September 24, 2007
New Orleans, La.
Dear Family and Friends,
So the storm you almost heard about turned out to be clouds. Guys like me still needed sunblock for the supposed day of wind and rain. Tropical depression "10" had been tracked to hit New Orleans on Saturday morning around 4 a.m. Ten wasn't big enough to pose a threat to foundation-housed-residents, but the 60,000 people living in FEMA trailers in and around New Orleans began throwing out what-ifs and where-to-gos.
No, I didn't add a zero. 60,000.
The City of New Orleans Office of Emergency preparedness announced shelters would be open for FEMA-trailered residents.
Storms and Shelters are two words people in New Orleans don't want to hear. It was the first time since Hurricane Rita that a storm posed danger to the fragile rehabilitation of New Orleans-physical.
New Orleans-mental went into a tail spin--albeit a tiny one. More like a tail-pirouette. But, the City took it seriously. They prepared. They readied shelters with cots and food, volunteers and generators. My buddy Jon and I were ready to work a 1:30-am-10:00 am shift at a high school gymnasium. The Office of Emergency preparedness called and said the storm moved. I text messaged Jon.
"We're off the hook."
"Ten" didn't even come close to New Orleans. It turned out to be a test run for the most vulnerable. What if it had been real, I asked myself. What if people either in FEMA trailer parks or with FEMA trailers in front of their house had their temporary residences blown over by the big bad number "10?"
There is nothing big or bad about a tropical depression in these parts. But to 60,000, even a tropical storm poses major threats. FEMA trailers are to be evacuated in the event of a tropical storm, which begins at 35 mph.
Two-lane street winds.
Thousands of people worry here when the tropical depressions/storms huff and puff their little lungs. Ten was neither big nor bad for anyone in New Orleans. But another of these little storms will pose a problem for those hung up in foundation-less homes.
Bad little wolves.