I was out of town last week and monitoring the storm since it was still in Haiti. I came back home Thursday nite to the frenzy created by our Mayors rantings (check Ernie’s site for a good report…I can’t bring myself to to even repeat his ridiculous drivel) . Gayle had flown from ILTA to have a relaxing weekend in the Quarter and instead got her first hurricane experience. We wandered the streets of the Quarter as it became increasingly empty, ate po boys in restarurants as they were boarding up, talked with National Guardsmen arriving in town and ate beignets by the river just before the Cafe Du Monde closed .. a sure sign the city is evacuating…no beignets.
Friday nite in my neighborhood, Bayou St. John near the Fairgrounds, was quiet as many people were leaving. Cansecos Esplanade Market (no web site..go figure!) was full of folks stocking up on necessary supplies: beer and cigarettes were the items in highest demand. Sat at 2AM we got up to call a cab for Gayle to get to the aiport and catch her 7AM flight. Thanks to the great folks at United Cabs for arranging cab pools of people in the same neighborhood …when you’re in NOLA next, ALWAYS use United … and she was at the airport in plenty of time. The atmosphere there was calm and even light hearted thanks to the always outstanding NOPD who were handing out water and MRE’s, telling people to stay calm, everyone was going to get out on time. (Take a clue from your own cops Ray Ray)
Once she was gone I got in a car with Joe Mencigar, a charter member of the Havana Social Club at the Crescent City Cigar Shop ( I swear that’s his real name) and we drove to Pensacola. Travel tip: relying on government instructions and a GPS to evacuate is sure to double your travel time …. go old school with a paper map and use your common sense. We’re at the Pensacola Crowne Plaza with a ton of Looziana folk: staff here are great, peoples mood is good and reports on the ground from Ernie; John Dunn at Road Kill and our friends at Camp Baghdad indicate power is out but no flooding or major damage so far.