It took D seven hours to drive from Birmingham, AL to New Orleans, LA. We took I-20W to Mississippi Highway 35 south to Louisiana 21 to the Causeway to the southshore. The beautiful country highways of this nation rock, folks, forget the interstate! And we’re home, we’re home, we’re home, YIPPEE SKIPPEE! In all honesty, though, I’m too worn out from carrying groceries and boxes back into the house to jump up and down. Some young folks across the street are shooting off fireworks. There’s your party right there.
While I’m elated to be back, there are two things that yet worry me. Houma, Baton Rouge and every Louisianan town in the path of Gustav was hammered very hard and, as we go about returning to our regularly scheduled programming, it is important to keep those affected badly in our thoughts and prayers. [Accounts and pictures of damage in Alexandria and Point CoupÃ©e parish.] The Red Cross has set up a Gustav Online Newsroom where you can learn more about relief efforts and donate to the cause. Also, and I know I’m going to sound like a party-pooper of a prude of a grandmaw when I say this, but don’t light your fireworks just yet when one tropical system after another is lining itself up in the Atlantic. The season may give us a break soon, but we’re not to the letter K yet and, as Oyster says, “seems like every time a camel passes gas in W. Africa, another weather disturbance spins off.” Play with this interactive hurricane graphic to see what I’m talking about.
If you’re about to register for the alleged FEMA hotel expense assistance, let me warn you that their phone system is currently overloaded and that the web registration process is, for lack of a better term, wonky. I ate a whole bag of Zapp’s chips (Spicy Cajun Crawtators flavor, if you’re curious) in the time it took the robo-lady to say “If you have a computer and internet access, please visit double-you double-you double-you dot FEMA dot gov. Por favor visite doble-ve doble-ve doble-ve punto FEMA punto gov. If you have access to …” Following that exercise in patience, I was then promptly hung up on after being told that all representatives were busy assisting other customers. The online experience was no better. When I got almost to the end of the registration process, the buttons stopped responding to my clicks, at which time I deleted my registration to try again some other day. FEMA is understandably overwhelmed right now, but the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav is only halfway up the scale of what could have been and I feel really bad for those in the path of destruction who need assistance right now. At least most New Orleanians get to come back home this week to minimal property damage.
Off to eat a canned food product before falling asleep in my bed. Birmingham was nice to us, but it’s nicer to be home. Welcome back, me!