keenchick

Stories and thoughts about family and life

Beating Karen to New Orleans

on October 5, 2013

We left Little Rock Friday morning at 8:30. I had been up since 4 a.m., watching the news with anticipation as every new weather report speculated on the incoming storm.  “it’s going to take the same track as Katrina” was the one which brought me sitting bolt upright in the bed. Tropical storm, at the time, they were expecting it wouldn’t be above a Category 1 when she hits land.  Let’s hope so.

I’ve never been to New Orleans before. My parents and several friends have talked about it so much, plus seeing it in movies, that I’ve always wanted to at least check it out.  

About 80 miles out, we started feeling the wind pick up, and seeing the interstate notification signs for the storm. As we begin to get closer to the lake, swamps are visible on either side, and we gradually find ourselves on longer bridges until its finally just one long bridge.

I really become aware of what it would be like during any hurricane, let alone Katrina, to drive down these highway bridges in the wind and the rain. The latest weather report said the storm would hit after midnight Saturday night or as late as 7 am Sunday. We’ll be leaving Sunday morning. I guess we’ll get to find out.

Approaching the city, it’s hard to get over the fact that there is so much water around. By the time we reach the airport exit, my girlfriend and I both remark that we’re not sure we could live here. Around the next curve, though, we are rewarded with our first real glimpse of the downtown skyline. We drive past one of the large pumping stations and then by the Super Dome.  My mind immediately flashes back to those images on the news–peopled standing obviously on this overpass, trying to escape the water. The Super Dome with holes in the roof. Yet you could guess none of that, with impressive structures and beautiful streets unfolding below us. We carefully wound through the narrow downtown streets, finally arriving at our hotel.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been so grateful for a valet to take over among the honking and pedestrians. At least I was better off than the poor guy driving a stretch limo, and having to back up and adjust to make every corner (yes, the streets really are that narrow).

My girlfriend asked our waiter at dinner about the storm. He told us we shouldn’t worry about anything less than a Category 3.  His description of what would hit here?  “a little wind and some light rain,” he says.  It looks like Karen will keep her promise to hold off, and let us continue exploring.

Now, off to jazz brunch.

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