Report from Louisiana: The Next Big One

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Report from Louisiana: The Next Big One

By: Pat Austin

SHREVE­PORT – I was on the road last week and unable to post; we had a “hur­ri­cane” headed our way at the time, and even though I’m in north­west Louisiana and fairly unaf­fected, they were pre­dict­ing tor­ren­tial rains here, then they quickly backed of to oh, say maybe an inch or two.

The Weather Chan­nel sent their top guys down to New Orleans and you get the feel­ing the media was hop­ing for “the big one,” the next Kat­rina, but lit­tle ‘ol Trop­i­cal Storm Barry just couldn’t deliver. There was much hand-​wringing in the papers and news feeds about the storm surge, the already, his­tor­i­cally swollen Mis­sis­sippi River, and sat­u­rated lev­ees, but in the end noth­ing much came of it all.

The night before the storm was to hit, Bour­bon Street was
filled with rev­el­ers danc­ing in the streets, broad­cast on Face­book Live by the
local papers. Every­one had drinks in hand and were unphased by the com­ing storm,
which seemed to reflect the mood of most Louisiana res­i­dents who have cer­tainly
been through worse.

The best part of Hur­ri­cane Barry (it was an actual hur­ri­cane for a very brief period) would be the memes; only in Louisiana would we crack on a storm for being too weak. And it’s always good to laugh when you’re ner­vous. The poor weather girl who could not pro­nounce “Atchafalaya,” even after mul­ti­ple tries, was hys­ter­i­cal. Bless her heart. Then, of course, the next meme to come across my feed sug­gested we should name the next storm Tchoupi­toulas and see what hap­pens [pro­nounced chop a to las]. Then of course the hur­ri­cane name list was posted and the meme-​makers are in high-​anticipation for the “Karen” storm.

We were in Texas for the storm; the grand­son had a birth­day
and you can’t miss that. I don’t think we ever lost power and nary a limb fell
from the trees.

There was flood­ing down south, don’t get me wrong, and I’m
not mak­ing light of people’s mis­for­tunes. Most of the jok­ing and mirth was at
the expense of national media who seems to think every storm is going to be the
one that cap­sizes New Orleans. Storms do bring back ter­ri­ble mem­o­ries for a lot
of peo­ple here and again, some­times all you can do is laugh. We can’t stop them
and we aren’t leav­ing, so there you have it.

I find myself com­plain­ing less than I used to about where I
live. Even with the heat, the storms, the crooked politi­cians, I love Louisiana
and I love the peo­ple here who are absolutely unlike any­where else. And the
food? Mais oui, cher, ça,
c’st bon!

All kid­ding aside, we got lucky this time and we know it. Mark
Schleif­stein and Jeff Adel­son at NOLA have a
very inter­est­ing arti­cle
about the cur­rent state of the Mis­sis­sippi and
what could go wrong; it’s worth a look. The river has been higher than it’s
ever been for an his­tor­i­cally long period and while nor­mally it has gone down
before hur­ri­cane sea­son, this year it has not.

But for now, we will sit back and count our blessings.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreve­port
and is the author of Cane River Bohemia:
Cam­mie Henry and her Cir­cle at Mel­rose Plan­ta­tion.
Fol­low her on
Insta­gram @patbecker25 and
Twit­ter @paustin110.

By:  Pat Austin 

SHREVEPORT – I was on the road last week and unable to post; we had a “hurricane” headed our way at the time, and even though I’m in northwest Louisiana and fairly unaffected, they were predicting torrential rains here, then they quickly backed of to oh, say maybe an inch or two.

The Weather Channel sent their top guys down to New Orleans and you get the feeling the media was hoping for “the big one,” the next Katrina, but little ‘ol Tropical Storm Barry just couldn’t deliver.  There was much hand-wringing in the papers and news feeds about the storm surge, the already, historically swollen Mississippi River, and saturated levees, but in the end nothing much came of it all.

The night before the storm was to hit, Bourbon Street was filled with revelers dancing in the streets, broadcast on Facebook Live by the local papers. Everyone had drinks in hand and were unphased by the coming storm, which seemed to reflect the mood of most Louisiana residents who have certainly been through worse.

The best part of Hurricane Barry (it was an actual hurricane for a very brief period) would be the memes; only in Louisiana would we crack on a storm for being too weak. And it’s always good to laugh when you’re nervous. The poor weather girl who could not pronounce “Atchafalaya,” even after multiple tries, was hysterical. Bless her heart. Then, of course, the next meme to come across my feed suggested we should name the next storm Tchoupitoulas and see what happens [pronounced chop a to las].  Then of course the hurricane name list was posted and the meme-makers are in high-anticipation for the “Karen” storm.

We were in Texas for the storm; the grandson had a birthday and you can’t miss that. I don’t think we ever lost power and nary a limb fell from the trees.

There was flooding down south, don’t get me wrong, and I’m not making light of people’s misfortunes. Most of the joking and mirth was at the expense of national media who seems to think every storm is going to be the one that capsizes New Orleans. Storms do bring back terrible memories for a lot of people here and again, sometimes all you can do is laugh. We can’t stop them and we aren’t leaving, so there you have it.

I find myself complaining less than I used to about where I live. Even with the heat, the storms, the crooked politicians, I love Louisiana and I love the people here who are absolutely unlike anywhere else. And the food?  Mais oui, cher, ça, c’st bon!

All kidding aside, we got lucky this time and we know it. Mark Schleifstein and Jeff Adelson at NOLA have a very interesting article about the current state of the Mississippi and what could go wrong; it’s worth a look. The river has been higher than it’s ever been for an historically long period and while normally it has gone down before hurricane season, this year it has not.

But for now, we will sit back and count our blessings. 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.