Mmm, Trop(ical storm Isaac)

Trying to figure out a pun-related title for this blog post was hard.  If you pick up on the terrible 90s pop music reference, congratulations: you’re as ridiculous as I am.

So a few days ago there began to be whisperings of a tropical storm hanging out in the gulf, gulfing it up, doing whatever tropical storms do (killing 10 people in Haiti, evidently).  Being from a country where the most extreme weather we tend to get involves fire and burning, this was a curious concept to me.  In Perth, people panic when the rain is heavy enough to cause your socks to become wet through your shoes.  In New Orleans, we call these sock-wetting occurrences ‘Tuesday morning’ (see: sink hole outside my apartment, needing to be piggy backed over the grass by my guy friend because, in my infinite wisdom, I elected not to wear shoes to the gas station last night).

Reactions to the news reports about the storm have varied widely, in the conversations I have overheard.  Last night in Sake Cafe I heard a woman planning her evacuation with a friend, whispering in hushed tones about filling up the car with enough gas to drive out of the city that night (the storm isn’t due to hit until Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning).  In contrast, one of my facebook friends posted this picture.

I mostly look at the pretty pictures on the TV and think “WOW!  We’re going to get DOUBLE RAINBOWED by this motherfucker!”

Hurricane Isaac: the most sexually diverse storm to hit New Orleans in 100 years.

As anyone who has ever planned a picnic for an allegedly sunny Saturday will know, weather reports tend to fluctuate at the drop of a hat.  On Friday night, Isaac was scheduled to be category 2 hurricane when it hit Louisiana.  On Saturday night, Isaac was supposed to miss us altogether and go fuck with Tampa, Florida.  On Sunday night, the news started reporting that Isaac would hit New Orleans on Tuesday, as a category 2 or possibly 3 hurricane, just a day shy of the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

This morning I woke up and they were saying category 1, but my university has still evacuated the campus and cancelled all classes till Thursday.  Anyone living on campus who doesn’t have ‘an evacuation plan’ is being bussed to Mississippi to sleep on camping beds in a gymnasium.  SOUNDS LIKE FUN!

When Stephanie (my house mate) went to the store yesterday to buy emergency supplies, she found that most stores (besides the Target in Metairie) had been picked clean of bottled water and batteries.  These are the things that you simply don’t think of when you’re not from an area prone to natural disasters.  It hadn’t even occurred to me that if the power went out for a length of time, the water pumps wouldn’t work.  One of my university professors emailed me to ask if I was alright and had a plan.  “Remember to fill up your bath tub with water so you can flush the toilet!” she advised.

Were this happening in Perth, people would be losing their minds and attempting to dig up disused bomb shelters.  Here in New Orleans, people are mostly planning on drinking heavily.

For my part, I’m finding it a bit too surreal to know how to take it, particularly as we’re dealing with a storm named after a Hanson brother.  I know how pissed off I get when I lose power for 3 hours back home, and we’re being told to prepare to be without power possibly for a few days.  Fortunately my friend’s parents have a place in the Garden District with a generator and they’ve been kind enough to say that my housemate and I can stay for the duration of the storm, so that’s an option.

Naturally, a few days before the news started going storm crazy, I began to call around about renter’s insurance for my possessions (something I hadn’t gotten around to previously due to things like my laptop catching fire, getting stupidly sick and having to fight for a refund on my shitty car).  Whilst I don’t have a lot of valuable crap, my mattress did cost $2000 and I’d be a little bit pissed if I lost the $250 worth of textbooks I just purchased.

Imagine my surprise (yes, I genuinely was surprised) when not one single insurance company would agree to cover me.  Why?  Because it’s hurricane season and there’s a goddamn storm in the gulf.  This makes sense from a business perspective, I suppose.  Who wants to sign me up, have me pay $20, and then potentially pay me out $10,000 when my house floods?  But still.  As if the insurance companies aren’t laughing all the way to the bank as it is.  INSURE ME, YOU JACKHOLES.  I NEED TO KNOW THAT IN THE EVENT OF A NATURAL DISASTER I CAN REPLACE MY JEFFREY CAMPBELLS.

Not much else to say about Isaac as yet.  When I woke up this morning and opened the front door, I was greeted by a clear sky and sunshine.  Right now, it’s clouded over but there’s no rain or thunder yet.  We shall see.  I’m mostly concerned about the neighborhood cats and am strongly fighting the urge to patrol the neighborhood with treats and entice them inside where it’s safe and warm.

More on the storm later, I’m sure.  Let me show you how to do it right, Perth.

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