask you. What will it take before lawmakers across the nation take notice of all that coastal Louisiana has sacrificed to help fuel this nation and offer compensation in the form of every dollar needed and every law altered in order to repair this broken coast?

Friends, I pray no one must suffer from this hurricane.


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  1. Looks like a gawl dwang parade coming across the Atlantic. I promise to think happy thoughts and rally any support I can get up here.

    Thanks, Steve. I know you will. I started packing personal/financial stuff tonight and will secure boats tomorrow.

  2. My prayers are with you and all who are facing this storm.

    Thanks. It just seems way too soon for Louisiana to take another severe direct hit since so man people (including my home) still have not fully recovered.

  3. Take all the pictures you can! You’ll have them for insurance purposes if needed. I sincerely hope y’all won’t have to use your insurance. You don’t wish a hurricane on anyone, but I’d love to see it continue on a westerly course. Flooding doesn’t pose a problem for us, but it sure is a pain having to pick up or secure everything. Take care.

    Well, I guess I can just take a bunch of digitals of both houses and have them just in case I need them, right? Photos of each room? Is that enough?

  4. BW, take photos and your most precious items. I always plan to take my computer cpu, my family photo albums and the few heirlooms I have. I would take my pets. The rest is all stuff.

    When I was a little girl in 1957, Hurricane Audrey, a category 4 hurricane, blasted ashore at Sabine Lake. In the middle of the night, Mama woke me up by putting a little girl into bed with me. A family of people from Jeanerette, who had once rented a cottage from Mama, had fled north to Alexandria and had nowhere to go except to Mama’s house. Mama, of course, welcomed them and made up places for them to sleep. The next day was frightening, but by the time the storm reached Alexandria it was downgraded to a tropical storm. I remember sitting in Mama’s lap as she rocked in her chair. Everyone was gathered in one room — my family, the family from Jeanerette and Mama’s tenants who rented cottages from her. The experience taught me a healthy respect for such storms and the damage they can do. Nothing is more important than your family. So get out in time if it becomes necessary, but I pray everything will be okay.

    I fully expect the storm to hit Lake Charles since we are just now finishing up repairs to our house there that was damaged by Hurricane Rita. Finished up just in time for another hit. Arrgh!

  5. We have a trailer and could load your stuff up, drive it out of danger!!! I wish we lived closer so that you could come stay with us! You can come stay with us anyway, but it will take you a bit longer!! LOL We are praying for you and I will put you on our prayer chain at church also!!!!

  6. Thanks loads everyone. Came here to be lifted up and you certainly did that. In the midst of evacuation procedures and need to stop now and turn brain off and calm body down. Preparing two houses for possibly flooding is nerve rattling, so please send me some strength. I want to be able to handle whatever comes my way, and your prayers will make the difference. From the bottom of my bayou heart, merci beaucoup!

  7. Your, your family and neighbors are in our hearts and prayers. All of your friends here are wrapping our arms around your family, keeping you safe and together. When you feel stressed, and you may frequently, close your eyes, take a slow deep breath, and feel all of our loving arms wrapped around you, holding you tight, keeping you safe. Breath in our faith, our strength, and our loving peace. Take all the time you need, we will hold on to each of you for as long as you need. Bayou Woman and her family has touched us in so many ways through your insite, your images and all the wonderful things you share through your blog, let us give back to you with our power to pray, by sending you possitive uplifting support and all the love and understanding you can stand!
    Peace and calmness be with you and yours
    Debbi in Texas and all of your other readers and friends

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