It looks like this eternal day of watching and waiting might finally be over.
Overall, New Orleans got very lucky in terms of damage. The Industrial Canal in the Ninth Ward was overtopped for quite some time, but there were no breeches. The eyewall of Hurricane Gustav made landfall some 70ish miles to our southwest, devastating Cajun country and towns like Houma and Lafayette along its way. A levee in Plaquemines Parish came very close to failing.
I have to say that local government did a bang-up job in the way of preparation. Bobby Jindal was impressively on the ball. I'm no fan of Republicans, but that man has earned my deepest respect this week. Not only did he appear in constant press conferences all week to keep residents informed of the danger, but he also arranged for the evacuation of a majority of New Orleans citizens who had no means to leave on their own.
I only hope that if another evacuation takes place this year (and my gut says it will), that today's close call does not lead to complacency on the part of residents. Today's anticlimactic conclusion for New Orleans does not mean that every story will have the same ending.
Our mayor, C. Ray (not lately), came home from the Democratic National Convention just in time to get his name in the headlines, but I'm convinced that it was Jindal pulling all the strings. Nagin is simply a puppet who no one really takes seriously anymore.
It was announced before the storm that there would be no shelters of last resort, and that anyone caught outside of their own property after a mandatory evacuation was called would be arrested. Looters would be send right to Angola.
NOLA.com is now reporting that two people were arrested. Ninety to ninety-five percent of coastal Louisiana evacuated, in one of the impressive displays of efficiency that I've ever seen and the largest evacuation in Louisiana's history.
It seems that many lessons were learned and taken to heart three years ago.
Now we're waiting for news on when the city will reopen. It looks like we'll be stuck in Hotel Hell for yet another day, as the city will most likely not be open for residents tomorrow.
I'm pretty sure that the stain on my curtains here at the Dead Roaches on the Floor Motel is blood. I'm pretty sure that the smell in my friend's room is something dead. I suspect that the victim was killed in my room and hidden under the bed in hers (judging by the odor) and was more than likely just removed before we arrived.
We met several people from New Orleans this evening at Jake and Rip's, the barbecue joint across the street. I thought my car was in trouble . . . until I met someone who landed in this town because he lost the tranny on his car. At least mine is still running . . . for now. I'm a lucky girl today.
I'm tired, and I haven't slept well for days. I want to not think about Gustav, or Hanna, or Tropical Storm Ike, who looks to be headed into the Bahamas in about a week, or the new tropical wave emerging off the coast of Africa that looks as though it might also get a name this week.
I want to not think about anything. I want rest and peace and the comforting rumble of the streetcar passing in front of my house. I want my own bed and my own pillow on which I can finally dream my own dreams instead of nightmares of enduring loss. Sometimes even my dreams have bruises, but most of the time they also have a rhythm and a song to lead me home.
I just want to go home.