Baton Rouge . . . disaster area

I spoke to my mom for a little while this evening and got an update on where things stand in Baton Rouge or at least in her corner of it.  A summery for those of you interested in Baton Rouge:

  • The news keeps talking about how mild things were in New Orleans, but the only time you hear about Baton Rouge is in passing.  For example, I’ve heard at least two NO evacuees mention that things are better in NO than in the shelters in BR.  That is, in part, what’s driving the exodus back south.
  • While the winds weren’t as bad in BR as they were in NO, they were (near) record winds for the city.  BR has more trees and they haven’t experienced winds like this, so there were a lot of trees that fell down.
  • The local power company is estimating six to eight weeks before they get power to everywhere in the city.  There are major grids in the city that don’t have power and then once those major sections are restored, they will still have to restore to the local homes/offices.
  • My parents did find a plumber to get the water line fixed.  They are on the waiting list for a tree guy that can cut up a tree trunk as large as the one that fell in their yard (3′?) – it’s not really a do it yourself job.
  • Almost every yard in my parents’ neighbourhood has a tree down.
  • Most of the houses have experienced some damage.
  • Probably 20% of the houses have trees through the roofs.
  • There are a large number of cars that were struck by falling trees.
  • Many of the power poles on the main road outside of the neighbourhood are down.  In the neighbourhood, there are few intact sections of power line more than 3 to 4 houses long.  Entergy will probably have to replace many poles and string a lot of new line.
  • There is a curfew in effect.  The National Guard did fire shots (in the air?) when some people tried to break into a FEMA trailer full of tarps.
  • Good news: there is fuel in many gas stations.  Bad news: there’s no power to pump it with.  Stations with fuel and power have long lines, in some cases backing up down the road.
  • My parents underestimated the amount of gasoline their generator requires (about 5 gallons a day) and are trying to find more 5 gallon cans.
  • It’s still raining and there’s little power, so some underpasses are flooding.
  • The humidity is very high.  To the point where my parents’ wood floors are damp and are occasionally collecting puddles.  Oh, and the mosquitoes are breeding, so the health authorities are warning people about West Nile.
  • There aren’t too many stores open, those that are open can’t accept credit cards (no phone lines) and so are requiring cash.

Taken as a whole, it reminds you of a post-apocalyptic distopian movie with people stocking up on water, fuel, food, guns, cash and gold.  Maybe Mad Max, The Stand or The Postman.  I suppose a comparison to Water World would be in poor taste…

1 Comment

  1. etselec said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 10:34 pm

    Wow, that sounds really awful. 🙁 6-8 weeks for power restoration is a lot worse than the outages we had here in Durham during the ice storm of 2002, and I remember how awful it was to deal without power for even 5 days. My thoughts are with your family.

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