TABLE D'HOTE: Hurricane hate

Wade McIntyre

“Hurricanes are God’s way of saying, ‘Get off my property!’”  - Bill Maher

It’s official on my hurricane scorecard.

In the past three years, virtually every swatch of south Louisiana has been socked and soiled by monstrous damn storms.

Katrina to the east, Rita to the west, Gustav down the middle. What are the odds such a thing could happen in such a short period of time?

Forget the odds, the storms came and have blown us away.

Not literally. People around here don’t let storms keep them down for long. But, we have taken the hits and the blows hurt. Like a ravaged boxer, we have suffered the equivalent of a fist to the head, a kick in the gut, and a cheap shot below the belt.

Hurricanes don’t fight fair anymore. In this age of global warming they knock you down, stomp on you, then hit where it really hurts.

We are well versed in the hurricane cleanup and rebuilding drills. Generators and chain saws roaring louder than the storm. Electricity parceled out as the feeder stations come back. Cleanup, cleanup, cleanup. Rebuild with more smarts.

Recovery is like walking around in muck all the time. Everything takes more time, more effort. Brushing teeth in low light is a chore. Driving is a pain. I woke up Saturday morning with two flats on my car thanks to nails on the roads from someone’s blown roof. This is not a complaint, recovery beats a dead-end any day of the week.

Katrina continues to be the benchmark for hurricane suffering.  We can put a Band-Aid on the damage suffered from Gustav in this area and get going soon enough. New Orleans has yet to heal from a storm three years ago. Here, we benefited from the Katrina learning curve, and the leadership of elected officials, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, who saw and learned from what happened in New Orleans and the lower parishes.

In Ascension Parish local businesses were the first to bounce back after Gustav and serve the people who needed their products. Local officials, from the parish president, to the sheriff, to the director of the OEP, have managed the storm’s approach and aftermath admirably and with dedication to their offices. Local people have looked after their own in the way that makes this parish so strong.

But Ascension is no island. We learned at this paper that outside help can save the day. The regional publisher of The Weekly Citizen and a publisher from Kansas came down after the storm in trucks with generators and gasoline and food that enabled the paper’s staff to publish its first post-storm edition last Friday.

With another blowhard hurricane named Ike storming down the track, maybe headed this way, everyone knows the drill: Take care of business, see who you can help. This is storm country and fighting storms is a way of life.